Alain de Botton on success

(Sous-titré en Français, pour votre service !)

The other thing about modern society and why it causes this anxiety is that we have nothing at its center that is non-human. We are the first society to be living in a world where we don't worship anything other than ourselves. We think very highly of ourselves, and so we should. We've put people on the moon. We've done all sorts of extraordinary things. And so we tend to worship ourselves. Our heroes are human heroes. That's a very new situation. Most other societies have had, right at their center, the worship of something transcendent: a god, a spirit, a natural force, the universe, whatever it is, something else that is being worshiped. We've slightly lost the habit of doing that, which is, I think, why we're particularly drawn to nature. Not for the sake of our health, though it's often presented that way, but because it's an escape from the human anthill. It's an escape from our own competition, and our own dramas. And that's why we enjoy looking at glaciers and oceans, and contemplating the Earth from outside its perimeters, etc. We like to feel in contact with something that is non-human, and that is so deeply important to us.

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