Alain de Botton: Atheism 2.0 (what we can learn from religions) and A kinder, gentler philosophy of success
The universe is large and we are tiny, without the need for further religious superstructure. One can have so-called spiritual moments without belief in the spirit.” ~ Alain de Botton
What aspects of religion should atheists (respectfully) adopt? Alain de Botton suggests a “religion for atheists” — call it Atheism 2.0 — that incorporates religious forms and traditions to satisfy our human need for connection, ritual and transcendence.
Through his witty and literate books — and his new School of Life — Alain de Botton helps others find fulfillment in the everyday. Full bio »
“Let’s say you went to Harvard or Oxford or Cambridge, and you said, ‘I’ve come here because I’m in search of morality, guidance and consolation; I want to know how to live,’ — they would show you the way to the insane asylum.” ~ Alain de Botton
Alain de Botton examines our ideas of success and failure — and questions the assumptions underlying these two judgments. Is success always earned? Is failure? He makes an eloquent, witty case to move beyond snobbery to find true pleasure in our work.
“When you look at the Moon, you think, ‘I’m really small. What are my problems?’ It sets things into perspective. We should all look at the Moon a bit more often.”
Why you should listen to him:
It started in 1997, when Alain de Botton turned away from writing novels and instead wrote a touching extended essay titled How Proust Can Change Your Life, which became an unlikely blockbuster in the “self-help”category. His subsequent books take on some of the fundamental worries of modern life (am I happy? where exactly do I stand?), informed by his deep reading in philosophy and by a novelist’s eye for small, perfect moments. His newest book is The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work.
In 2008, de Botton helped start the School of Life in London, a social enterprise determined to make learning and therapy relevant in today’s uptight culture. His goal is (through any of his mediums) to help clients learn “how to live wisely and well.”