Alain de Botton

Alain de Botton is a philosopher, writer and television presenter. His books include Essays in Love (published when he was only 23), How Proust Can Change Your Life (1997), Status Anxiety (2004) and Religion for Atheists (2012)

i Newspaper
 
TheIPaper
The Independent around the web
Broadening the mind: Match your spiritual needs with a place on the globe

This week's questions: Is Christianity in the UK in decline? Is marriage a good thing? Should politicians take risks?

This week's questions are answered by writer and philosopher, Alain de Botton

People walk with crosses during a pilgrimage to Holy Island

Spiritual travel for atheists: Do pilgrimages have a place in modern society?

Their ideals should be applied to journeys today too, says Alain de Botton.

A good idea from ... Proust

`A scientist announces that the world will end. What would you do?'

Columns: A good idea from ... Winnicott

I'VE ALWAYS wanted to try my hand at those quizzes in women's magazines designed to identify character types (Are you a jealous sort? Does green suit you?), and a little moment of paranoia in my private life led me to think one up the other day. If your lover hasn't called when she promised she would, what goes through your mind? Do you imagine a) that she must have been held up by an innocuous event, b) that she has been run over, or c) that she has abruptly realised you're horrible and has gone off with someone else?

A good idea from ... Rousseau

I WAS feeling a bit glum the other day and a well-meaning friend of mine said to me, "You know Elaine [he has difficulty with my name], your problem is that you think too much." Later, it struck me that there are two diametrically opposed views about problems and thinking: some people suggest that we think a lot when we have a lot of problems. Others suggest that we develop a lot of problems when we think too much. Where should one stand?

A good idea from... Laurence Sterne

IT'S SO hard to say what we feel. We're forced to rummage in a vocabulary box for the right label, but words are imperfect vehicles for conveying ourselves to others. We can't always make them capture nuances; bits of what we mean get left behind, like something stuck to the frying pan, when we try to move a thought or feeling from our minds to the minds of others. How much better it might sometimes be to draw a picture rather than struggle with words. If you asked me to explain how I've been feeling over the past week, it might be easiest to say:

Columns: A good idea from ... Casanova

THE ONLY thing everyone knows about Casanova is that men are occasionally accused of being one when their eyes wander across the room at parties. My eyes wandered the other evening. It was a brunette with glasses. And in the car on the way home, M said, "If you want to behave like some second- rate Casanova, don't expect me to stick around for the privilege."

Columns: A good idea from... Theophrastus

A FEW DAYS ago, I met a woman who told me, "I know someone just like you." "Really," I said (offended). "How do you mean, just like me?" "Well, you know, little hair, a bit gauche, into books. He even wears a big grey coat like yours in winter. It's uncanny." This kind of thing should make one happy. It should be lovely to hear that there is a near clone out there, a soulmate, someone to talk to and go clothes shopping with. But, in actuality, it can be quite horrible, given the strength of our desire to feel special, different, unique.

A good idea from ... Nabokov

EVER SINCE the invention of the printing press, those who most love books have been prey to an awkward, paradoxical thought; that there are too many books in the world. These book lovers may even look back with nostalgia to that fortunate scroll-and-scribe era when, a little after middle age, educated people with good libraries and not too many pressing engagements could conceivably reach a point when they had read everything.
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor