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It is precisely when we hear little from our partner which frightens, shocks, or sickens us that we should begin to be concerned, for this may be the surest sign that we are being gently lied to or shielded from the other’s imagination, whether out of kindness or from a touching fear of losing our love. It may mean that we have, despite ourselves, shut our ears to information that fails to conform to our hopes — hopes which will thereby be endangered all the more. My view of human nature is that all of us are just holding it together in various ways — and that’s okay, and we just need to go easy with one another, knowing that we’re all these incredibly fragile beings.


Alain de Botton

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In the past, Flaubert implied, idiots had had no clue as to what the carbon structure of diamonds wa...
ALAIN DE BOTTON
We would like to go and see the field that Millet…shows us in his Springtime, we would like Claude...
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Our feelings of anxiety are genuine but confused signals that something is amiss, and so need to be ...
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To a shameful extent, the charm of marriage boils down to how unpleasant it is to be alone. This isn...
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One of the best protections against disappointment is to have a lot going on.
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There's a whole category of people who miss out by not allowing themselves to be weird enough.
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...if the beginnings of love and amorous politics are equally rosy, then the ends may be equally blo...
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At the top of the slope on the perimeter of the site, overlooking six lanes of motorway, is a diner ...
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I am not a foodie, thank goodness. I will eat pretty much anything. A lot of my friends are getting ...
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The thing is that love gives us a ringside seat on somebody else's flaws, so of course you'r...
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Laughter is an important part of a good relationship. It's an immense achievement when you can m...
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Cynics are - beneath it all - only idealists with awkwardly high standards.
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We tend to think of philosophies as produced by professional philosophers. Traditionally, this has m...
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Not being understood may be taken as a sign that there is much in one to understand.
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A world where a majority had imbibed the lessons implicit within tragic art would be one in which th...
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Everyone's more vulnerable than they seem, and I think men are more vulnerable. Once you get clo...
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We have to put aside the customary historical reading of works of art in order to invite art to resp...
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Parents become very good at not hearing the explicit words and listening instead to what the child m...
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For thousands of years, it had been nature--and its supposed creator--that had had a monopoly on awe...
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I am in general a very pessimistic person with an optimistic, day-to-day take on things. The bare fa...
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Sweetness is the opposite of machismo, which is everywhere - and I really don't get on with mach...
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We owe it to the fields that our houses will not be the inferiors of the virgin land they have repla...
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Philosophy, art, politics, religion and bohemia have never sought to do away entirely with the statu...
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Bitterness: anger that forgot where it came from.
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Don't despair: despair suggests you are in total control and know what is coming. You don't - surren...
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Therapy and counseling can do wonderful things for people. But they have emerged so far as what are ...
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A city like London is sociable in a sense that there are people gathering in bars and restaurants, c...
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The Arab-Israeli conflict is also in many ways a conflict about status: it's a war between two p...
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The idea of a book that can make a change to your life, that can affect your perspective, is a beaut...
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There's a constant tension between the excitement of new people and security with one person. If...
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Most of what makes a book 'good' is that we are reading it at the right moment for us.
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There are few more effective ways to promote tolerance between suspicious neighbours than to force t...
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I'm fascinated by Comte's clear-eyed analysis of what was wrong with modern society, which i...
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It is not only the hostility of others that may prevent us from questioning the status quo. Our will...
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The most courageous act in politics is to try to understand your opponent.
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He was marked out by his relentless ability to find fault with others' mediocrity--suggesting that a...
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To look at the paper is to raise a seashell to one's ear and to be overwhelmed by the roar of humani...
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Learning to give up on perfection may be just about the most romantic move any of us could make.
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We used to build temples, and museums are about as close as secular society dares to go in facing up...
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A storyteller who provided us with such a profusion of details would rapidly grow maddening. Unfortu...
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We need a home in the psychological sense as much as we need one in the physical: to compensate for ...
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You normally have to be bashed about a bit by life to see the point of daffodils, sunsets and uneven...
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But we would do well to meditate daily, rather as the religious do on their God, on the 9.5 trillion...
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A clean conscience is the preserve of those without sufficient imagination.
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It was no longer her absence that wounded me, but my growing indifference to it. Forgetting, however...
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I passionately believe that's it's not just what you say that counts, it's also how you say it - tha...
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Booksellers are the most valuable destination for the lonely, given the numbers of books that were w...
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We may seek a fortune for no greater reason than to secure the respect and attention of people who w...
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It's clear to me that there is no good reason for many philosophy books to sound as complicated as t...
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I am in general a very pessimistic person with an optimistic, day-to-day take on things. The bare fa...
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I find a welcome interest in the problems of everyday life. I find a humanity and a devotion to usin...
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Snobbery exists in all areas of life, not least literary criticism. By snobbery I mean, any method o...
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