From what I have read and seen of Alain de Botton, he is a very cool dude. I like the way he reasons around life, love, work and religion. The fact that he was only 23 years old when he wrote and published Essays in Love kind of makes me think of him as outstanding, truth be told.
The book is an easy and funny read, yet there is enough depth to make me think Alain is one of the chosen ones. He has the answers. Especially now that he has doubled in age. By now he must have oh so many answers. He could be the new Messiah. But from what I understand he is an atheist, so I guess that’s not very likely. Though much like me, he believes in holding on to spirituality and rituals. That we need faith in our lives, but we do not necessarily need to attach that practice with a particular god, goddess or other higher beings. Sometimes it’s just good to have a community or a sense of hope that we are all in it together.
“Do we not fall in love partly out of a momentarily will to suspend seeing through people, even at the cost of blinding ourselves a little in the process? If cynicism and love lie at opposite ends of a spectrum, do we not sometimes fall in love in order to escape the debilitating cynicism to which we are prone?”
Alain has also started The School of Life – devoted to develop emotional intelligence. It’s very easily available, just follow in your preferred digital channel to reach new heights in life. Or buy one of their games, or take a course.*
Well, back to the book. Essays in Love takes you on a journey of a relationship. Chloe and the “I” sit next to each other on a plane, start talking, and that’s how it all begins. It becomes a crush that develops into something more and the reader gets to tag along for the roller coaster ride that is love. From romantic fatalism to psycho-fatalism, the subtext of seduction to love or liberalism, speaking love, romantic terrorism, and the fear of happiness.
“Perhaps it is true that we do not really exist until there is someone there to see us existing, we cannot properly speak until there is someone there who can understand what we are saying, in essence, we are not wholly alive until we are loved.”
This is a book with plenty of “yeah, I know that one” moments. And best of all, it is one of those books that makes you stop pause and think every now and then. Because you want to figure out what that scenario or concept means to you. The story brings out more than just some chill moments of reading-pleasure. It makes you think about love, and how you experience it. How absolutely magically wonderful it can be, just as well as dreadfully painful. It definitely made me reflect upon how I deal with the sweet transcendence that is love.
*I am not sponsored by Alain or the School of Life. I take no responsibility whatsoever for your emotional development.