- Alain de Botton The Course

II. The Course of Love

by Alain de Botton

April, 2020

My book club is reading this "novel" by Alain de Botton in which he explores, more or less philosophically, how mature responsibilities and "love" develop between couples. How we are usually trapped by a traditional romantic view of love. And how, at the beginning of a close relationship, we simply don't know how to deal with affection and attachment, beyond the experiences we've learned from our parents, past boyfriends, culture and some DNA stuff. Of course, not all of our needs can be met by a single other person or partner, but we still have to manage our needs. And we still have our liabilities.

Complicated...., :-) but one of Alain de Botton's obvious conclusions is that, paradoxically, we're not really ready for a deep relationship until we've had the experience - and that's often too late. But philosophically speaking, according to David Hume, we still have to act as if we know what we're doing, as if we have something to believe in, even if we don't. We try to be "true to our feelings", to our intuitions, to be logical and try to be wise; and we reason, argue and guess, but only as well as we can or should. But we still lack real knowledge. And most of the time that's just good enough. But not always....

This novel is a kind of sequel to his earlier novel "Essays in Love", but I think this one is more "formal" and I miss a bit of the youthful and playful naive writing that was in the first one. This book is more logical, reasoned, static, 'paragraphed' and conclusive, but it is an interesting read.