Alain de Botton 5

Katie Price is no exception. She, too, is – in a distinctive way – a philosopher. Partially, Katie Price’s philosophy is one of extraordinary confidence. She is remarkable not for her looks or antics but because of her tremendous self-assurance and her unwillingness to be intimidated by criticism or failure.
Alain de Botton

At ‘The School of Life’, we take seriously anything that has to do with human fulfilment – and take note wherever insight on this subject can be found.
Alain de Botton

The modern world thinks of art as very important: something close to the meaning of life.
Alain de Botton

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the public’s relationship to art has been weakened by a profound institutional reluctance to address the question of what art is for. This is a question that has, quite unfairly, come to feel impatient, illegitimate, and a little impudent.
Alain de Botton

I believe that art is a tool and that, like all tools, it has functions. I also think it is important to know what the tool is for so that we can better know how and when to use it.
Alain de Botton

In ‘Art as Therapy’, we argue that art is a tool that can variously help to inspire, console, redeem, guide, comfort, expand and reawaken us.
Alain de Botton

The idea that one might use art for ‘instrumental’ reasons tends to set off alarm bells at the heart of the cultural elite, who contend that it’s not a pill, that it shouldn’t be asked to perform some specific function, especially something as egocentric as to ‘cheer you up’ or to ‘make you a more empathetic person.’
Alain de Botton

If buying art is to matter to us deeply, then it has to engage with our emotions and bring something to what one might as well, and with no supernatural associations whatsoever, call our souls.
Alain de Botton

Artworks are especially good at helping our psyches in a variety of ways: they rebalance our moods, lend us hope, usher in calm, stretch our sympathies, reignite our senses, and reawaken appreciation.
Alain de Botton

Religions have always been clearly on to this psycho-therapeutic score. For hundreds of years in the West, Christian art had a very clear function: it was meant to direct us towards the good and wean us off vice.
Alain de Botton

Secular thinkers have a separation between thinking and doing. They don’t have a grasp of the balance sheet. The doers are selling us potted plants and pizzas while the thinkers are a little bit unworldly. Religions both think and do.
Alain de Botton

My dad was a slightly stricter version of Richard Dawkins. The worldview was that there are idiots out there who believe in Santa Claus and fairies and magic and elves, and we’re not joining that nonsense.
Alain de Botton

I’m fascinated by Comte’s clear-eyed analysis of what was wrong with modern society, which is that you’ve got industrial capitalism on one side and romantic love on the other. Those, along with non-instrumental art, are supposed to get you through the day?
Alain de Botton

Politicians want people to be nice neighbours, but the tools at their disposal are just the tools of modern liberal society, which are nothing.
Alain de Botton

Where is instruction in relationships, in the management of career, in the raising of children, in the pursuit of friendship, in the wise approach to anxiety and death? All this sort of stuff I craved to learn about when I was a student and down to this day.
Alain de Botton

The essential argument in the book, ‘Art as Therapy,’ is that art enjoys such financial and cultural prestige that it’s easy to forget the confusion that persists about what it’s really for.
Alain de Botton

We have to put aside the customary historical reading of works of art in order to invite art to respond to certain quite specific pains and dilemmas of our psyches.
Alain de Botton

Many people in the intellectual elite are very scared of shouting. They insist on very quiet murmurs.
Alain de Botton

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