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Published January 5th 2013
What this man has to say may make you wonder about life,love
"Good news everyone!" as Professor Farnsworth would say, Alain de Botton has opened a very lively branch of his School of Life here in Melbourne. First founded in London in 2008, his classes have found immense popularity with people from all walks of life. Fortunately for us Melbournians he has started a similar enterprise right here in Collingwood.
While he may not be a household name, I do believe his status as a philosopher of our times is entirely warranted. His vision of bringing daily life and its routines under philosophic scrutiny in order to bring about completely new perspectives on such things as love, marriage, religion, work etc is truly stimulating. He makes these topics relevant by relating it to our mundane lives. His classes offer therapeutic insights into those dramatic crises that life throws at us such as losing a job, a partner, or a moral conundrum.
De Botton forces us out of conventional thinking enforced by straitlaced education systems which according to him hardly ever comes in use in real life. On the contrary at the School of Life you're taught such courses as How Necessary is a Relationship? How to Face Death, How to Find a Job You Love, How to Fill the God-shaped Hole, How to Worry Less about Money, and so on. Wouldn't you rather gather insights on these topics than write mindless essays on the Industrial Revolution or whether Shakespeare really did write those plays? You can get all information about Alain de Botton's School of Life summer classes here.
I first came across de Botton's work in an airport book shop. It was his Essays in Love that got me hooked on his intelligent take on life. I couldn't put that book down and once I did, I went around looking for more of his books. There are times when you can't quite agree with what he's saying, but even those are opportunities to really rethink and check your awareness on what you may have taken for granted. I found this especially true about his views on marriage and fidelity. His talks are available on TED and other YouTube videos and they're really worth listening to if you want to get an idea of his philosophy of life.
I'm a huge fan and so confess to being hugely excited by the prospect of dropping in on these classes. At $50 apiece for a three hour class, it might appear a bit steep at least to some. But I'm convinced it's good value for the buck considering the invaluable insights that this may bring about. I'm all for intellectual stimulation and there's none I know who can do it quite like Alain de Botton. Though he may not be taking any classes here personally, I'm willing to bet, and ardently hope, his staff will not stray too far from his philosophy.