recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : alaindebotton   13

Against a "Life Hack" Approach to Art Education | Claudia Ruitenberg - Academia.edu
"This paper critiques de Botton and Armstrong’s Art as Therapy project (2013-2015), a collaboration with art museums in Canada, the Netherlands, and Australia, in which labels in the gallery, as well a catalogue and website, explain how viewers might use works of art to serve therapeutic purposes in their lives. The paper argues that, instead of making art more accessible to those who, allegedly, do not find access to art on their own, the Art as Therapy project undermines the force and richness of art by first declaring it useless and inaccessible and then repurposing it as therapeutic life hack "



"I commend de Botton and Armstrong for their premise that art is not the exclusive preoccupation of the cultural cognoscenti, but can have a bearing on anyone’s life— as long as we’re willing to let it. I also commend them for highlighting that art is not a purely cerebral affair, that works of art do something to us, and that the emotions are involved in this doing. My main criticisms of their approach are that they predetermine what bearing art can and should have, and that they privilege the therapeutic over the aesthetic value of art.

There is an important difference between a life hack approach in everyday life, where household items are repurposed but also retain their original use-value, and a life-hack approach to art, where the practical utility of “repurposed” works offers redemption for purported uselessness. Life hacks typically repurpose discarded or cheap materials; people don’t turn objects they already value into life hacks. de Botton and Armstrong’s message seems to be that art is useless, but that with the help of their commentaries, these useless works can be turned into something viewers can benefit from.

Whatever else art is and does, it offers an aesthetic experience, which is to say that it intervenes in perception (“aesthetic” is derived from the Greek verb aisthesthai, meaning to perceive, sense). This intervention may have various further effects, including therapeutic ones, but art is not useless if its effects are not therapeutic. Art may make us laugh or cry or leave us indifferent. It may disturb or console us, give us nightmares or fits of giggles. It may do this and a whole host of other things—but it does not inherently need or mean to do any of them. When de Botton and Armstrong cite the “art for art’s sake” credo, they dismiss it as saying that art has no purpose. That, however, is not what the credo says. That art is done for the sake of art suggests that art has no purpose other than to be art —and the latter is quite a bit of purpose."
2016  claudiaruitenberg  alaindebotton  johnarmostring  arttherapy  lifehacks  accessibility  artastherapy  inaccessibility  museumeducation  education  aestheticexperience  experience  interpretation  interpretativefreedom  pedagogy  pedagogicalintervention  intervention  freedom  aesthetics  carelpeeters  uselessness  purpose 
january 2017 by robertogreco
What Is an "Existential Crisis”?: An Animated Video Explains What the Expression Really Means | Open Culture
[video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEzMwNBjkAU ]

"“Who am I?” many of us have wondered at some point in our lives, “What am I? Where am I?”… maybe even—while gazing in bewilderment at the pale blue dot and listening to the Talking Heads—“How did I get here?”

That feeling of unsettling and profound confusion, when it seems like the hard floor of certainty has turned into a black abyss of endless oblivion…. Thanks to modern philosophy, it has a handy name: an existential crisis. It’s a name, says Alain de Botton in his School of Life video above, that “touches on one of the major traditions of European philosophy,” a tradition “associated with ideas of five philosophers in particular: Kierkegaard, Camus, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Sartre.”

What do these five have in common? The question is complicated, and we can’t really point to a “tradition.” As the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy notes, Existentialism is a “catch-all term” for a few continental philosophers from the 19th and 20th centuries, some of whom had little or no association with each other. Also, “most of the philosophers conventionally grouped under this heading either never used, or actively disavowed the term ‘existentialist.’” Camus, according to Richard Raskin, thought of Existentialism as a “form of philosophical suicide” and a “destructive mode of thought.” Even Sartre, who can be most closely identified with it, once said “Existentialism? I don’t know what it is.”

But labels aside, we can identify many common characteristics of the five thinkers de Botton names that apply to our paralyzing experiences of supreme doubt. The video identifies five such broad commonalities of the “existential crisis”:

1. “It’s a period when a lot that had previously seemed like common sense or normal reveals its contingent, chance, uncanny, and relative nature…. We are freer than we thought.”

2. We recognize we’d been deluding ourselves about what had to be…. We come to a disturbing awareness that our ultimate responsibility is to ourselves, not the social world.”

3. “We develop a heightened awareness of death. Time is short and running out. We need to re-examine our lives, but the clock is ticking.”

4. “We have many choices, but are, by the nature of the human condition, denied the information we would need to choose with ultimate wisdom or certainty. We are forced to decide, but can never be assured that we’ve done so adequately. We are steering blind.”

5. This means that anxiety is a “basic feature” of all human existence.

All of this, de Botton admits, can “seem perilous and dispiriting,” and yet can also ennoble us when we consider that the private agonies we think belong to us alone are “fundamental features of the human condition.” We can dispense with the trivializing idea, propagated by advertisers and self-help gurus, that “intelligent choice might be possible and untragic… that perfection is within reach.” Yet de Botton himself presents Existentialist thought as a kind of self-help program, one that helps us with regret, since we realize that everyone bears the burdens of choice, mortality, and contingency, not just us.

However, in most so-called Existentialist philosophers, we also discover another pressing problem. Once we become untethered from pleasing fictions of pre-existing realities, “worlds-behind-the-scene,” as Nietzsche put it, or “being-behind-the-appearance,” in Sartre’s words, we no longer see a benevolent hand arranging things neatly, nor have absolute order, meaning, or purpose to appeal to.

We must confront that fact that we, and no one else, bear responsibility for our choices, even though we make them blindly. It’s not a comforting thought, hence the “crisis.” But many of us resolve these moments of shock with varying degrees of wisdom and experience. As we know from another great thinker, Eleanor Roosevelt, who was not an Existentialist philosopher, “Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being…. For the person who is unwilling to grow up… this is a frightening prospect.”"
existentialcrises  existentialism  philosophy  video  2016  kierkegaard  camus  nietzsche  heidegger  sartre  jean-paulsartre  albertcamus  humancondition  alaindebotton 
july 2016 by robertogreco
| When you’re in love with a beautiful house.
"We seem divided between an urge to override our senses and numb ourselves to our settings and a contradictory impulse to acknowledge the extent to which our identities are indelibly connected to, and will shift along with, our locations. An ugly room can coagulate any loose suspicions as to the incompleteness of life, while a sun-lit one set with honey-coloured limestone tiles can lend support to whatever is the most hopeful within us.

Belief in the significance of architecture is premised on the notion that we are, for better or worse, different people in different places – and on the conviction that it is architecture’s task to render vivid to us who we might ideally be."

– Alain de Botton in The Architecture of Happiness
alaindebotton  callieneylan  2012  houses  architecture  roots  emotions  meaning  place  location  homes  via:litherland 
august 2012 by robertogreco
BBC News - Five Minutes With: Alain de Botton
"I was a disturbed child, an adolescent, and I think that's where my interest in ideas comes from. I think that people become intellectual because of disturbance. My goal, raising my own children, is that they will never read a book or at least not be that dramatically inclined towards writing and reading. <br />
<br />
I think that reading and writing is a response to anxiety, often having a basis in childhood. I hope to at least quench some of that need in my children…<br />
<br />
The point of reading is to help you to live. It's not to pass an exam. It's not to sound clever. It's to get something out of it that you can use…<br />
<br />
We should be reading to help ourselves and help our societies. I don't believe in knowledge that is abstract and simply made to impress. I believe in knowledge that can be practical and that can bring us, in the broadest sense, happiness."
alaindebotton  philosophy  ideas  thinking  action  2010  parenting  paternalism  government  life  art  bbc  dialogue  debate  conversation  reading  writing  anxiety  tests  testing  adolescence  intellectualism  living  dialog 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Expanding « Playground
"Curiosity might be pictured as being made up of chains of small questions extending outwards, sometimes over huge distances, from a central hub composed of a few blunt, large questions. In childhood we ask, “why is there good and evil?”, “how does nature work?”, “why am I me?” If circumstances and temperament allow, we then build on these questions during adulthood, our curiosity encompassing more and more of the world until at some point we may reach that elusive stage where we are bored by nothing. The blunt large questions become connected to smaller, apparently esoteric ones. We end up wondering about flies on the sides of mountains or about a particular fresco on the wall of a sixteenth-century plate. We start to care about a foreign policy of a long-dead Iberian monarch or about the role of peat in the Thirty Years’ War." — Alain de Botton “The art of travel”, 2002
alaindebotton  travel  curiosity  questions  learning  boredom  adulthood  adults  childhood  children  education  unschooling  deschooling  existentialism  2002 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero - Proust, Busyness, Speed
"Concise accounts are not without their pleasures, but there is a special joy to mulling over a thought, occurrence, or idea for a long while, no matter how small. According to Alain de Botton in his How Proust Can Change Your Life:

"The lesson? To hang on to the performance. To read the newspaper as though it were only the tip of a tragic or comic novel, and to use thirty pages to describe falling to sleep when need be.

And if there is no time, at least to resist the approach [of many], …which Proust defined as “the self satisfaction felt by busy men, however idiotic their business, at not having time to do what you are doing.”"

Which makes me think. Busyness is not speed, but they are certainly brothers, because the faster we go, the busier we get. And according to Proust, these are not the defaults of the world or a quality indicative of it. The truth is that we opt into speed. And it’s worth spending time on that idea.

Maybe even for 40 pages."
speed  frankchimero  proust  alaindebotton  slow  slowness  time  being  hereandnow  busyness  marcelproust 
december 2010 by robertogreco
On Distraction by Alain de Botton, City Journal Spring 2010
"To sit still and think, without succumbing to an anxious reach for a machine, has become almost impossible. ... A student pursuing a degree in the humanities can expect to run through 1,000 books before graduation day. A wealthy family in England in 1250 might have owned three books: a Bible, a collection of prayers, and a life of the saints—this modestly sized library nevertheless costing as much as a cottage. The painstaking craftsmanship of a pre-Gutenberg Bible was evidence of a society that could not afford to make room for an unlimited range of works but also welcomed restriction as the basis for proper engagement with a set of ideas.
attention  concentration  culture  distraction  media  web  reading  reflection  alaindebotton  infooverload  productivity  philosophy  brain  overload  information  internet  journalism  books  creativity 
june 2010 by robertogreco
BBC News - Today - A world without planes
"Whatever the advantages of plentiful and convenient air travel, we may curse it for being too easy, too unnoticeable - and thereby for subverting our sincere attempts at changing ourselves through our journeys.

How we would admire planes if they were no longer there to frighten and bore us. We would stroke their steel dolphin-like bodies in museums and honour them as symbols of a daunting technical intelligence and a prodigious wealth.

We would admire them like small boys do, and adults no longer dare, for fear of seeming uncynical and unvigilant towards their crimes against our world."
alaindebotton  flight  airplanes  airlines  travel  2010  wonder  future  cynicism  convenience  planes  sustainability  transport  flying  aviation  iceland  futurism  air 
april 2010 by robertogreco
The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, Alain de botton, The School of Life, work photographs, Richard Baker photography
"The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work is an exploration of the joys and perils of the modern workplace, beautifully evoking what other people get up to all day – and night – to make the frenzied contemporary world function. With a philosophical eye and his characteristic combination of wit and wisdom, Alain leads us on a journey around a deliberately eclectic range of occupations, from rocket science to biscuit manufacture, accountancy to art – in search of what make jobs either fulfilling or soul-destroying.
work  life  well-being  philosophy  books  ideas  alaindebotton  wisdom  labor  careers 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Alain de Botton: A kinder, gentler philosophy of success | Video on TED.com
"Alain de Botton examines our ideas of success and failure -- and questions the assumptions underlying these two judgments. Is success always earned? Is failure? He makes an eloquent, witty case to move beyond snobbery to find true pleasure in our work."
alaindebotton  success  failure  self-esteem  society  inequality  equality  wealth  meritocracy  careers  happiness  anxiety  philosophy  life  work  culture  motivation  sociology  responsibility  suicide  well-being  judgement  ridicule  tragedy  art  coincidences  sympathy  human  religion  nature  balance  wisdom  psychology  ideas  rewards  instrinsicmotivation  extrinsicmotivation  envy  individualism  luck  self-worship  humans  work-lifebalance  realism 
july 2009 by robertogreco
TMBLG
"Being truly wealthy, he suggested, does not require having many things; rather, it requires having what one longs for. Wealth is not an absolute. It is relative to desire. Every time we yearn for something we cannot afford, we grow poorer, whatever our resources. And every time we feel satisfied with what we have, we can be counted as rich, however little we may actually possess.
rousseau  alaindebotton  wealth  poverty  psychology  consumption  desire  perspective  society  capitalism  simplicity  slow  postmaterialism  postconsumerism 
may 2009 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:





to read