I’m very grateful for Alain De Botton – what an amazingly percipient human he is. The Philosopher’s Mail serves as one outlet for his wisdom in the infinite quest for emotional intelligence and enlightenment. In a similar vain to The School of Life, it offers redeeming nuggets of insight about navigating modern life and beyond.
One article in particular – The Philosopher’s Guide to Gratitude – recently piqued my interest for its raw and earnest appreciation of the prosaic aspects of life. It addresses this fundamental human condition we often overlook, proclaiming that ambition is the greatest counterpoint of gratitude – yet both are healthy in equal measures. Here are a few excerpts from the piece:
“The call to gratitude isn’t for everyone at all times. It is a corrective for those among us who are in danger of overplaying ambition.”
“We don’t yet recognise the dissatisfaction that arises when the frequency of very attractive things (superlative relationships, careers, bodies) is overplayed. We grow ungrateful because we are, among other things, very poor statisticians.”
“A failure to draw pleasure from our current circumstances is an indication of a problem which will likely dog us even if we reach the pinnacle of all our ambitions.”
And perhaps most poignantly:
“Gratitude is the dividend that is due to us when we forego false images of normality and begin to assess our lives against stark but liberating statistical realities.”