THE CONSOLATIONS OF PHILOSOPHY FOR THE FINANCIAL CRISIS. Alain de Botton, who wrote THE CONSOLATIONS OF PHILOSOPHY, had an article in the Friday Financial Times on the financial crisis which says that “what we have to fear above all is hope….We are not only unhappy but – believing calm and happiness to be the norm – unhappy that we are unhappy.” He argues that humans for most of history drew comfort from anticipating the worst. For the past two hundred years, the belief in progress in the western world has led to optimism. De Botton cites the Stoic philosopher Seneca, who was Nero’s tutor and therefore aware of the horrors that life could bring, for warning that disasters will always be part of our lives. De Botton concludes that we make ourselves more unhappy than we need be by being overoptimistic: “In denying the natural place reserved for longing and disaster in the human lot, the bourgeois ideology denies us the possibility of collective consolation for our fractious marriages, unexploited ambitions and exploded portfolios, and condemns us instead to solitary feelings of shame and persecution for having stubbornly failed to make more of ourselves.

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