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mercredi 26 août 2009

Alain de Boton A philosopher of Everyday Life

Philosopher of Everyday Life

Alain de Boton is being paid 30 000 pounds to stay at the London Healthrow terminal 5 to observe and write about the life among the workers at the British Airport Authority/Heathrow Terminal.

His last book on WORK made the work of many people see the light of awareness of the population, he has the capacity of making the ordinary look interesting yet maintaining their ordinariness. Pylon watchers, fish sellers of Maldives, uninteresting accountants with wives and mortgages made to look uninteresting despite their long hours and Georgio Armani suits, aviators scrupulously unraveled… a slew of people we come across, don’t pay any attention to in complete ignorance of what exactly they do, while we are busy telling others how important our lives and work are.

This swiss born Englishman, balding prematurely but has not reached his middle years yet has a prodigious literary output. The anthropologists starting with Malinowski did participant observation, where they went and stayed with obscured tribes in Melanesia,learned their languages and customs and wrote toms about it, which are of interest only those in the field. With immediate connections and short attention span, seven days of participant observation suits Alain de Boton to a tee, he who has romanced by the baggage belt at an airport, thought about Aristotle while explaining the effect of Proust in our lives. Readers Digest with a touch of Class but much more erudite! He had talked about the Art of Travel, Philosophy, Work and Leisure, Love, Architecture all in separate volumes with an intricacy of intellect that is attractive to the curious international souls of our days.. He is a philosopher of everyday life who is good with words in English language. He like Malinowski stands out, not many of us are willing out to camp out at airports for seven days ( we complain to the airline staff when the flight is delayed a few minutes or we want to catch the next possible connection, even at airports which are engaging as Changi!) He finds the exotique in the common, while finding the familiar in an alien light. He is to spend time at an airport, the busiest international airport in the world, huge, confusing, frustrating, the Airport at London, England. ( to comfort my Yanqui friends I would add, the busiest airport in the world is in Atlanta, USA!)

Good Luck and will be looking forward to read something exciting, exotique and soul searching about a place where I find myself at least one a week.. an Airport…

Airports I rather be flying into:

Charles de Gaulle, Paris, France, CDG

Miami International MIA USA

Jose Marti International HAV in Havana, Cuba