The world is polished and refined, for we only see the end products of everything. The books have been rewritten, edited, and rewritten again. The websites have undergone constant change before being seen by the public. The food given at restaurants has been thoroughly cooked and delicately prepared. Unfortunately, the mythic mirages of social media creates an illusive world. Alain De Botton On Authenticity provides us with the wisdom on knowing our worth.
Furthermore, we, in private locked away from the world, only see ourselves in the natural rawness that is our humanity. Authenticity allows us to experience our current selves. To occupy the body that continuously battling the colonizing eyes of an imagined audience. We have a tendency to close our true selves behind the selves we believe our lovers want to see. However, love and authenticity is the slow unraveling of ourselves in communion with another person. In On Love, by Alain De Botton, our main character battles between revealing his true self and the man he believes his lover wants him to be saying:
I had to find out more about Chloe, for how could I abandon my true self unless I knew what false self to adopt? But the patience and intelligence required to fathom someone else went far beyond the capacities of my anxious, infatuated mind. I behaved like a reductive social psychologist, eager to press my companion into simple categories, unwilling to apply the care of a novelist to capturing the subtleties of human nature. Over the first course, I blundered with heavy-handed, interview-like questions: What do you like to read?(‘Joyce, Henry James, Cosmo if there’s time’), Do you like your job?
Living simply makes loving simple. To love well is the task in all meaningful relationships, not just romantic bonds. Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving.” If the criteria for love involves a deeper becoming of the self then we should reach for the heart of another person, and Alain De Botton points out how people will love you for being completely yourself saying:
We charm by coincidence rather than design. What had Chloe done to make me fall in love with her? My feelings had as much to do with the adorable way she had asked the waiter for extra butter as they had to do with her views on politics or the dress she had carefully chosen.
Some people have the power to liven our sacral chakra, and encourage a level of authenticity only matched by lovers of 66 years; others spark a desire to create a imagined self–a self manipulated to gain the desire of the lover. Love comes under the philosophical microscope. Another chapter mulls over the question of how and when to say ‘I love you’. There’s an essay on how uncomfortable it can be to disagree with a lover’s taste in shoes and a lengthy discussion about the role of guilt in love. Continue reading Alain De Botton On the Importance of Relationships.