The Architecture of Happiness Quotes

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The Architecture of Happiness The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton
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The Architecture of Happiness Quotes Showing 1-30 of 56
“It is in books, poems, paintings which often give us the confidence to take seriously feelings in ourselves that we might otherwise never have thought to acknowledge.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“What we seek, at the deepest level, is inwardly to resemble, rather than physically to possess, the objects and places that touch us through their beauty.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“It is in dialogue with pain that many beautiful things acquire their value. Acquaintance with grief turns out to be one of the more unusual prerequisites of architectural appreciation. We might, quite aside from all other requirements, need to be a little sad before buildings can properly touch us.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“Bad architecture is in the end as much a failure of psychology as of design. It is an example expressed through materials of the same tendencies which in other domains will lead us to marry the wrong people, choose inappropriate jobs and book unsuccessful holidays: the tendency not to understand who we are and what will satisfy us.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“It is perhaps when our lives are at their most problematic that we are likely to be most receptive to beautiful things.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“We need a home in the psychological sense as much as we need one in the physical: to compensate for a vulnerability. We need a refuge to shore up our states of mind, because so much of the world is opposed to our allegiances. We need our rooms to align us to desirable versions of ourselves and to keep alive the important, evanescent sides of us.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“While a common reaction to seeing a thing of beauty is to want to buy it, our real desire may be not so much to own what we find beautiful as to lay permanent claim to the inner qualities it embodies.

Owning such an object may help us realise our ambition of absorbing the virtues to which it alludes, but we ought not to presume that those virtues will automatically or effortlessly begin to rub off on us through tenure. Endeavouring to purchase something we think beautiful may in fact be the most unimaginative way of dealing with the longing it excites in us, just as trying to sleep with someone may be the bluntest response to a feeling of love.

What we seek, at the deepest level, is inwardly to resemble, rather than physically possess, the objects and places that touch us through their beauty.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“Our homes do not have to offer us permanent occupancy or store our clothes to merit the name. To speak of home in relation to a building is simply to recognise its harmony with our own prized internal song. Home can be an airport or a library, a garden or a motorway diner.”
Alain De Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“We depend on our surroundings obliquely to embody the moods and ideas we respect and then to remind us of them. We look to our buildings to hold us, like a kind of psychological mould, to a helpful vision of ourselves. We arrange around us material forms which communicate to us what we need — but are at constant risk of forgetting what we need — within. We turn to wallpaper, benches, paintings and streets to staunch the disappearance of our true selves.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“Endeavoring to purchase something we think beautiful may in fact be the most unimaginative way of dealing with the longing it excites in us, just as trying to sleep with someone may be the bluntest response to a feeling of love.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“what we call a home is merely any place that succeeds in making more consistenly available to us the important truths which the wider world ignores, or which our distracted and irresolute selves have trouble holding onto." (p123) Architecture of Happiness”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
tags: home
“Beauty is a promise of happiness.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“It is in dialogue with pain that many beautiful things acquire their value.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“Our jobs make relentless calls on a narrow band of our faculties, reducing our chances of achieving rounded personalities and leaving us to suspect (often in the gathering darkness of a Sunday evening) that much of who we are, or could be, has gone unexplored.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“Our sadness won’t be of the searing kind but more like a blend of joy and melancholy: joy at the perfection we see before us, melancholy at an awareness of how seldom we are sufficiently blessed to encounter anything of its kind. The flawless object throws into perspective the mediocrity that surrounds it. We are reminded of the way we would wish things always to be and of how incomplete our lives remain.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“The architects who benefit us most maybe those generous enough to lay aside their claims to genius in order to devote themselves to assembling graceful but predominantly unoriginal boxes. Architecture should have the confidence and the kindness to be a little boring.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“Beauty, then, is a fragment of the divine, and the sight of it saddens us by evoking our sense of loss and our yearning for the life denied us.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“Taking architecture seriously therefore makes some singular strenuous demands upon us. It requires that we open ourselves to the idea that we are affected by our surroundings even when they are made of vinyl and would be expensive and time-consuming to ameliorate. It means conceding that we are inconveniently vulnerable to the color of our wallpaper and that our sense of purpose may be derailed by an unfortunate bedspread. At the same time, it means acknowledging that buildings are able to solve no more than a fraction of our dissatisfactions or prevent evil from unfolding under their watch.

Architecture, even at its most accomplished, will only ever constitute a small, and imperfect (expensive, prone to destruction, and morally unreliable), protest against the state of things. More awkwardly still, architecture asks us to imagine that happiness might often have an unostentatious, unheroic character to it, that it might be found in a run of old floorboards or in a wash of morning light over a plaster wall—in undramatic, frangible scenes of beauty that move us because we are aware of the darker backdrop against which they are set.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“...the truth of the maxim that beauty lies between the extremities of order and complexity.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“For us to deem a work of architecture elegant, it is hence not enough that it look simple: we must feel that the simplicity it displays has been hard won, that it flows from the resolution of demanding technical or natural predicament. Thus we call the Shaker staircase in Pleasant Hill elegant because we know--without ever having constructed one ourselves--that a staircase is a site complexity, and that combinations of treads, risers and banisters rarely approach the sober intelligibility of the Sharkers' work. We deem a modern Swiss house elegant because we not how seamlessly its windows have been joined to their concrete walls, and how neatly the usual clutter of construction has been resolved away. We admire starkly simple works that we intuit would, without immense effort, have appeared very complicated. (p 209)”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“[Donald] Keene observed [in a book entitled The Pleasures of Japanese Literature, 1988] that the Japanese sense of beauty has long sharply differed from its Western counterpart: it has been dominated by a love of irregularity rather than symmetry, the impermanent rather than the eternal and the simple rather than the ornate. The reason owes nothing to climate or genetics, added Keene, but is the result of the actions of writers, painters and theorists, who had actively shaped the sense of beauty of their nation.

Contrary to the Romantic belief that we each settle naturally on a fitting idea of beauty, it seems that our visual and emotional faculties in fact need constant external guidance to help them decide what they should take note of and appreciate. 'Culture' is the word we have assigned to the force that assists us in identifying which of our many sensations we should focus on and apportion value to.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“In literature, too, we admire prose in which a small and astutely arranged set of words has been constructed to carry a large consignment of ideas. 'We all have strength enough to bear the misfortunes of others,' writes La Rochefoucauld in an aphorism which transports us with an energy and exactitude comparable to that of Maillard bridge. The Swiss engineer reduces the number of supports just as the French writer compacts into a single line what lesser minds might have taken pages to express. We delight in complexity to which genius has lent an appearance of simplicity. (p 207)”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“We owe it to the fields that our houses will not be the inferiors of the virgin land they have replaced. We owe it to the worms and the trees that the building we cover them with will stand as promises of the highest and most intelligent kinds of happiness.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“A feeling of beauty is a sign that we have come upon a material articulation of certain of our ideas of a good life.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“Insofar as we appreciate order, it is when we perceive it as being accompanied by complexity, when we feel that a variety of elements has been brought to order--that windows, doors and other details have been knitted into a scheme that manages to be at once regular and intricate. (p184)”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“We can conclude from this that we are drawn to call something beautiful whenever we detect that it contains in a concentrated form those qualities in which we personally, or our societies more generally, are deficient. We respect a style which can move us away from what we fear and towards what we crave: a style which carries the correct dosage of our missing virtues.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“Beneath the pleasure generated by the juxtaposition of order and complexity, we can identify the subsidiary architectural virtue of balance. Beauty is a likely outcome whenever architects skilfully mediate between any number of oppositions, including the old and the new, the natural and the man-made, the luxurious and the modest, and the masculine and the feminine.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“It follows that the balance we approve of in architecture, and which we anoint with the word 'beautiful', alludes to a state that, on a psychological level, we can describe as mental health or happiness. Like buildings, we, too, contain opposites which can be more or less successfully handled.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“Artistic talent is like a brilliant firework which streaks across a pitch-black night, inspiring awe among onlookers but extinguishing itself in seconds, leaving behind only darkness and longing.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
“Our innate imbalances are further aggravated by practical demands. Our jobs make relentless calls on a narrow band of our faculties, reducing our chances of achieving rounded personalities and leaving us to suspect (often in the gathering darkness of a Sunday evening) that much of who we are, or could be, has gone unexplored. Society ends up containing a range of unbalanced groups, each hungering to sate its particular psychological deficiency, forming the backdrop against which our frequently heated conflicts about what is beautiful plays themselves out.”
Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness

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