My admiration to those putting together this event with two famous names to facilitate it. Tickets go from £25 to £35 if not already sold out: Alain De Botton – Derren Brown on magic and happiness [London 4 December 2013].
Now, please don’t read on if you hope for more “sales pitch” because what follows is a very critical view of similar talks (not so much this one).
Are you sure you want to read on?
You may find this “infuriating” if you don’t like other people having opinions of their own.
OK, you’ve been warned. You took the red M&M…
1st critique: replacing religion and cults. For a first world society _moving away from blind cult following towards ownership of actions and beliefs_ we sure like to hang-on to the “Life truths” of idols or self-made thinkers. Particularly on “leading happy and fulfilling lives”. We do need guides but, are these celebrities enriching our independence or just taking the place of existing cults in favour of their own wallets?
2nd critique: generalisations that block life experiences. Most speakers generalise and devalue the infinite possibilities of human experience by using generic wording. Often on matters that individuals are seeking advice on, and at times at which an opinion from an authority figure could completely shape their outlook on life.
Speakers over-simplify happiness _naturaly found through personal journeys_ because the simpler and “positiver” the message the more attention they’ll get. Some self-help speakers constrain the journey even more by referring listeners to their own books instead of encouraging self-reflection and individual research.
3rd critique: hundreds treated as one, “simply sharing my opinion” and misleading titles. Gullible, “searching” people like yours-truly, need to be even more careful than most about the 1st and 2nd critiques above. There’s nothing worse than to be searching for meaning while having a predisposition to believe everything we’re told, or we initially think we’re told, word for word. Untangling this brings an amount of pain and effort that delays progress. The title, the wording, the artifacts in these self-help talks approach the audience as a “one”. Sadly, very few speakers are skilled enough to respect the audience’s granularity.
It is now nearly impossible to meet humble and moderate approaches to philosophy and opinion, because there’s a huge market for it and authors need to sell theirs. I’m glad that my current economy (of thought) keeps my focus away from such “services” and more reliant on my life’s random occurrences (free so far) and established beliefs (from which I can choose, also for free).
That’s the end of that M&M.