Updated: Oct 17
I found this on the heels of a big break up. It feels very Seneca-esque to me in that there are so many very profound ideas so smoothly and charismatically delivered that you don't know your mind is being blown.
I take from this the idea that while finding a relationship partner is one of life's most important life endeavors, we -- and this is said with only acceptance and forgiveness -- don't approach it w/ a grounded understanding of what the action of love or creating a relationship really is. But, alas, there is hope, if one only clicks below...
I love that the speaker, Alain de Botton, weaves some very profound truths in to this talk while being instructive w/o judging, insightful w/o boring, and is charming w/o diluting. Listening to Botton calls to mind other thinkers' ideas of love and deploying one's self that I have internalized -- Covey's deliberate self, Bennis' idea of the self within others -- and wraps them up into a new roadmap for this particular life context.
My Notes on Some Concepts
We are going to move from anger to grief. Hope leads to rage. We will have to diminish our hope to move to sadness and grief and grow. Walt Disney is the most dangerous man in America as his company is the chief purveyor of hope.
Very Stoic. A lot of avoidable suffering comes from our excessively set or unmanaged expectations.
You can be addicted to anything that keeps you away from yourself, away from tricky self knowledge... Until you know yourself, you can't possibly relate to another person.
This feels very Stoic to me as well in that you do have to do some work to attain some of the goals in life. How can an outcome that requires two adults be seen as something that happens automatically, but for others' comforting (childish?) narratives keeping us from acknowledging it?
Love is not an instinct, it is a skill... Love is a willingness to interpret and accept someone unappealing surface behavior in an effort to find the benevolent reasons why it may be unfolding. To love someone is to apply charity and generosity of interpretation.
The route to a good marriage and to good love is the ability to become a good teacher. "Teaching" is merely the word that we give to skill of getting an idea from one head into another in a way that is likely to be accepted.
I very much hear Covey's principled listening here and do not hear "total forgiveness" or "unquestioning acceptance." It's not that every behavior is acceptable, it's that seeing the truth a matter, especially one of the heart, requires we do the work of allowing it oxygen to breathe.
I like the phrase "to offer safe harbor" to encapsulate this idea b/c it highlights that loving is a deliberate action. Love, as with being open-minded, isn't only letting someone finish, letting someone have their say, allowing them an opportunity to convince you. A listener elects to offer safe harbor when he grants legitimacy to the speaker's position so as to reveal and understand the speaker's deeper motivations.
We believe that true love means accepting the whole of us. It doesn't. No one should accept the whole of us, we're appalling. The full display of our characters... should not be something that we do in front of anyone that we care about.
I. Love. Backstopped ideas. This really anchors the work of love to a real sense of accountability and responsibility to another person, an acknowledgement of the need for interdependence. I very much value Covey's model of a relationship existing b/w two people who consensually participate in it. You each show up to the relationship, neither person "owns" another whose job becomes stooping to accept the former's unmanaged bad habits.
Other Notable Concepts
"None of us will find the right person; all of us can find a good enough person. That is success... We are all strange and hard to live with, but our capacity to intuit this is very weak... A stranger may know more about our flaws in 10 mins than we might learn over 40 years of life. Knowledge is out there, but within us...
We all demonstrate addict behavior: any pattern that avoids the thoughts and emotions that arise from being on one's own... Until you know yourself, you can't possibly relate to another person.
Love is not an instinct, it is a skill that society refuses to consider as a skill... To love someone is to apply charity and generosity of interpretation... Maturity is seeing that there are no heroes or sinners... It is a significant psychological achievement to attain ambivalence, to simultaneously have and blend feelings of love and hate for a single person.
We've been told to find a partner by following our instincts. You can't think too much about your emotions, you can only think badly... When we seek partners instinctively, we think we're out to find partners that make us happy, when we're really emotionally seeking partners that feel familiar... what we detected in this quite accomplished person is someone who will not be able to make us suffer in the way that we need to suffer in order to feel that love is real... that's why we reject them.
If you do not explain, you can never be understood... The route to a good marriage and to good love is the ability to become a good teacher. "Teaching" is merely the word that we give to skill of getting an idea from one head into another in a way that is likely to be accepted...You need a culture within a couple where two people are going to teach each other... learn from one another... We don't believe that this has a role a in love... that true love means accepting the whole of us. It doesn't... The full display of our characters should not be something that we do in front of anyone that we care about.
Good enough is a needed relief from our punishing perfectionism... You cannot have perfection and company. To be in company w/ another person is to be negotiating imperfection every day. It is the work of love to make us graciously accommodate each other and ourselves to each other's incompatibilities. Compatibility is an achievement of love.