The Consolations of Philosophy: Popular Penguins Paperback – 1 September 2008
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- Paperback : 276 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0141038373
- Dimensions : 11.1 x 2.3 x 17.9 cm
- ISBN-13 : 978-0141038377
- Publisher : Penguin (General UK); 1st edition (1 September 2008)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: 1,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the Author
Alain de Botton was born in Zurich, Switzerland in 1969 and now lives in London. He is a writer of essayistic books that have been described as a 'philosophy of everyday life.' He's written on love, travel, architecture and literature. His books have been bestsellers in 30 countries.
Alain also started and helps to run a school in London called The School of Life, dedicated to a new vision of education.
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How Socrates face his death so calmly and his legacy reigns in millennia, how Seneca rose above every sorrow in his life to lay fundamental understandings of all kind of sufferings life has upon human being, and that death after all in deed a blessings. The flow of ideas came into me just like a little stream with water so fresh that you will keep looking down on which reflects your very face: how my life looks like for a young man living in poverty with the sexual desire to be tamed, intellectual inadequacies to be improved, sad memories to be soothed and wisdom to be gained.
This makes me now interested in Kand, Plato, and Arthur Schopenhauer....
Thank you Botton. Philosophy made easy and so beautiful in this book.
Top reviews from other countries
"Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius, commonly called Boethius, was a Roman senator, consul, magister officiorum, and philosopher of the early 6th century. He wrote The Consolation of Philosophy in AD 523 during a one-year imprisonment he served while awaiting trial – and eventual execution – for the alleged crime of treason under the OstrogothicKing Theodoric the Great. Boethius was at the very heights of power in Rome and was brought down by treachery. This experience inspired the book which reflects on how evil can exist in a world governed by God, and how happiness is still attainable amidst fickle fortune, while also considering the nature of happiness and God. It has been described as "by far the most interesting example of prison literature the world has ever seen."
De Botton’s book is organised into 6 sections as shown below, each with a "guiding philosopher" and their views quoted extensively in terms of advice in overcoming the specific demise or problem.
Not having enough money (Epicurus)
A broken heart (Schopenhauer)
The section I enjoyed most was "frustration" with Seneca as my guide to overcome my own personal frustrations. Of course Seneca hadn’t anticipated the problems of an ordinary bloke utterly frustrated with all things concerning Brexit, but despite what 48% of the British population would say, I DO have enough intelligence to apply Seneca’s logic to the current situation!
Let’s start with Seneca’s definition of frustration:
"Though the terrain of frustration may be vast –from a stubbed toe to an untimely death ......... –at the heart of every frustration lies a basic structure: the collision of a wish with an unyielding reality."
Seneca’s collisions are frustrations arising from Anger, Shock, Injustice, Anxiety and Mockery, quite a list that seems spot-on regarding modern day politics. I don’t want
to give too much away about overcoming said frustrations, but this is an excellent
book to understand a range of philosophers interpreting a range of human problems in an ancient and modern setting. But to round off with Seneca:
"We may be powerless to alter certain events, but we remain free to choose our
attitude towards them, and it is in our spontaneous acceptance of necessity that we
find our distinctive freedom." It seems to me however that the words "free" and "freedom" and their practical meaning are being rapidly eroded across the western world and that will surely lead to an extreme version of frustration.
Plus, references to Philosophy are amazing.. I'm a Philosophy student who studies the theories of philosophers but this brings you into their weird lives and personal characters, into their weird failures and misfortunes, into their thoughts and their little revolutions.
It also made me realize that Schopenhauer, the founder of pessimist philosophy, is literally me... made me seriously consider whether I am a reincarnation of him. xD
It has a diverse plethora or useful and mentally satisfying ideas, and is a fantastic introduction to these philosophers.
My reading list has quadrupled as I've been inspired to read some of the original philosopher's works, Montaigne's Complete Essays n particular.