- Alain de Botton Essays...

I. Essays In Love

by Alain de Botton

February, 2020

It's amazing how this, at that time, 21-year-old young (boy) could write with such an insight and clarity on love. But, as he somewhere says by himself, his former girlfriend often accused him on the dangers of thinking too much. Perhaps this give a kind of explanation of the explosive flow on the detailed observations and episodic reflections of the relationship between both individual needs and the more philosophical abstractions in those essays which parallel is very concrete and personal.

As he writes in Chapter 24 "Love Lessons": »We must assume that there are certain lessons to be drawn from love, or else we remain happy to repeat our errors indefinitely.« This is not an understatement. Later, Botton has written several nonfictions about how impulsive people can be in terms of both intimate relationships and our professional work and employments, and how disappointed we often are when it didn't worked out as we, in our romantic view, thought it would. We couldn't inhibit our primitive impulses, and often we haven't learned a crap.

Chapter 6. Marxism
§1. »We fall in love because we long to escape from ourselves with someone as ideal as we are corrupt. But what if such a being were one day to turn around and love us back? We can only be shocked. How could they be divine as we had hope when they have the bad taste to approve of someone like us? If in order to love, we must believe that the beloved surpasses us in some way, does not a cruel paradox emerge when we witness this live returned? ‘If s/he really is so wonderful, how could s/he could love someone like me?’« [paraphrased Groucho Marx]