Clichés

The problem with clichés is not that they contain false ideas, but rather that they are superficial articulations of very good ones. […] Clichés are detrimental in so far as they inspire us to believe that they adequately describe a situation while merely grazing its surface. And if this matters, it is because the way we speak is ultimately linked to the way we feel, because how we describe the world must at some level reflect how we first experience it.

~ Alain De Botton

slip:4a1003.

Elusive of casual definition

We feel something, and reach out for the nearest phrase or hum with which to communicate, but which fails to do justice to what has induced us to do so. We hear Beethoven’s Ninth and hum poum, poum, poum, we see the pyramids at Giza and go, “that’s nice.” These sounds are asked to account for an experience, but their poverty prevents either us or our interlocutors from really understanding what we have lived through. We stay on the outside of our impressions, as if staring at them through a frosted window, superficially related to them, yet estranged from whatever has eluded casual definition.

~ Alain De Botton

slip:4a998.

The moral

The moral? To recognize that our best chance of contentment lies in taking up the wisdom offered to us in coded form through our coughs, allergies, social gaffes and emotional betrayals, and to avoid the ingratitude of those who blame the peas, the bores, the time and the weather.

~ Alaine De Botton

slip:4a987.

Ignorance

A precondition of becoming knowledgeable may be a resignation to, and accommodation with, the extent of one’s ignorance, an accommodation which requires a sense that this ignorance need not be permanent, or indeed need not be taken personally, as a reflection of one’s inherent capacities.

~ Alain De Botton

slip:4a977.