I came across this 22-minute video Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person some months ago. Alain de Botton, Creator of The School of Life, spoke at a Google event in London in 2017.
It makes a lot of sense. Happy Valentine’s Day!
“The reason is that all of us will not manage to find the right person, but we will probably all of us manage to find a good-enough person. And that’s success, as you will come to see.” Wow, is this guy romantic!
The reason why this will happen is that “we are basically psychologically quite strange.” In other words: “I know that you’re not easy to live with. And the reason is that you’re Homo sapiens and, therefore, you are not easy to live with. No one is.”
Really? “Our friends don’t want to tell us. Why would they bother? They just want a pleasant evening out… Our parents don’t tell us very much. Why would they? They love us too much. They know…
“And our ex-lovers, a vital source of knowledge. They know. Absolutely they know.” Well, THAT’S undoubtedly true, at least in my case.
“Almost all of us are addicts, not injecting heroin as such… I like to define addiction… Addiction is basically any pattern of behavior whereby you cannot stand to be with yourself and sort of the more uncomfortable thoughts and, more importantly, emotions that come from being on your own.
“And so, therefore, you can be addicted to almost anything so long as it keeps you away from yourself, as long as it keeps you away from tricky self-knowledge… And this is a disaster for your capacity to have a relationship with another person because until you know yourself, you can’t properly relate to another person.”
I don’t want to give away the payoff of Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person, but it involves redefining love, or at least the idealization thereof, and sulking and hope and Kierkegaard. Here’s the transcript.