‘an almost continuous condition of crisis’

by Arran James

I have always disliked Alain de Botton. But this witty lecture on pessimism from 2009 shows why pessimism is not necessarily identical to despair. Of particular pleasure is the section on how depressing self-help books are and the bourgeois myth of universal happiness. This is not the strong pessimism that this blog aligns to catastrophia but it’s weak pessimism, with all its consolation, is a necessary part of that stronger pessimism. It describes part of how it is that we manage to achieve everyday life. Rather than cosmic pessimism this is a kind of situated pessimism.