[Video] I’m Crazy. You’re Crazy. Let’s Get Married!

Do you have 19 minutes and 53 seconds?

Good.

You MUST watch this video by Alain de Botton about the nature of love.

I’ve written about de Botton before, with good reason: the man is brilliant, wise, and funny, no matter what his subject matter.

But there’s something special about watching a video in which the author:

Rails against romanticism – destroying the concept of soulmates, destiny and “you just know” feelings.

Pillories the idea that your partner should confirm all your feelings, think you’re perfect, and read your mind.

Points out that we are highly flawed people with few powers of introspection and capacity for change who are dating other highly flawed people with few powers of introspection and capacity for change.

A good marriage isn’t based on the lie of pretend perfection, but rather, acknowledging our flaws, laughing at them, and working around them.

Reminds us that we’re drawn to partners that are familiar, and not necessarily healthy.

Slaps us with the reality that a good marriage isn’t based on the lie of pretend perfection, but rather, acknowledging our flaws, laughing at them, and working around them.

I love his tone and could have said every word myself if I were a famous philosopher who has published 15 books in less than 25 years.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

Join our conversation (11 Comments).
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Comments:

  1. 1
    Courtney

    I laughed so hard but thought he made some really good points!

  2. 2
    KK

    He’s good!

  3. 3
    Nissa

    He is just hilarious! I could listen to him all day long.

  4. 4
    zoey

    Fabulous !!!

  5. 5
    ScottH

    very worthwhile!

  6. 6
    Theodora

    I love Alain de Botton. He is absolutely my type – a man you can fall in love with just listening to him. And like him, I am an anti-Romantic.

    I like very much how he made the distinction between what the ancient Greeks (namely Plato with his story of the halves and the complete human being from The Symposium) understood by love and what the Romantics understood by love, because we often (mis)interpret Plato through our lens as “heirs of the Romantics”, as de Botton put it. Our half according to Plato is somebody who can inspire us in virtute, good and perfection (“wholesomeness”, says de Botton), our “soul mate” according to the Romantics is somebody who can keep us happy as a clam forever, and he/she has a sort of duty to do so.

    I would say that love as imagined by the Romantics, whose cultural heirs we are, is  actually an egotistical love of the Self. Our lover has a duty to give us a permanent state of happiness, fulfillment and excitement, and when he/she can no longer deliver, we are free to dispose of them, because “You’ve disappointed me. You are not the person I fell in love with”.

    I think the best (the worst, actually) example is that of the ultimate Romantic, who unfortunately mentally shaped to an important degree the way we perceive love nowadays, Lord Byron. He brought most of his lovers – women and men – to the brink of madness and suicide. He was married for a short time, and his wife asked for separation and divorce less than two years after marriage. It says a lot that in a time when people – particularly women – were encouraged to put up with any kind of abuse for the sake of staying married, the poor woman had enough after such a short time. Always restless, always looking for the ideal and the ultimate thrill, that’s how the ultimate Romantic lived his life. And always disappointed by people in flesh and bones.

    This expanded to more than his love life, to his intellectual pursuits. His first letters when he first encountered the Greeks whom he wanted liberated from the Ottoman Empire were of deep disappointment. Those lame Greeks, who failed to deliver, like his lovers.  Not a nation of Aristotles, but a nation of flawed human beings – pretty much like the Brits at home whom he despised so much that he left his country for good.

    Among all the countless definitions of love I read, there is one that will always stay with me and I consider it my favorite. It belongs to the writer Iris Murdoch and it goes like this: “Love is the extremely difficult realization that something other than oneself is real”.

    We are born with a basic equipment skills for survival, which is natural. Your being is the center of the Universe, only your wishes are true, only your pain is real. Then something happens…

    Though I don’t have chidren, I noticed what a major change it is for the people around me, particularly their first child. And how they tell me stories shaped in different ways, but with the same gist: I am no longer the center of the Universe. my wishes don’t matter, somebody’s else’s pain is more painful than my own.

    I think this is the ultimate declaration of (anti-Romantic) love. Not you are hotter than Angelina Jolie and Chris Evans.  But you made me reach the extremely difficult step of a questioning my own Ego.

     

  7. 7
    kelly

    I love this. So here’s a thought: if you’re dating and you don’t feel an instant “spark,” chemistry, etc., does that mean he/she is normal and you should keep dating them? Or should you look for that instant ‘spark-like chemistry’?

    1. 7.1
      Henriette

      Kelly – it depends how you define “instant spark-like chemistry.”  You don’t need to think the person across from you is wildly sexy in order to go on another date.  But Evan tells us to look at a number of factors like is it easy and fun to hang out Together , does he or she seem like a good person and, yes, also, is there some attraction there.  So some base of attraction is important but know it can grow over time whereas if a date seems to have poor character… that will probably remain constant.

      1. 7.1.1
        Kelly

        Thanks. So if you’re not dying to make out and have that crazy butterfly feeling… it’s ok? Haha

    2. 7.2
      Drat

      I think that one of the difficult things about (online) dating today is that one has this expectation of immediate sparks and chemistry. You are supposed to go from zero to making out in a number of hours. And often the people who trigger instant sparks, or familiarity, are the ones that are the worst for us in terms of reenacting old (usually unhealthy) patterns from childhood.

      I am in the best relationship I have ever had, and we recently got engaged. I have done a lot of online dating, but I actually knew my fiance for years as an acquaintance, and for about a year as a closer friend, before we even thought about dating. I had always found him to be good looking, but it took getting to know him pretty well to consider him as a romantic interest. And even then, in the early days of our dating I kept feeling like something was wrong, or missing. It wasn’t until I realized that the “missing” piece was the drama, or instability, that I was used to feeling. He didn’t feel familiar because he’s actually a securely attached person who is open about his feelings for me. I never had to wonder or analyze where he stood. Once I got used to that, I was able to relax and lean into the relationship.

      I feel lucky that things are finally working out for me. I think a lot of guys from online could have worked out too, but I wasn’t up for giving them a years long trial period to let my feelings develop, as most people aren’t. So overall, I think it’s important to at least find the person you’re dating attractive on a superficial level, but sometimes it takes more time for the in-love feelings to develop than we anticipate. And sometimes the “sparks” never come, but in their place is something much, much better.

  8. 8
    Achiever

    Ds Botton’s talk is so apt. It captured exactly what we need to know abt love, making a distinction between d blue sky and the real thing

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