!!> Read ➹ Status Anxiety ➼ Author Alain de Botton – Moi-sosedi.info

Status Anxiety THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLERFrom One Of Our Greatest Voices In Modern Philosophy, Author Of The Course Of Love, The Consolations Of Philosophy, Religion For Atheists AndThe School Of Life Alain De Botton Sets Out To Understand Our Universal Fear Of Failure And How We Might Change It De Botton S Gift Is To Prompt Us To Think About How We Live And How We Might Change Things The Times We All Worry About What Others Think Of Us We All Long To Succeed And Fear Failure We All Suffer To A Greater Or Lesser Degree, Usually Privately And With Embarrassment From Status AnxietyAlain De Botton Gives A Name To This Universal Condition And Sets Out To Investigate Both Its Origins And Possible Solutions He Looks At History, Philosophy, Economics, Art And Politics And Reveals The Many Ingenious Ways That Great Minds Have Overcome Their Worries The Result Is A Book That Is Not Only Entertaining And Thought Provoking But Genuinely Wise And Helpful As Well He Analyses Modern Society With Great Charm, Learning And Humour His Remedies Come As A Welcome Relief When Most Books Offering Solutions To The Stresses Of Life Recommend The Lotus Position Daily Mail Thehumiliating, shallow, debased or ugly we take ordinariness to be, the stronger will be our desire to set ourselves apart Thecorrupt the community, the stronger the lure of individual achievementAlain de Botton, Status Anxiety This is my second of Botton s books I enjoyed a lot not just because I love gay French writers who adore their mothers his book How Proust Can Change Your Life It isn t a huge, transformative book, but one of those nonfiction for amateur books thatThehumiliating, shallow, debased or ugly we take ordinariness to be, the stronger will be our desire to set ourselves apart Thecorrupt the community, the stronger the lure of individual achievementAlain de Botton, Status Anxiety This is my second of Botton s books I enjoyed a lot not just because I love gay French writers who adore their mothers his book How Proust Can Change Your Life It isn t a huge, transformative book, but one of those nonfiction for amateur books that distill other s works into a product fit for mass consumption a bit like Gladwell, etc.The book is divided into a section on Causes 1 Lovelessness2 Expectation3 Meritocracy4 Snobbery5 DependenceAnd a section on Solutions 1 Philosophy2 Art3 Politics4 Religion5 BohemiaIt is amazing to think this book was published the same year as Facebook was founded 2004 but before Twitter 2006 and Instagram 2010 I kept on thinking about how FB all my vacation flexing and my need for likes , Instagram selfies and filters , and Twitter when will I ever get to 1M followers or verified seem to validate almost all of Botton s points about the anxiety caused by status Hell, status anxiety may also partially explains Trump, immigration fears, and the alteration of American Christianity the last 50 years, and even the college admissions scandal Part of the fun of reading this book perhaps FUN isn t the right word is all the ways this book makes you view one s own relationship with status, money, and others It is also interesting to see how Botton s thesis has found fertile ground on the left and the right as we try to explain the stupid shit others do Anyway, it wasn t a perfect book and, at times, seemed almost too tucked in Botton isn t saying anything super novel here either, but his writing is always enjoyable and his points add a fold or two to my brain, and at the end of the day isn t that enough Finally, if you think I m brilliant, or think I have value as a person, please like this post Otherwise, I m not sure if life will be worth living without my GR friend s approval Also, you are ALL invited to my future funeral Obviously, those of you who are REALLY my friends will show up The rest of you, to quote Holden Caufield, are all Phonies There is much I don t agree with this linked article So, be warned My linking doesn t my agreeing with the author s point this book claims to be absent any original ideas It cites long and I mean long standing philosophical precepts, draws on well worn wisdom and largely repeats what has already been said.what s remarkable then is that it does so in such a clear and erudite manner that nearly every part of it and it follows the whole would makes sense fundamentally.it offers no cure for status anxiety as there isn t one but it does give great insight into its roots, and some of the ways people have managed this book claims to be absent any original ideas It cites long and I mean long standing philosophical precepts, draws on well worn wisdom and largely repeats what has already been said.what s remarkable then is that it does so in such a clear and erudite manner that nearly every part of it and it follows the whole would makes sense fundamentally.it offers no cure for status anxiety as there isn t one but it does give great insight into its roots, and some of the ways people have managed it over time.a very good read I loved this book However, if you re going to read it, be ready to analyze your life, question your ambition and search for ways in which you can better treat your fellow humans.I love comparitive philosophy I especially love it when it s well researched and well written Alain s style is conversational and informative but he doesn t come of sounding academic and esoteric You learn from his research that our modern day obsession with stuff isn t a modern convention I loved this book and re I loved this book However, if you re going to read it, be ready to analyze your life, question your ambition and search for ways in which you can better treat your fellow humans.I love comparitive philosophy I especially love it when it s well researched and well written Alain s style is conversational and informative but he doesn t come of sounding academic and esoteric You learn from his research that our modern day obsession with stuff isn t a modern convention I loved this book and recommend it to anyone who questions our post modern world Don t read it though if you re going through a major life shiftit will just add to the confusion and make you think that the throwing it life all away to join the peace corp is a viable option Underwhelmed Botton is erudite, eloquent, wide ranging, interested and interesting He claims that we are consumed by status, and status anxiety, because we lack somethingprofound than the material satisfactions can hope to be Veritas He offers quite a few alternatives to the snobbery and mendacity which is obvious to many, if not most, in conspicuous consumption But that s sort of the problem it s all possibility, perspective Botton diagnoses the problem, surely, and has a lot of le Underwhelmed Botton is erudite, eloquent, wide ranging, interested and interesting He claims that we are consumed by status, and status anxiety, because we lack somethingprofound than the material satisfactions can hope to be Veritas He offers quite a few alternatives to the snobbery and mendacity which is obvious to many, if not most, in conspicuous consumption But that s sort of the problem it s all possibility, perspective Botton diagnoses the problem, surely, and has a lot of learned, detailed, lucid and rather lyrical things to say about the possible alternatives But he doesn t really make a stand He presents some of the most innovative, incisive voices in all of history as examples of the variety of thought in history Good for him But he doesn t really get enough out of them We are given the openings of doors, hints at other rooms, and then we re on to the next thing I read this book because I like and respect the writer but also because I think this is a topic which is really world historically important I didn t get muchthan some of the further details of the literature and history which Botton cites, which were already familiar This is always a good thing, and I m glad to have him around Where the book falters, however, is in suggestion and not conclusion Evidence is part of the problem, arugment and analysis evenso, but I m starting to think that conclusions are reallyof the essence on issues like this For that matter, none of his possible alternatives to the wealth status consumption esteem circuit really seemed to challenge the reader much We aren t asked to fundamentally re examine our lives or the way we think, but instead are given a dusting of what the best that has been thought and said has to offer This is fine if it s just to get a general survey of intellectual history, but when the issue is something muchmechanistically real, complex, and perilous real social tinderboxes I think what s necessary is a littlechallenge and a little less dim sum Botton doesn t grab the reader by the lapels, which is nobody s fault, instead he takes you by the arm and leads you around the topic appropriate warehouse of the school of the ages All to the good But I think a triflegusto might be called for when you re talking about the underlying ideological assumptions of the social register Botton the most hugable philosopher aroundBotton might be excused for beingof a popularizer than a strategic philosopher, in which case great It s just that I started to lose interest when it seemed like it was finger food on the menu, in sumptuous variety, when what I really wanted, andimportantly, what the subject demanded, was a banquet When I drop my daughter off to her Early Learning Centre in the mornings, I sometimes hop out of the car and away from it with her as quickly as I can Anxiety about my old Toyota Corolla with the salt affected roof, and the missing wing mirror actually produces changes in my behaviour which have been frustrating, annoying me These parents at my daughter s ELC have Mercs, Cayennes At the very least large, clean, new cars It was with this particular instance in mind that I approached Status A When I drop my daughter off to her Early Learning Centre in the mornings, I sometimes hop out of the car and away from it with her as quickly as I can Anxiety about my old Toyota Corolla with the salt affected roof, and the missing wing mirror actually produces changes in my behaviour which have been frustrating, annoying me These parents at my daughter s ELC have Mercs, Cayennes At the very least large, clean, new cars It was with this particular instance in mind that I approached Status Anxiety We would all like to be doing better in our lives, that is almost a given we are time poor, we wear our busyness like a proud badge, it enables us to feel important, to pick and choose which engagements we attend, and it probably forces our mood towards sociability while forcing us to hold back resentments Holidays are the temporal holy grail, and when we return to the rigorous rhythms weoften than not get sick Status Anxiety examines why we might feel trapped in living up to societal standards, and how this has become so universally accepted Why is it that the poet or the essayist is not afforded the same status as a pharmacist or lawyer Can we broaden our definition of success, can we stop automatically labeling people as failure or loser just because they don t fit some sort of economic model of conformity De Botton has actually started up a project to try to provide to people what he feels should be a traditional role of University or school to equip people with knowledge not just for its own sake, but to imbue wisdom and direction from the teachings of culture The School of Life is now in two cities London and also Melbourne , so Australia holds an opportunity to engage at the formative time for this You might wonder why a book like this hasn t really taken off until now, but de Botton has so clearly and sympathetically looked at this subject from a variety of angles so that it s possible to understand how it comes about An example is the last couple of centuries proclivity for the public being swayed so much by what is in the press Despite what can often be pandering to the moneyed or regal classes, who are less than newsworthy, despite looking ravishing at so and so s debutante ball This is still a problem, with Australia s public being swayed by Murdoch farthan that man deserves.A generous amount of photos and cartoons from recent history and media are scattered through the book, providing pause for thought and backing up nicely the examples and propositions being gently made The author makes important points about the meritocracies throughout recorded time, showing that different attributes have been prized at different times, be they physical strength, or empathy, or money When able to see the long game, perhaps not having a million dollars still makes us a good person, as we may have had high status in any other era due to our artistic interest, for example Art, said Matthew Arnold and quoted by de Botton, is the criticism of life Even newspaper comics can pointedly make important statements about delicate issues of the day Latter sections of the book, investigating Christianity and Bohemia respectively, shed light on other worldviews with wonderful points to make about inclusion, integrity and communality While we may not be able to ignore status anxiety and it may actually fulfil a purpose such as not pushing us to willfully and idealistically ignore useful and practical directives of interaction with economics An example of a vegan commune is cited, somewhat embarrassingly unable to self sustain and sponging funds from others Bohemia in particular is the sort of state of mind which needles the majority bourgeoisie with creative art, functioning as a sanity check The Chaser and Stelarc, Lydia Lunch, Johnny Rotten and Sam Simmons, you may not have had the material success of high court judges, but you need not feel any lesser In fact, there s great arguments in this book for people without the credibility of even the Chaser to feel comfortable with their position in life in the 21st century If you look at the cover of this book, and empathise with the modern working person trying to keep their lawn green, wearing inappropriate shoes because there is just not enough time to keep life going, this book might give you welcome pause for thought I highly recommend it I ve read other books by de Botton and unlike some readers enjoyed his chatty style and self deprecating anecdotes This book is less personal and hasof an essay feel, but the modus operandi is still graceful, readable synthesis and organisation of material from various philosophers He aims to explain and offer relief for status anxiety in a culture, the West , where status is conferred by wealth I found this book helpful, as I quickly realised that I can explain my attitude to Wes I ve read other books by de Botton and unlike some readers enjoyed his chatty style and self deprecating anecdotes This book is less personal and hasof an essay feel, but the modus operandi is still graceful, readable synthesis and organisation of material from various philosophers He aims to explain and offer relief for status anxiety in a culture, the West , where status is conferred by wealth I found this book helpful, as I quickly realised that I can explain my attitude to Western values easily by saying I think it s senseless and destructive to measure status by wealth.This is one of those books that unintentionally makes me go ridiculously rosy spectacled over feudalism Although de Botton is at pains to point out that being a medieval peasant was no fun at all, and I have no doubt that it was indeed miserable, I can t help imagining a life of pottering about in the fields, chatting to my friends while shelling cobnuts, dancing around may poles and eating bread and cheese and apples with my back against a cherry tree, rather than the absence of heating, healthcare, education, books, transport, LGBTQ recognition etc Where was I Oh yes So the serf benefitted from some handy ideas The poor are not reponsible for their poverty god did it and are the most useful members of society, while the rich are sinful and corrupt and owe their wealth to the robbery of the poor Capitalism is founded on the idea of equality and meritocracy the rule of the Best and leads to the idea that the profligacy of the rich is useful greed is good , because many people are employed in supplying luxuries , and that the poor must be poor due to stupidity or laziness, because society provides equal opportunities In other words, if your status is low, JUST TRY HARDER.The insight that the idea of meritocracy causes status anxiety in capitalist societies is helpful, and I would have liked to see this further interrogated since power structures are maintained by the illusion of meritocracy in those societies It is the myth of meritocracy a form of just world fallacy that enables governments and corporate interests to keep minoritised communities oppressed classes disempowered and divided using the contagious strategy of VICTIM BLAMING De Botton also points out that status anxiety depends on our peers we envy our friends and old classmates, rather than the folks on the hill This helps explain why the myth of meritocracy in capitalism is an atomising principle working against community.I like the bit of the book about how art works against unjust stratification Austen s Mansfield Park is one of many classic novels that turns a hierarchical system on its head, assigning high moral status to characters who rank low on the social ladder Subverting the prevailing status myth, fostering empathy for the downtrodden literature and appreciation for the uncelebrated painting is what great art is good for De Botton also points out that tragedy, Greek or Shakesperian allows us to experience a degree of concern for others failure so much greater than that we ordinarily feel it is this tragic degree of sympathy that we all surely deserve De Botton points out that financial success is only one of many ways that status has been mediated in Western culture In my favourite section, on Politics , he offers a neat summary The charge made against the modern high status ideal is that it is guilty of a gigantic distortion of priorities, of elevating to the highest level of achievement a process of material accumulation which should be only one of the many things determining the direction of our lives under atruthful,broadly defined conception of ourselvesHe points out the refusal to be victim blamed in Virginia Woolf s essay A Room of One s Own Instead of asking what s wrong with me that I am not allowed as an unaccompanied woman into the library , she asks what is wrong with these people that they won t let me in This turning of the tables, the spark of all resistance and social justice movements, is what de Botton calls a political manouvre Political thinking means understanding ideology and denaturalising it In discussing the possibility of political change de Botton comes closest to actually decrying our concept of status If the whole thing lacks bite for me, I suppose it s because I m already very political I wish these ideas were pushed further, but perhaps it s best that de Botton leaves it to others to show, for example, how the metric of material accumulation has become entrenched and self perpetuating in vast institutions and structures like the stock market, and practices like measuring prosperity with GDP, which assigns value to the building of bombs, ignores the raising of children, and marks care of the elderly and unwell as burdensome costs For some reason, I haven t been able to get my hands on a Kindle editiondoesn t seem to have it , so I finally bought the physical book since a friend of mine has been raving about it for years This book is an extremely sensible historical exploration into the question How did we become so tied up in status Why do we make decisions that undermine our long term happiness to elevate our status Happiness is something like success pretentions, so either, you try to succeed , or yo For some reason, I haven t been able to get my hands on a Kindle editiondoesn t seem to have it , so I finally bought the physical book since a friend of mine has been raving about it for years This book is an extremely sensible historical exploration into the question How did we become so tied up in status Why do we make decisions that undermine our long term happiness to elevate our status Happiness is something like success pretentions, so either, you try to succeed , or you fight against your community and values to lower your pretentions This book isabout how society has increased the number of pretentions it s not necessarily practical guidance on how to reduce them yourself, but to raise your awareness as to how they have elevated themselves to this point It reminds me of this Emerson quote It is easy in the world to live after the world s opinion it is easy in solitude to live after our own, but the great man is he who amid the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude I find it difficult to summarize, either because I didn t absorb the book well enough, or because the answer is so complicated that there is no simple answer If this is a question that interests you, you should pick it up I ll most likely re read this soon in an attempt to absorb it better Intentional Intellectual BlindnessAlain de Botton should be deeply ashamed of this book If he isn t, it can only be due to his continued ignorance of the most important research ever conducted about his chosen subject The French philosopher and literary critic, Rene Girard spent most of his professional career analysing and theorising about the problem de Botton addresses envy, its sources and its consequences In 2005, the year after the publication of de Botton s book, Girard, author of mor Intentional Intellectual BlindnessAlain de Botton should be deeply ashamed of this book If he isn t, it can only be due to his continued ignorance of the most important research ever conducted about his chosen subject The French philosopher and literary critic, Rene Girard spent most of his professional career analysing and theorising about the problem de Botton addresses envy, its sources and its consequences In 2005, the year after the publication of de Botton s book, Girard, author ofthan 30 books on the subject, was named as one of the 40Les immortalsmembers of the Academie fran aise Yet Girard doesn t even rate a footnote in Status Anxiety It is inconceivable that anyone as widely read in European culture as de Botton had never encountered Girard s work De Botton s meandering discourse touches every even tangentially relevant subject, from literature, philosophy, and history to religion politics and advertising from Jesus to Adam Smith, from Plato to Freud The exclusion of Girard cannot be accidental, or incidental It is clearly meant as a slight and becomes an insult when de Botton does not even implicitly address his differences with Girard s thought This is shocking The consequence is that de Botton s thesis is thin, unsubstantial, and not very interesting.According to de Botton, envy is at root a sort of love, not between two people but between a person and what de Botton callsthe worldHe redefines loveas a kind of respect, a sensitivity on the part of one person to another s existenceHe then claims thatwe are afflicted by a congenital uncertainty as to our own value,a psychological condition which prompts us to seek confirmation of self worth in others As he puts it rather regretfully,We seem beholden to the affections of others to endure ourselvesAt best, therefore, this is a desire for love but it is certainly not love, nor even respect And it has much less to do with the world in general than with those closest to us.The problem with de Botton s subsequent discourse it can hardly be called an argument is that it does nothing to support his theory After its assertion, the theory is dropped and replaced with extended analyses of historical attitudes toward wealth and poverty, not about the psychological sources of love, respect, or, most importantly, envy He attributes our current purported condition to egalitarian democracy, other worldly Christianity, and paradoxically a general improvement in living standards All very ad hoc, only vaguely plausible, and entirely fragmentary The book reads like notes for an unfocused doctoral dissertation which itself is causing a bit of anxiety for its author At several points de Botton does stray into Girardian territory, for example when he says,Our sense of identity is held captive by the judgements of those we live amongAnd again when he recognises thatWe envy only those whom we feel ourselves to be like we envy only members of our reference groupBut these are trivial observations, never developed, which themselves need theoretical explanations These he does not provide Nor does he have any substantive suggestions of how to deal with the issue, either personally or socially.Girard s theory of envy on the other hand doesn t grasp for every questionable straw of cultural evidence It starts with a not so evident hypothesis of what he calls mimetic desire In brief, this hypothesis proposes that we want things mainly because other people want them We are able to learn to do this because we are social animals We are taught to do this by our parents, our friends, and Madison Avenue But ancient myths and history show that the processes involved in mimetic desire are neither new nor the consequence of modern industrial or post industrial society De Botton can only be fatalistic because he has no real explanationThe price we have paid for expecting to be so muchthan our ancestors is a perpetual anxiety that we are far from being all we might beThis is not just hollow, it is also silly Why write the book at all if this is its conclusion It says nothing an intellectual dead end Girard, on the other hand, provokes any number of possible directions for fruitful thought See here for several So if you find envy an important topic, you know where to go and not for some stimulating ideas.Postscript 7Oct19 The situation is actuallysinister than I suspected Wholesale appropriation seems to be involved I thought it was good but not amazing when I read it, but now that a few months have passed I think of it fairly often I ended up quoting it in my book and it turned me on to a handful of other writers I now like and Gustave Dore s awesome drawings of future cities in ruins from the 1800s The book can be a bit dense at times and I think that is why I had trouble with it at first, but it is full of important digressions and memorable lessons For instance, the purpose of tragedy in Greek soci I thought it was good but not amazing when I read it, but now that a few months have passed I think of it fairly often I ended up quoting it in my book and it turned me on to a handful of other writers I now like and Gustave Dore s awesome drawings of future cities in ruins from the 1800s The book can be a bit dense at times and I think that is why I had trouble with it at first, but it is full of important digressions and memorable lessons For instance, the purpose of tragedy in Greek society was to teach by example The audience empathizes with the hero and sees how easily they themselves could have been wrecked if they fell into the same situation But, de Botton asks, what of today s media with its lexicon of perverts, weirdos, failures and losers What can we learn from them What is the purpose of watching that charade Ostensibly Status Anxiety is about, well, status anxiety In practice, it is a collection of interesting and helpful observations It may one day be a classic


About the Author: Alain de Botton

Alain de Botton is a writer and television producer who lives in London and aims to make philosophy relevant to everyday life He can be contacted by email directly via www.alaindebotton.com He is a writer of essayistic books, which refer both to his own experiences and ideas and those of artists, philosophers and thinkers It s a style of writing that has been termed a philosophy of everyday life His first book, Essays in Love titled On Love in the US , minutely analysed the process of falling in and out of love The style of the book was unusual, because it mixed elements of a novel together with reflections and analyses normally found in a piece of non fiction It s a book of which many readers are still fondest.Bibliography Essays In Love 1993 The Romantic Movement 1994 Kiss and Tell 1995 How Proust Can Change Your Life 1997 The Consolations of Philosophy 2000 The Art of Travel 2002 Status Anxiety 2004 The Architecture of Happiness 2006 The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work 2009


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