I would like to book a vacation to tour de Botton’s brain. It would be a clean, well-kept, orderly, climate- controlled treasure trove of information. For example, the table of contents to this book:
Status Anxiety: Contents
My oversimplification of his work is that once meritocracy replaced aristocracy, we were no longer sheltered from the pain of being the losers at the bottom of the status ladder. It was up to us, and our fault alone, that we were not on top. Crushing weight of expectations. The ultimate cut is to not be acknowledged by the world, and the world ignores the mass of humanity that is not “great” (e.g. in monetary wealth currently, but previously in noble blood, or selfless gestures).
How do we pull the weight off ourselves, rise above? To be bathed in the clear cold mind of philosophy, to lose ourselves in art, to demand change in what matters via politics, to become religious, or to encourage Bohemian lifestyle of uplifting the mind Ã¼ber alles.
Nature didn’t tell me: “Don’t be poor.” Nor indeed: “Be rich.” But she does beg me: “Be independent.” — Chamfort, Maxims (1795)