currently reading: status anxiety, alain de botton

I’ve been reading Status Anxiety and it’s helping me understand my feelings towards some people and especially my perception of myself. It explores mankind’s history, from the age of peasants and their unfortunate lot in life, and compares it to how much miserable we are compared to them, despite the fact that we are materially richer and live longer. It discussed the different values that have changed through time, and the kind of achievements that you are judged for nowadays. 

Funnily enough, tonight I experienced one of those topics to be very true. And for some reason, it’s making me less self-conscious over my own lack of talent or sense of worth because now I myself know that there are some things like luck and circumstance that affects a person’s “success.” They’re not always deserving of it, and it doesn’t make me a “lesser” person. 

“We will gradually become indifferent to what goes on in the minds of other people when we acquire an adequate knowledge of the superficial and futile nature of their thoughts, of the narrowness of their views, of the paltriness of their sentiments, of the perversity of their opinions, and of the number of their errors … We shall then see that whoever attaches a lot of value to the opinions of others pays them too much honour,” argued Arthur Schopenhauer, a leading model of philosophical misanthropy.

My perception of people have been constantly changing the past year, and for very valid reasons. The longer time passes, the more new people I meet and befriend, the harsher my comparisons become, and I become more easily convinced at my own standard of who good people are. 

Slowly I’m trying to learn how to detach myself from wrong standards of “success” or amazingness by the general public, a.k.a majority. In a sense, impressive people seem less brilliant while I’m putting more importance on the weight of a person’s strength or goodness of character.

“Once we have resolved only to see those who will treat us morally and virtuously, reasonably and truthfully, without treating conventions, vanities and ceremonials as anything other than props of polite society; when we have taken this resolve (and we have to do so or we will end up foolish, weak or villainous), the result is that we will have to live more or less on our own.”

Now: I learn to focus on things that I enjoy doing, encourage myself, set goals, encourage myself.