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Alain De Botton on Meaning

The world must be built anew from the actions of every man. We must gather those that are willing to commit to righteousness. For the majority would rather sleep in their collective delusion. The reconstruction of everyday life can only be healed with the willingness to love. Only those that choose to stake their lives on the potential of love can release their prejudices. Learning to see their neighbor as a brother on a pale blue dot. Alain De Botton on Meaning guides us towards this evolution of consciousness.

There is nowhere our delusions run more rampant than in the love of another person. We find security in the hope that once day we will embrace the soul of someone outside ourselves. Nowhere we desire more meaning, purpose, and protection than in the arms of a lover. We often become weary when lovers do not offer the Edenic paradise of eternal equanimity.

Love requires us to learn the various mix of ingredients. Care, affection, recognition, respect, commitment, and trust, as well as honest and open communication. These are required to truly love. These ingredients require practice long before a partner stumbles into our loves. However one can spontaneously meet a love so random it seems destined by the stars. Unfortunately, we never know when a lover will come and help us become ourselves. There is nothing worse than not knowing how to love.

Alain De Botton on Meaning
Alain De Botton on Meaning

We find meaning in love. Placing divine expectations on the chance encounter of finding love in a stranger. For how many strangers have we passed by that didn’t capture our hearts. One can not help but think of divinity when a stranger happens to do so. Alain De Botton understood our desire to find someone that makes us believe in love saying:

The longing for a destiny is nowhere stronger than in our romantic life. All too often, forced to share a bed with those who cannot fathom our soul. Can we not be excused for believing that we are fated one day to run into the person of our dreams? Though our prayers may never be answered. Though there may be no end to relationships marked by mutual incomprehension. If the heavens take pity on us, then can we really expect our encounter to a mere coincidence? Or can we not for once escape logic and read it as nothing other than a sign of romantic destiny?

Alain De Botton on Meaning
Alain De Botton on Meaning

It is rare to find someone and declare them as the love of our lives; while people may fill their loneliness with the body of another person, there is always a feeling of discontent. “Till Death Do Us Apart” is a phrase at the core of our civilization, for we desire someone that will only leave us through death. We watch Alain De Botton’s main character declare Chloe as the love of his short life. Only after a few moments of speaking this decision burst from his heart, and he says:

Until one is close to death, it must be difficult to declare anyone as the love of one’s life. But only shortly after meeting her, it seemed in no way out of place to think of Chloe in such terms. On our return to London, Chloe and I spent the afternoon together. Then, a week before Christmas, we had dinner in a west London restaurant and, as though it was both the strangest and most natural thing to do, ended the evening in bed.

She spent Christmas with her family, I went to Scotland with friends, but we found ourselves calling one another every day – sometimes as many as five times a day- not to say anything in particular, simply because both of us felt we had never spoken like this to anyone before, that all the rest had been compromise and self-deception, that only now were we finally able to understand and make ourselves understood–that the waiting [messianic in nature] was truly over.

Alain De Botton on Meaning
Alain De Botton on Meaning

Christians search for love through Christ; Muslims through Mohammed, and spiritualists walk head bowed before shamans, shoulder to shoulder, asking for guidance in their love. As the shaman’s eyes peer into divinity reaching for crystals that assist in the communication with the divine young lovers wait, hoping, for a sign of a fortunate love. The shaman soon returns to the temporal realm revealing the karmic connection between the lovers, and my peers sit beneath this wisdom in hopes that this love would be different than all the others. We find our protagonist searching for divinity in his love saying:

It was perhaps because we came to feel we were so right for one another [she did not just finish my sentences, she completed my life] that I was unable to contemplate the idea that meeting Chloe had been simply a coincidence. I lost the ability to consider the question of predestination with the ruthless skepticism some would say it demanded.

We learnt that both of us had been born around midnight [she at 11.45 p.m., I at 1.15 a.m.] in the same month of an even-numbered year. Both of us had played clarinet and had had parts in school productions of _A Midsummer Night’s Dream_[she had played Helena, I had played an attendant to Theseus]. We had two large freckles on the toe of the left foot, and a cavity in the same rear molar. Both of us had a habit of sneezing in bright sunlight and of drawing ketchup out of its bottle with a knife. We even had the same copy of Anna Karenina on our shelves (the old Oxford edition)small details, perhaps, but were these not grounds enough on which believers could found a new religion?

Alain De Botton on Meaning
Alain De Botton on Meaning

I know as little about love as I do about life. Love, I believe, however, is inevitable, but who we love might be a matter of chance. In a beautiful way On Love by Alain De Botton does a wonderful, and almost uncomfortable, job of revealing us to ourselves. From our great Modern Philosopher Alain De Botton describes On Love as:

Love under the philosophical microscope. 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 Tenzin Rinpoche On Zhine.

On Love By Alain De Botton

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