Alain De Botton Equality And Envy Analysis

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In his article, “Equality, Expectation, and Envy,” Alain de Botton rests on the idea that due to status envy, people cannot be truly happy with their current standings because they are always putting themselves into comparisons with those who surround them. Throughout time, people seem to feel as though “neither who they are nor what they have is quite enough” (25), and due to these situations, people are always in search of becoming better, or succeeding above those whom they consider themselves in relation to. Botton bases his arguments through means of philosophy, historical documents, psychological evidence, various writers, etc., all through recurring times in the past where similar instances have occurred. Botton makes the case that…show more content…
Whereas wealth is not a definite measure, it is based on its relativity to that of what the people desire. Every time that people find something that is not able to be gained, they only find themselves feeling poorer in the resources that they already have. Rousseau points out, in Botton’s example, that rather than surrounding themselves with the tortures of that in which they want, they best surround ourselves in those that they know that they can relate to and not be intimidated by. Botton quotes, “Rather than struggling to become bigger fish, we might concentrate our energies on finding smaller ponds or smaller species to swim with, so our own size will trouble us less,” (43). The article also speaks from part of William James’s relations of self esteem dependent on expectations by explaining that people might be happier from expecting less of that they may receive, and how they might be more miserable with the teaching of selfish desire. “The price we have paid for expecting to be so much more than our ancestors is a perpetual anxiety that we are far from being all we might be,”
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