Thursday, February 25, 2010

Alain de Botton

I like this particular Brit. His books are interesting, his tweets lightly thought-provoking (as tweets should be), his Monocle contributions worthwhile. Who is Alain de Botton? I'm still finding out. He's somewhere in between a scholar, psychologist, and a regular guy, something of a well-read self-help sage. Someone who is endlessly curious about the world and how to live, and who presents information in a neat and easily digested form. I enjoyed his book The Art of Travel, if only to be comforted by the fact that I am not the only one who painfully longs to be in a vague, unfamiliar, mysterious place other than where I always am. With titles like The Architecture of Happiness and The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, how could you resist? This article reports on his response towards a disapproving reviewer of his latest book- he sounds so darn eloquent when "losing his temper"! He had a hand in starting The School of Life, a non-traditional institution offering humanities classes on how to live life better. Here's their blog. As someone who struggles with alienation, I appreciated this lite post about feeling down. Their teachings are attractive to someone like me: thinking about things occasionally, but not terribly deeply, and not interested in delving into scientific and theoretical minutae behind ideas. People with active minds who need a soft kick in the pants to help them contemplate matters of weightier importance. Recent tweets:

"If we let the true impact of events resonate, we'd need hours to process minutes." This truth has always terrified my perfectionist self. It is impossible for us to ever fully experience everything that comes our way, and I feel very bad about that. About missing out on gaining new depths and learning new lessons. The problem with that is that it gets in the way of trying and actually doing.

"Even if we learn from our mistakes, life is continually too new and uncharted for us (me) to avoid outright idiocy on a regular basis." I love this tweet. I live in a constant fear that I am far too behind on maturity and wisdom, and that other (maybe older) people have their shit together. It helps to have a reminder that we're all pretty much bumbling through life, sans rehearsal, and that it's crucial to have a humorous attitude about it all.

From Erin's Etsy:

For more of this set, check out Flickr.

"Acts of Man" - Midlake


Sarah Hazel said...

Long story short -- old computer died and consequently "lost" e-mail addresses or I would have sent you an e-mail.
I LOVE your new profile pic. It would make for an interesting painting, esp if there was no purse and subject was looking down at feet. Do you have something similar and could I use it?

Fern said...

Thanks! Yes. I sent it to your email address, but let me know if it doesn't arrive.

erin said...

i live for making mistakes. life is too boring otherwise. ok, maybe i don't LIVE for mistakes but i'm suspicious of anyone that says they have their shit together on a regular basis.

thanks for posting my illustration by the way!

Fern said...

Agreed. No prob!