“Work finally begins when the fear of doing nothing exceeds the fear of doing it badly.”Alain de Botton
On the latest On Being podcast with Krista Tippett, philosopher and best-selling author Alain de Botton talks about his new book Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion.
Alain de Botton is an atheist, but his perspective on religion is far more complicated.
Instead of debunking religion in thinking that all pious people are idiots — as some atheists may presume — he shines a light on some of the things where religion excels: in values, wisdom, communions, and “the wonders of religious architecture.” As he says nearly eight minutes in:
“These religions at their highest points, at their most complex and subtle moments, are far too interesting to be abandoned merely to those who believe in them.”Alain de Botton
His book is therefore not for atheists alone, but for the believers who may find Botton’s perspective reconfirming. Above all, Botton proposes toleration, not necessarily that we agree with each other but we “make space for the stranger” who holds different views and accepts them as is. ‘Developing emotion intelligence’ is at the heart of Botton’s own academy, The School of Life.
Writing a book is like telling a joke and having to wait two years to know whether or not it was funny.Alain de Botton
True, books can’t be instantly graded like a Tweet. But giving a book at least two years of work enables the author to go deeper and explore the magic wand of editing. As Seth Godin reminds us, “The less reassurance we can give you the more important the work is.”
Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies has been helping people defeat their creative block since the mid-1970s.
But Alain de Botton’s The School of Life is taking the concept a bit further and applying the deadlock to other life’s philosophies such as a career crisis, kindness, self-knowledge, calm and confidence.
The only people we can think of as normal are those we don’t yet know very well.
“…a decision to avoid people shouldn’t imply that one has no desire whatever for company. It may simply reflect a dissatisfaction with what is available. Cynics are only idealists with awkwardly high standards. In Chamfort’s words: ‘It is sometimes said of a man who lives alone that he does not like society. This is like saying of a man that he does not like going for walks because he is not fond of walking at night in the forét de Bondy.’
— Alain de Botton, [easyazon_link identifier=”0375725350″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Status Anxiety[/easyazon_link]