But for anyone beset by such problems as
lack of money, anxiety, the pain of unrequited love, feelings of inadequacy or a sense of failure, this book introduces us to what the forementioned chaps had to say on those issues, as well as giving us the benifit of quite a few others.
And yet de botton is not just quoting from long dead masters, he tries to construct a narritaive showing how each of these addressed a particular problem and presents a synthesis, where one philosopher raises a question that another answers fully or partially.
he aslo plays devils advocate sometimes and presents his own solutions where he feels appropriate.
Typical of the work as a whole is his own reasonings on wealth and education. Many among the greeks and romans averred that it was impossible to be happy and yet poor. Yet De Botton disagrees.
and what is it to be educated? Bottontells us that it means not so much as knowing how to translate Latin and greek, but to be able to function usefully and be happy in ones own setting.
hence a train driver who cannot speal Latin or Greek, but can enjoy his work is better educated that a struggling and miserable poet by this yardstick. I really like this guy!
Botton also talks about love and what makes a person , and even a couple happy. He lays out Schopenhauer's theory that there is an impulse called the ' will to life' - an unconcious urge , not just to reproduce children, but to have children that will be better than ourselves. he argues that we select a mate on the basis of choosing someone who will balance out our own deficiencies - hence we tend to fall in love with whome we ourselves are unsuitable , but because the child that is born will bring our most positive traits together in one person , we fall in love with someone totally unsuitable, then hate them when that child is born.
I don't see this working out in real life to be honest, but there we are.
I thought that there may be some mileage on this in the main antifem community, but then decided not to post - I don't need 300 eejits jamming my inbox with spam, and the real intellectuals over there hang out here anyway. So, what do you guys make of De Botton?