Review: The Consolations of Philosophy

The Consolations of Philosophy
The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“What need is there to weep over parts of life?
The whole of it calls for tears.”

In The Consolations of Philosophy, Alain de Botton simplified philosophy and explained that power of philosophical insight has a practical effect on our lives.

Alain de Botton examines how a select few philosophers like Socrates, Epicurus, Seneca, Montaigne, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche might address a few key personal problems like unpopularity, lack of money, inadequacy, lovelessness, and timidity.

“What we encounter in works of art and philosophy are objective versions of our own pains and struggles, evoked and defined in sound, language or image. Artists and philosophers not only show us what we have felt, they present our experiences more poignantly and intelligently than we have been able; they give shape to aspects of our lives that we recognize as our own, yet could never have understood so clearly on our own. They explain our condition to us, and thereby help us to be less lonely with, and confused by it. We may be obliged to continue burrowing underground, but through creative works, we can at least acquire moments of insight into our woes, which spare us feelings of alarm and isolation (even persecution) at being afflicted by them. In their different ways, art and philosophy help us, in Schopenhauer’s words, to turn pain into knowledge.”

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