How to Think More

How to Think More

Two weeks ago, as I was reading How to Think About Sex, I posted: Mayhap Alain de Botton is on to something here—to replace the usual vows and platitudes with something more cautionary, downbeat, pragmatic: “I promise to be disappointed by you and you alone. I promise to make you the sole repository of my regrets, rather than to distribute them widely through multiple affairs and a life of sexual Don Juanism. I have surveyed the different options for unhappiness, and it is you I have chosen to commit to.” And so, for example, upon the discovery of infidelity, the betrayed could more poignantly and justly cry: “I was relying on you to be loyal to the specific variety of disappointment that I represent.” [Continue reading.]

A little bit of this and that

Why, yes, I forgot I had a book blog. Nothing new, really. Although, after the bibliographic flurry of the last weekend, I came to the startling realization that I had other interests—like, um, a computer game that involves building a Roman city from scratch, and zombies, and Downton Abbey. And, well, I’m not missing reading [...]


It was Sappho who first called eros “bittersweet.” No one who has been in love disputes her. What does the word mean? Eros seemed to Sappho at once an experience of pleasure and pain. Here is contradiction and perhaps paradox. To perceive this eros can split the mind in two. Why? The components of the [...]

“The longing for a destiny is nowhere stronger than in our romantic life. . .” – On Love, by Alain de Botton

22 of 2011 ▪ On Love by Alain de Botton. 1. I first learned about this novel [philosophy tract cum novel?] after I finished my first reading of Roland Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments. I wanted more of the wonder and beauty of Barthes, and my internet digs led me to de Botton’s first book. [...]

On The Pleasure of the Text, an “erotics of reading” by Roland Barthes, translated by Richard Miller

Text of pleasure: the text that contents, fills, grants euphoria; the text that comes from culture and does not break with it, is linked to a comfortable practice of reading. Text of bliss: the text that imposes a state of loss, the text that discomforts (perhaps to the point of a certain boredom), unsettles the [...]

“. . . the lover’s discourse is today of an extreme solitude.”

Now, absence can only exist as a consequence of the other: it is the other who leaves, it is I who remain. The other is in a condition of perpetual departure, of journeying; the other is, by vocation, migrant, fugitive; I -- I who love, by converse vocation, am sedentary, motionless, at hand, in expectation, [...]

When We Read for Other People: Me and The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton, and Then Some:

The house gives signs of enjoying the emptiness. It is rearranging itself after the night, clearing its pipes and cracking its joints. This dignified and seasoned creature, with its coppery veins and wooden feet nestled in a bed of clay, has endured much: balls bounced against its garden flanks, doors slammed in rage, headstands attempted [...]

marginalia || The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery; translated by Alison Anderson

When I first started lurking on book blogs, it seemed as though The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery [translated by Alison Anderson] was just, ya know, everywhere. A post that stands out is from Matt who loved the book, and, much later when I'd begun blogging in earnest, from Kevin who didn't so [...]

marginalia || Breakfast with Socrates, by Robert Rowland Smith

In the 3.5 years I’ve had to study philosophy for school (it has nothing to do with my major, but it’s core curriculum), several times I’ve allowed a blasphemous thought to slide in: Duh. Especially in moments of great pressure. Aren’t philosophers just verbalizing very obvious things? All that I think, therefore I am crap? [...]