Essays in Love: Alain de Botton

“Love is never a given, it is constructed and defined by different societies”

This book opened by a story of a man who bumped into a woman (who soon he believes as his love) at the plane. Botton called it “romantic fatalism” which explain the opportunity of meeting the one that makes you believe if its fate to meet them. He illustrates it by counting the opportunity of bumped into someone from all flights to London to Paris, and somehow designated by God to sit beside you.

“From within love, we conceal the chance nature of our lives behind a purposive veil. We invent a destiny to spare ourselves the anxiety that would arise from acknowledging that the little sense there is in our lives is merely created by ourselves.”

People often confused by a destiny to love with a destiny to love a given person which also related to chapter 9 in this book, about the question of beauty. Is it beauty gave birth to love, or love gave a birth to beauty ? is it because he/she is beauty enough that you fell, or because you love he/she then they look beauty ? Botton believes that love makes the loved looks beauty in our eyes, with its special conception of beauty on their head, he quoted that classically beautiful women should be left to men without imagination.

“Seeing through people is so easy, and it gets you nowhere. It’s so easy to find others fault”– Elias Canetti

But when you fell in love, suddenly it doesn’t exist.The only fault you found is all yours, and you hope that your loved one won’t found what we know is in ourselves, all the cowardice, weakness, laziness, dishonesty, compromise and stupidity.

The stories continued on their first date, when (usually) most of the people will prevent anxiety of commitment by not letting someone else (dating-partner) to pay for you. And how languages being use in seduction that has “deeper meaning” that it sounds. The conversation leads to their expectation and definition of love.

“One has to go into relationships with equal expectations, ready to give as much as the other – not with one person wanting a fling and the other real love.” the girl said.

One of ironies of love is that it is easier to confidently seduce those to whom we are least attracted. The man character who’s madly in love often got anxious by the thought of “who could I be next to her ?”. That the inferiority of being in loved is often forced people to be vulnerable.

Marxism is my favorite part of this book!

“We fall in love because we long to escape from ourselves with someone as ideal as we are. But what if such a being were one day to turn around and love us back? we can only be shocked.”

Unrequited love may be painful, but it is safely painful, because it does not involve inflicting damage on anyone but oneself, as soon as love is reciprocated, one must be prepared to give up the passivity of simply being hurt to take on the responsibility of perpetrating hurt oneself.

Marx believe that if the loved one love us back, we are forced to return to ourselves, and are hence reminded of the things that had driven us into love in the first place. Therefore, to be loved by someone is to realize how much they share the same needs that lie at the heart of our own attraction to them. We would not love if there were no lack within us, but we are offended by the discovery of a similar lack in the other. It’s easier to impute similarity than investigate difference.

That’s why we shouldn’t fell for a first sight, it is only when we truly know our partners that love deserves the chance to grow. That’s why when you found your loved weakness, your expectation and perception of such a perfect creature destroyed, perhaps that’s why it’s easier to fall in love with whom we know nothing. The more we know, the more we seek out for details, that are not quite as we had intended them to be. But the journey of love isn’t mean to be over when we face this situation, it’s how we deal with the situation that matter.

There’s no such thing as “I will love you for everything that you are.” since “Because I loved you, I told you things are wrong.” explaining the fight about woman shoes of which he doesn’t like.

“I care about you, therefore I will upset you, I have honoured you with a vision of how you should be, therefore I will hurt you.”

Humour lined the walls of irritation between our ideals and the reality: behind every joke, there was a warning of difference, of disappointment even, it may be a sign that two people have stopped loving one another (or at least stopped wishing to make the effort that constitutes ninety per cent of love) when they are no longer able to spin differences into jokes.

“If you like them at the beginning, you probably won’t like them at the end. And if you start hating them, there’s always a chance you’ll end up thinking they’re all right.”

The book continued the stories of the doubt of love, in philosophy, they believe if love is such an imagination. Your loved one maybe never exist in real world, it’s only happening in your head. But, Botton stated, “Delusions are not harmful in themselves, they only hurt when one is alone in believing in them.”

The higher, the harder it goes. It leads to intimacy, commitment, which continuously need a negotiation and adaptation process, the anxiety of getting ‘melt’ and no longer feel ourselves, the happiness of making future plan, which could simply ended up with one sentence “I’m sorry but you’re too good for me.”

Frankly speaking, I’m such a skeptical in love. But, this book somehow explain in a very make sense way about “L-O-V-E” it’s not a cheesy-romance book who only told about how you’ll go head over heels or feels butterfly in your tummy whenever you fell in love. It explained logical way of thinking when you’re fell in love. A fresh, comical, logic book that one should read.


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