On Love

Book: On Love: A Novel by Alain de Botton 

Synopsis: The best-selling author of How Proust Can Change Your Life and The Art of Travel revisits his utterly charming debut novel, On Love. The narrator is smitten by Chloe on a Paris–London flight, and by the time they’ve reached the luggage carousel he knows he is in love. He loves her chestnut hair, watery green eyes, the gap that makes her teeth Kantian and not Platonic, and her views on Heidegger’s Being and Time — but he hates her taste in shoes. Plotting the course of their affair from the initial delirium of infatuation to the depths of suicidal despair, through a fit of anhedonia — defined in medical texts as a disease resulting from the terror brought on by the threat of utter happiness — and finally through the terrorist tactics employed when the beloved begins, inexplicably, to drift away, On Love is filled with profound observations and useful diagrams, examining for all of us the pain and exhilaration of love. [via Amazon]

Book Notes: 

I don't really remember how I came across this book. I think it was when I was wandering around Fully Booked, then I kinda stumbled upon this gem. Sometimes when my mind is so cluttered and lost, I kinda like being around books. There's something about the smell of new books, and this air of intrigue and mystery of all these stories waiting to be read seem to help me reconnect and refocus. I feel like browsing through books with no particular thought in mind allows the universe to send messages, and this book certainly felt like one.

Oh to have a happy crush can turn you into two types: a giddy girl or a gloomy girl. Why even bother calling them happy crushes when more often than not, it turns out to be the latter. But what happens when you're the OR. Limbo has got to be the most rotten place to be stuck in, and thats where I felt I was rotting. He likes me, I like him, but ....

But what? I don't really know. But there was a connection, and we have/had/have/had (I don't really know if its a past, present thing) chemistry, sparks, serendipity... yup all those things that scream out happily ever after. It was like I manifested my dream person. But NOTHING.

It was an odd scenario. Grey areas all over again. NO! For once, I really just want things to be simple, clear and consistent- not this limbo all over again.

But why does it seem like I'm repeating it all over again. I felt like I came so close to something I thought I wanted, then some how I managed to fall off the wagon.

So anyway, I came across this book, and it was a break from the usual. It was a realistic telling of the start and end of love. This wasn't sugar coated, wrapped in a Disney Princess fairy tale. It was the good, the bad and the ugly because that's what love really is. It's kind of messy, kind of ugly, kind of brilliant; its all sorts of awesome and painful all at the same time.

Once the twinkle of the sparklers fade out, what are you left with? Can you really love that one you are with? Or we're you too busy getting blinded by the pretty lights?

Two things I picked up from this book: Mature Love and Perspective.

Here I am repeating that same old sad chick flick because I decided to react exactly the same way. The way I handled this potential was emotionally immature. To be honest, I was excited, and smitten and overwhelmed with the idea that this could be it --that some where along, I lost my direction and focus. I guess I lost a little bit of the me that I was slowly becoming.

It's so easy to dwell and wonder and pine over the what ifs. But like anything else, its all a matter of how you look at a situation. Of course I sound all strong and mighty now because I sulked and moped around for the past three weeks already. Perspective is really so powerful, and it greatly affects your frame of mind. It's really your choice; its always your choice. Do you see the duck or do you see the rabbit?

I don't really know whats going on with my happy crush. But I do know one thing, I'm still that hopeful romantic, and I know that promise will happen. Maybe, just maybe, this may be our refresh button. Let's just see what'll happen.

BTW Read this book.

Book Quotes:

"I recognized in her the woman I had clumsily been seeking all my life, a creature whose smile and whose eyes, whose sense of humor and whose taste in books, whose anxieties and whose intelligence miraculously matched those of my ideal."

"If the chances behind an event are enormously remote, yet it occurs nevertheless, may one not be forgiven for invoking a fatalistic explanation?"

"My mistake was to confuse a destiny to love with a destiny to love a particular person."

"What is so frightening is the extent to which we may idealize others when we have such trouble tolerating ourselves."

"The telephone becomes an instrument of torture in the demonic hands of a beloved who doesn't call."

"Desire has turned me into a relentless hunter for clues, a romantic paranoiac, reading meaning into everything."

"Silence was damning. A silence with an unattractive person implies they are the boring one. A silence with an attractive one immediately renders it certain you are the tedious party."

"Not to find the right words is paradoxically often the best proof that the right words are meant."

"We charm by coincidence rather than design."

"Unrequited love may be painful but it is safely painful because it does not involve inflicting damage on anyone but oneself, a private pain that is as bittersweet as it is self-induced."

"In the mature account of love, we should never fall at first glance. In the mature account of love, it is only when we truly know our partner that love deserves the chance to grow. Yet in the perverse reality of love (love that is born precisely before we know), increased knowledge may be as much as a hurdle as an inducement-for it may bring Utopia into dangerous conflict with reality."

"Was it not my duty to be the author of my own feelings?"

"Love reveals its insanity by its refusal to acknowledge the inherent normality of the loved one."

"Delusions are not harmful in themselves; they only hurt when one is alone in believing in them, when one cannot create an environment in which they can be sustained."

"It takes the intimacy of a lover to point out facets of character that others simply don't bother with."

"The problem with needing others to legitimize our existence is that we are very much at their mercy to have a correct identity ascribed to us."

"The possibility of an alternative love story is a reminder that the life we are leading is only one of a myriad of possible lives and it is the impossibility of leading them all that plunges us into sadness."

"One of love's greatest drawbacks is that, for a while at least, it is in danger of making us seriously happy."

"The present was unpleasant because of my reluctance to accept that I was finally going to live out a possibility that had all year resided in the comforting folds of the future."

"The inability to love in the present lies in the fear of leaving the sheltered position of anticipation or memory and so of admitting that this is the only life that one is every likely to live."

"It is easiest to accept happiness when it is brought about through things that one can control, that one has achieved after much effort and reason... It was simply the outcome of having, by a miracle of divine intervention, found a person whose company was more valuable to me than anyone else in the world. Such happiness was dangerous because it was so lacking in self-sufficient permanence."

"The dream is that one has not been loved for criteria at all, but rather for who one is, an ontological status beyond properties or attributes."

"The philosophy of mature love is marked by an active awareness of the good and bad within each person, it is full of temperance, it resists idealization, it is free of jealousy, masochism or obsession, it is a form of friendship with a sexual dimension, it is pleasant, peaceful and reciprocated."

"Immature love is a story of chaotic lurching between idealization and disappointment, an unstable state where feelings of ecstasy and beatitude combine with impressions of drowning and fatal nausea where the sense that one has finally found the answer comes together with the feeling that one has never been so lost."

Rating: 5/5

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