Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Nature, and Politics

Video: Why Our Partners Drive Us Mad

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In this short animated video created by Kathryn Steinbacher, the philosopher Alain de Botton explores the central foible of the human heart:

We believe we are seeking happiness in love, but what we are really after is familiarity. We are looking to re-create, within our adult relationships, the very feelings we knew so well in childhood and which were rarely limited to just tenderness and care. The love most of us will have tasted early on came entwined with other, more destructive dynamics: feelings of wanting to help an adult who was out of control, of being deprived of a parent’s warmth or scared of his or her anger, or of not feeling secure enough to communicate our trickier wishes.

How logical, then, that we should as adults find ourselves rejecting certain candidates not because they are wrong but because they are a little too right — in the sense of seeming somehow excessively balanced, mature, understanding, and reliable — given that, in our hearts, such rightness feels foreign and unearnt. We chase after more exciting others, not in the belief that life with them will be more harmonious, but out of an unconscious sense that it will be reassuringly familiar in its patterns of frustration.

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Email Subscribers may click on the title of this post to watch the video.

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One comment on “Video: Why Our Partners Drive Us Mad

  1. Patricia A. Nugent
    April 2, 2017

    Trying to narrow down my list of friends to send this to….HA!

    Liked by 1 person

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