Interview with Alain de Botton – “The Calming of The British best-selling author, entrepreneur and philosopher Alain de Botton about the sentence is: We know how to die””Everything will be fine” what matters in life, and why in the Corona-crisis is an opportunity.Thorsten Schmitz0 comments”We will need our friends in the coming months”, says Alain de Botton about the crisis.Photo: Ilya van Marle/VISA –
How do you cope in a world that is suddenly full of restrictions and proximity to other people’s bans?
for Me personally, it’s actually still quite good. I’m a lock, a writer and spend my entire life in a self-imposed output. Also, I’m an introvert. I don’t like to go to parties or shopping, to many people, I feel uncomfortable, and I like to be home and to work. I observe that almost the whole world is doing exactly what I run anyway. And I’m afraid it will take a very long time, until we return back to normality as we know it.
There are also things that make me hopeful: It shows a lot of creativity just has something very Liberating. We don’t hear often in our everyday life, no, this is not possible, no, that must be made. Suddenly, however, it is possible to change the learning operation of schools, structures in hospitals can be quickly to a new situation adapted. What would have previously taken decades, is now in the course of one Afternoon.
are you so optimistic?
It is vain to look, in a crisis like this optimistic view of the future. The solution lies in the pessimism. My friends often ask me: What will happen, we will be sought in September, a second wave of Infection a home? I say then: Let us take the worst case scenario. We must imagine how we would deal with a Situation if something really Terrible happens. Then we are prepared when it really comes down to it. If someone would have said last year, in January 2020, the worst economic crisis in 200 years, will come to us because someone ate an infected bat in China, and it will look to some like the end of civilization, most people would have probably cried. Bill Gates has already warned five years ago of a pandemic. He was prepared for. This is the attitude we should take: a kind of cheerful pessimism, coupled with a gallows humor and gallows of hope.
What can we learn from this Corona-crisis, in which nothing seems safe?
there are no guarantees, no certainties. This is a time of the experiment. One of the essential characteristics of our society is that we have become a consumer society. Our economy is based on ever-increasing consumption. This has the basis for our enormous wealth. However, it has also created the basis for our tremendous doubt. More and more people are asking: do we Need this? This is the way to be happy? We are destroying our planet? Many people do not realize just now, that we need many things for our life. So much of our consumption is based on the fact that we want to be respected, we want to be liked, admired, and recognized to be appreciated by actually Strangers.
“It’s crazy to realize how much time we spend with the fear of death, we know, however, that he is part of our life.”
Often one gets to hear the sentence, all will be well. This helps?
If you tell anyone, bad things will never happen and everything will be fine, like the work for a brief Moment, as insurance. But the truth is: The world is so, and certainly not during the pandemic, people are dying and we are experiencing a massive economic crisis. The only way to achieve peace of mind, is to imagine the worst scenarios. You have to internalize that there is no one hundred percent security. The French philosopher Michel de Montaigne said, of doubt, be a good pillow for a well-balanced head. This is what we should do: On a pillow of doubt to sleep.
your cheerful pessimism prevents you from getting to Worry about?
It is so: We must all die, sooner or later. One day will tell us, maybe a doctor, I’m sorry, but you have terminal cancer, there is no therapy that could help you, you still have three weeks. Also, with such a Situation, we will be ready. All of us. Yet everyone is dead. The Reassuring point is that We know how to die. It’s crazy to realize how much time we spend with the fear of death, we know, however, that he is part of our life. People can overcome the worst of situations, if you lost all of your assets or income, when friends and partners die. We do not strengthen ourselves by, we take refuge in an ideal world, but we flip the light in the room, the Worries and Fears.
What is the root of our concern?
Concerns and Fears of the desperate attempt of the mind to achieve control over the Unknown, the uncontrollable. We don’t have the courage to look them in the eye. That is why so many people suffer from insomnia, because in sleep our mind’s revenge for all the thoughts that we have repressed during the day. In the night these thoughts Wake us up at three in the morning and say to us: listen to us! It also helps the Fears to write down to confront them. We need to reach the state, in the us, our Fears are simply just bored.
“We must all be as cool as our grandparents.”
As a philosopher, you will look back on often. What the story teaches us?
The history teaches us that people have survived many catastrophes and natural disaster. History also makes us grandparents. Parents are constantly anxious, do not say, my child learns enough, he has too little friends, you can’t always run. And our grandparents? Are quiet and serene. Why? Because you have already lived a bit further. We must all be as cool as our grandparents.
Which philosophers do not protect you from getting into a panic?
My favorite philosophers are the Stoics, the great thinkers, Seneca or Marcus Aurelius. You have trained your mind and the attitude that you take a look at everything expected, everything, nothing, the eye closes. So then comes the idea that the universe has of all things, chose you, you with horrible experiences haunt.
do you Have the impression that the European politicians to manage the crisis well?
There are in the UK, many people, including me, would also like to have a leader like the German Chancellor, Mrs Merkel, which is reasonable, tranquility, don’t panic widespread problems seriously concerned. Instead, we have to do with a head of government who was only ever concerned and worried then. It also depends on how to talk to the people. He said many families would lose a family member in the Corona-crisis. No responsibility is talking full of head of government. Johnson has put so many people in a panic.
What is hope
That we get now, maybe a better world. Innovation need not come only from Tech companies. Innovations can also put in other areas of life, Trends, how we marry, how we bury people, beer, how we educate our children and teach them how we go on vacation. What makes me confident is that 99 percent of the people on this planet are very friendly and helpful, the only want to get an opportunity to be nice. Perhaps the neighbor’s family now needs help with shopping? Or the older person have a conversation, because he threatens in Isolation to loneliness? It makes us much happier, more needy of our time and give our attention to, instead of seeking in consumer surplus, our happiness.
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