Alain de Botton and the complexity of modern day love

Hosted by

Alain de Botton. Photo by Vincent Starr

Changes in society and culture have had significant impacts on our relationships and views on marriage. Centuries ago, not much thought was given to personal happiness and fulfillment — family pressure, procreation, and security were often the main drivers to forging a marital bond.  

Cultural shifts and emancipation, longer life expectancy, and even dating apps have shifted that paradigm. With that, so have our relationship expectations — from spouse to soul mate, and even team mate. While the complexities of modern love have opened up a whole new world, they’ve also brought disappointment and frustration. Has love lost its luster or do we lose our way when we overfocus on the wrong things?  

Philosopher, co-founder, and chairman of the School of Life Alain de Botton has made it his mission to show and teach philosophy's relevance to everyday living. His books include “Essays in Love,” “​​​​Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person,” and “How Proust Can Change Your Life.”  

Jonathan Bastian talks with de Botton about the societal pressures on the modern relationship and hears advice on how to embrace imperfections in our partners and allow for compassion and understanding. De Botton posits that a partner should “be able to forgive us for our strangeness, and have tenderness for our most awkward sides.” 

De Botton also addresses and relates to some of the harder emotions we face as individuals: loneliness, failure, and disappointment. His advice? “In order to be the people we really want to be, we need to be extremely tough editors of the messages that reach our ears.

The School of Life and Alain de Botton. Photo by Rosie Hardy



Andrea Brody