Friday, February 15, 2013

A Philosopher's Quest for the Perfect Home

Open Culture summarizes philosopher Alain de Bottom's thoughts about architecture and neighborhood building:

In the first episode of The Perfect Home, embedded above, philosophical journalist and broadcaster Alain de Botton contends that we don’t live in the modern world. Rather, we do live in the modern world in that we exist in it, but we don’t live in the modern world in that few of us choose to make our homes there. As de Botton sees it, the residents of the developed world have, despite keeping up with the latest cars, clothes, and gadgetry, chosen to hole up in shells of aesthetic nostalgia: our mock Tudors, our restored cottages, our Greek Revivals. Having written books and presented television shows on philosophical subjects — you may remember Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness — he even brings in Nietzsche to diagnose this architectural disorder as an abject denial of reality. According to old Friedrich, he who builds himself into a fake reality ultimately pays a much greater price than what enduring real reality would have cost. With that ominous bit of wisdom in mind, de Botton travels the world in search of buildings designed with modern sensibilities and modern technology that nevertheless make us happy without enabling self-delusion.

Steve Clowney

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