Monday, August 18, 2008

The Consolations of Philosophy - post III

The great thing about this book is the sympathetic way it is written. Clearly de Botton knows his stuff but wears his learning lightly and takes you into some pretty complex areas without making it seem as if you are sitting through a philosophy lecture.

At the end of the book you are left with not just a clearer understanding of what some of the great names stood for, particularly Nietzsche, but also how great minds have grappled with problems in the past. There are some lessons to be learnt but the main take-away seems to be around the idea that when you look up at the stars and wonder what it is all about you are far from alone in doing so.

From Schopenhauer you learn that love is an odd process that when successful ties together opposites that will create balanced off-spring. For the parents their happiness after that act is not expected or likely.

“The coming generation is provided for at the expense of the present.”

From Nietzsche you learn never to give up and to exploit suffering to reap the rewards further down the line. He criticises anything that encourages you to accept the status quo and give up.

“The emotions of hatred, envy, covetousness and lust for domination [are] life-conditioning emotions…which must fundamentally and essentially be present in the total economy of life.”

A review will follow soon…

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