3.16.2021 – Our capacity

Our capacity
derive pleasure from aesthetic
or material goods

Adapted from the book, A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary (2009, Vintage Books) by Alain de Botton, and the passage:

Yet it was more than a little disingenuous for the airline to deny all knowledge of, and responsibility for, the metaphysical well-being of its customers. Like its many competitors, British Airways, with its fifty-five Boeing 747s and its thirty-seven Airbus A320s, existed in large part to encourage and enable people to go and sit in deckchairs and take up (and usually fail at) the momentous challenge of being content for a few days. The tense atmosphere now prevailing within David’s family was a reminder of the rigid, unforgiving logic to which human moods are subject, and which we ignore at our peril when we see a picture of a beautiful house in a foreign country and imagine that happiness must inevitably accompany such magnificence. Our capacity to derive pleasure from aesthetic or material goods seems critically dependent on our first satisfying a more important range of emotional and psychological needs, among them those for understanding, compassion and respect. We cannot enjoy palm trees and azure pools if a relationship to which we are committed has abruptly revealed itself to be suffused with incomprehension and resentment.

Part of the series of Haiku inspired by from A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary (2009, Vintage Books) by Alain de Botton. I discovered this book entirely by accident. When searching for books online, I will use the term ‘collections’ and see what turns up. I figure that someone who has taken the time to gather together the etexts of any one author to create a collected works folder is enough for me to see what this author might be all about.

In this case I came across the writing of Alain de Botton. I enjoyed his use of language very much. Much of the words he strings together lend themselves to what I do.

As for his book, I recommend it very much though written in 2009, it misses the added layer of travel under covid but still the picture of the modern airport is worth the read.

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