British Philosopher Alain de Botton Talks about Love
British philosopher and writer Alain de Botton received a lot of attention for his New York Times piece called, “Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person,” in which he discussed the reality that no relationship is ever perfect. Surprisingly, Botton’s piece was the most shared of the year – more than any other news item. Krista Tippett invited him onto her podcast, On Being, to discuss love and relationships.
In the interview, Botton makes several assertions about love. One, he believes that most romance stories give us the false illusion that romance is all about the bulid-up to a long-term commitment, such as marriage. According to Botton, the real love story happens after the commitment has been made, and two people must weather life’s ups and downs together.
Botton also points out that there are many different types of love. Just because a person is “single” does not mean they don’t have plenty of love in their life.
A third point made by Botton is that each individual in a relationship brings past baggage which may make it difficult for them to communicate effectively. Botton advocates an attitude of generosity and kindness towards our partner’s faults, keeping in mind that we have many faults ourselves.
Basically, for a relationship to work out long-term, Botton believes both people must be willing to accept that they, their partner’s, and the relationship will never be perfect, and to continue to work to understand and love each other anyway.
You can listen to the show, or read the transcript, here.
You might also want to check out other On Being episodes, which feature interviews with inspirational figures like Ta Nehisi-Coates, Elizabeth Gilbert and many others.