Material Goods - Key Idea
Material goods have been destructive and their possession leads to a sense of status anxiety within our society.
Material Goods - Quote
"What is perhaps less apparent and more perplexing is the way that such impressive material advancements may have gone hand in hand with...a rise in status anxiety among ordinary Western citizens". In contrast, he later states that the consumer revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries "led to psychological anguish...[emergence of an] extraordinary new ideal...a practical belief in the innate equality of all humans and in the unlimited power of anyone to achieve anything". CONTRAST IN MODALITY
Material Goods - Effect
Even though we may have more material goods now, we have an increased sense of deprivation and fear of not getting more or of losing them.
Traditional Values - Key Idea
The poor didn't suffer from status anxiety in the past because they were considered important in the community.
Traditional Values - Quote #1
John of Salisbury's metaphor
"to treat the poor with respect if they wanted to stay alive just as they knew to treat their feet with respect in order to walk" INTERTEXTUALITY + METAPHOR
Traditional Values - Effect #1
Like a limb of the body, the poor play a vital part in the operation of society - a fact that has 'expired' or disappeared from our society with the emergence of meritocracy. Lost perceived value.
Traditional Values - Quote #2
"To the injury of poverty, a meritocratic system now added the insult of shame." SUBVERSION OF CLICHE - 'adding insult to injury'
Traditional Values - Effect #2
Acts as a summary of the sad truth and end of status equality that the introduction of the meritocratic system brought about
Philosophy - Key Idea #1
If we apply a filter of reasons, like philosophers do, we will not be troubled by the status attacks of other people.
Philosophy - Quote #1
Philosophers including Chamfort and Epictetus
Socrates' encounter with Alexander the Great - "Look at how many things there are which I don't want." COLLOQUIAL DIALOGUE
Philosophy - Effect #1
de Botton shows Socrates' ambivalence and his immunity to being humbled by the leader.
Philosophy - Key Idea #2
Other people are not qualified and too fast to critique other people.
Philosophy - Quote #2
Title - "Intelligent Misanthropy" OXYMORON
Philosophy - Effect #2
Shows that people are naïve to accept the criticisms of other people and that reason should intervene in casting our self-image
Philosophy - Quote #3
"Would a musician feel flattered by loud applause if it were know to him that, with the exception of one or two, it consisted entirely of deaf people?" RHETORICAL QUESTION
Philosophy - Effect #3
de Botton reasons that we should ask ourselves whether we are worth or deserving of the opinion placed upon us by others
Art - Key Idea #1
Art is a cure for status anxiety as it assures us of our true value explaining we are fundamentally underappreciated in society.
Art - Quote #1
White Teeth by Zadie Smith FIGURATIVE PLACARDS
Art - Effect #1
Visually represent in bold text how art allows us to see beyond the waiter's façade and to see him at a different level. Making people multi-dimensional through art shows how judgemental society is without knowing the circumstances behind failure.
Art - Quote #2
"If the newspaper, with its language of perverts and weirdos, failures and losers, lies at one end of the spectrum of understanding, then it is tragedy that lies at the other." ANTITHESIS CONTRAST
Art - Effect #2
Shows how quick our society is to judge people. In tragic art, we are presented with the back-story rationalising the otherwise shocking actions (e.g. taunting of Macbeth leading him to kill Duncan), such that we are left to be our own judge, thinking whether the actions are appropriates. Understanding their motives makes us leave the theatre to hopefully apply a level of understanding to those who have failed in our society
Art - Key Idea #3
de Botton comments that status anxiety is temporarily 'cured' through comedy. Comics seek to tease us for our own misgivings and highlight our flaws.
Art - Quote #3
"Their work strives to amend both the injustices of power and the excesses of our envy towards those higher in the social system. Like tragedy it is motivated by some of what is most regrettable about our human condition." INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE
Art - Effect #3
Shows we are all guilty of feeling status anxiety - a regrettable trait of the human condition.