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Essays In Love

Essays In Love

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All writing about love is, to a certain extent, subjective, but in this case I find it hard to relate to De Botton's thoughts, feelings and reactions because they are so different from my own experience, which is not of relationships where there are major rows and patchings up, but of a greater degree of tolerance and compromise leading to a smoother ride, even through break up (although the pain of break up is not to be underestimated! I wonder whether De Botton would have written a very different book today, at the age of 40, than when this was written in his early 20's? Francine Prose, New Republic 'Witty, funny, sophisticated, neatly tied up, and full of wise and illuminating insights. Forgetting, however calming, was also a reminder of infidelity to what I had at one time held so dear. For my part, I know I’d probably succumb to a stereotype threat and if for some bizarre reason all the people I have known in my life were in a room together, I would probably beg the ground to swallow me whole because I would be switching from mask to mask in a matter of microseconds.

Essentially, if self-love wins, then both partners understand their love is reciprocated not because their partners are idiots but because they themselves are truly lovable.It is incredible deep and insightful, and impossible not to see some of yourself and your relationships in their story. I know I keep saying this but de Botton articulated a lot of things I’ve been thinking about regarding romance, especially the end of a relationship. 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 who can understand what we are saying in essence, we are not wholly alive until we are loved. Nevertheless I enjoyed the book, I think the fruit of it's use will become more apparent when I next have a relationship, it's certainly a book that stays with you. There is usually a Marxist moment in every relationship, the moment when it becomes clear that love is reciprocated.

Each stage of the relationship is illuminated with startling clarity, as de Botton explores emotions often felt but rarely understood.

Is there not in every coup de foudre a certain willful exaggeration of the qualities of the beloved, an exaggeration which distracts us from our habitual pessimism and focuses our energies on someone in whom we can believe in a way we have never believed in ourselves?

I am more than aware of the numerous red flags that stick out of my back and I’m certain there are more that I’m not even conscious of. I love you for who you are deep in your soul, not for the colour of your eyes or the length of your legs or the size of your chequebook. Perhaps it was not love we wanted after all, perhaps it was simply someone in whom to believe, but how can we continue to believe the the beloved now that they believe in us? Our selves could be compared to an amoeba, whose outer walls are elastic, and therefore adapt to the environment.

And there’s also something kind of sobering about how a person you cared SO deeply about no longer will have that big an impact on you because it’s the case vice versa too, you no longer have that deep impact on them. Familiarity creates a new language, an in-house language of intimacy that carries reference to the story the two lovers are weaving together and that cannot be readily understood by others. The feeling is more along the lines of, “I wish I could be attracted to this person because I know I could probably make them like me if I tried hard enough. But if self-love gains the upper hand, both partners may accept that seeing their love reciprocated is not proof of how low the beloved is, but of how lovable they have themselves turned out to be.

This is the first of Alain de Botton's writing that I've read and it has made me interested in readinf more. The book charts the progress of a love affair from the first kiss to argument and reconciliation, from intimacy and tenderness to the onset of anxiety and heartbreak. Alain de Botton has this uncanny ability to spit out everything that my brain is thinking in beautiful and candid writing minus any fluff.Alain de Botton is the author of a number of books that try to throw light on the big challenges of our lives. I just wanted something a bit happier, this is maybe a more truthful look at love, more realistic, less romantic. And I’m pretty damn certain that all of us could do with hearing how much we are loved simply for being ourselves. I mean, prior to this book, I thought indulging in such thoughts was a surefire way of diagnosing an unhappy relationship. It may be a sign that two people have stopped loving one another (or at least stopped wishing to make the effort that constitutes ninety per cent of love) when they are no longer able to spin differences into jokes.



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