Architecture Of Happiness Quotes

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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)
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)
In the architecture of their life some may display Potemkin happiness in view of hiding the dark features of their fair weather relationship, preferring to set up a window dressing of fake satisfaction rather than being rejected as emotional outcasts. ("Absence of beauty was like hell")
Erik Pevernagie
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)
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)
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)
It is in dialogue with pain that many beautiful things acquire their value.
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)
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)
Beauty is a promise of happiness.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
...the truth of the maxim that beauty lies between the extremities of order and complexity.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
What are the dead, anyway, but waves and energy? Light shining from a dead star? That, by the way, is a phrase of Julian's. I remember it from a lecture of his on the Iliad, when Patroklos appears to Achilles in a dream. There is a very moving passage where Achilles overjoyed at the sight of the apparition – tries to throw his arms around the ghost of his old friend, and it vanishes. The dead appear to us in dreams, said Julian, because that's the only way they can make us see them; what we see is only a projection, beamed from a great distance, light shining at us from a dead star… Which reminds me, by the way, of a dream I had a couple of weeks ago. I found myself in a strange deserted city – an old city, like London – underpopulated by war or disease. It was night; the streets were dark, bombed-out, abandoned. For a long time, I wandered aimlessly – past ruined parks, blasted statuary, vacant lots overgrown with weeds and collapsed apartment houses with rusted girders poking out of their sides like ribs. But here and there, interspersed among the desolate shells of the heavy old public buildings, I began to see new buildings, too, which were connected by futuristic walkways lit from beneath. Long, cool perspectives of modern architecture, rising phosphorescent and eerie from the rubble. I went inside one of these new buildings. It was like a laboratory, maybe, or a museum. My footsteps echoed on the tile floors.There was a cluster of men, all smoking pipes, gathered around an exhibit in a glass case that gleamed in the dim light and lit their faces ghoulishly from below. I drew nearer. In the case was a machine revolving slowly on a turntable, a machine with metal parts that slid in and out and collapsed in upon themselves to form new images. An Inca temple… click click click… the Pyramids… the Parthenon. History passing beneath my very eyes, changing every moment. 'I thought I'd find you here,' said a voice at my elbow. It was Henry. His gaze was steady and impassive in the dim light. Above his ear, beneath the wire stem of his spectacles, I could just make out the powder burn and the dark hole in his right temple. I was glad to see him, though not exactly surprised. 'You know,' I said to him, 'everybody is saying that you're dead.' He stared down at the machine. The Colosseum… click click click… the Pantheon. 'I'm not dead,' he said. 'I'm only having a bit of trouble with my passport.' 'What?' He cleared his throat. 'My movements are restricted,' he said. 'I no longer have the ability to travel as freely as I would like.' Hagia Sophia. St. Mark's, in Venice. 'What is this place?' I asked him. 'That information is classified, I'm afraid.' 1 looked around curiously. It seemed that I was the only visitor. 'Is it open to the public?' I said. 'Not generally, no.' I looked at him. There was so much I wanted to ask him, so much I wanted to say; but somehow I knew there wasn't time and even if there was, that it was all, somehow, beside the point. 'Are you happy here?' I said at last. He considered this for a moment. 'Not particularly,' he said. 'But you're not very happy where you are, either.' St. Basil's, in Moscow. Chartres. Salisbury and Amiens. He glanced at his watch. 'I hope you'll excuse me,' he said, 'but I'm late for an appointment.' He turned from me and walked away. I watched his back receding down the long, gleaming hall.
Donna Tartt (The Secret History)
A nudge, as we will use the term, is any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives.
Richard H. Thaler (Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and 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)
When most people looked at Josie Tyrell, they only saw a certain collection of bones, a selection of forms filling space. But Michael saw past the mouth and the eyes, the architecture of the body, her fleshly masquerade. Other boys were happy enough to enjoy the show, they just wanted to be entertained in the body's shadow theater. But Michael had to come backstage. He went down into the mines, into the dark, and brought up the gold, your new self, a better self. But what good was it if he was just going to leave her behind?
Janet Fitch (Paint it Black)
All of Nature follows perfectly geometric laws. The Ancient Egyptian, Greek, Peruvian, Mayan, and Chinese cultures were well aware of this, as Phi—known as the Golden Ratio or Golden Mean—was used in the constructions of their sculptures and architecture.
Joseph P. Kauffman (The Answer Is YOU: A Guide to Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Freedom)
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)
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)
While mourning the number of missed opportunities, we have no reason to abandon a belief in the ever-present possibility of moulding circumstances for the better.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
Just as no building lacks an architecture, so no choice lacks a context.
Richard H. Thaler (Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness)
What we find beautiful and what we see as attractive are indicators of what we crave in order to become properly 'whole'.
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)
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)
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)
Beauty is the promise of happiness.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
...Because beauty is typically the result of a few qualities working in concert, it can take more to guarantee the appeal of a bridge or a house than strength alone. (p 205)
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
As we write, so we build: to keep a record of what matters to us.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
Our love of home is in turn an acknowledgement of the degree to which our identity is not self.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
The city is not merely a repository of pleasures. It is the stage on which we fight our battles, where we act out the drama of our own lives. It can enhance or corrode our ability to cope with everyday challenges. It can steal our autonomy or give us the freedom to thrive. It can offer a navigable environment, or it can create a series of impossible gauntlets that wear us down daily. The messages encoded in architecture and systems can foster a sense of mastery or helplessness.
Charles Montgomery (Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design)
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)
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)
Some bemoan the brutalism of socialist architecture, but was the blandness of capitalist architecture any better? One could drive for miles along a boulevard and see nothing but parking lots and the kudzu of strip malls catering to every need, from pet shops to water dispensaries to ethnic restaurants and every other imaginable category of mom-and-pop small business, each one an advertisement for the pursuit of happiness.
Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathizer)
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)
The ease with which we can connect the psychological world with the outer, visual and sensory one seeds our language with metaphors.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
The notion of buildings that speak helps us to place at the very centre of our architectural conundrums the question of the values we want to live by — rather than merely of how we want things to look.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
It has provided not only physical but also psychological sanctuary. It has been a guardian of identity. Over the years, its owners have returned from periods away and, on looking around them, remembered who they were.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
It is impossible to analyze "the meaning of life" in the abstract, or in general, or for some mythical and perfectly rational being. Only by knowing the kinds of beings that we actually are, with the complex mental and emotional architecture that we happen to possess, can anyone even begin to ask about what would count as a meaningful life.
Jonathan Haidt (The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom)
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)
We can be laughed into silence for attempting to speak in praise of phenomena which we lack the right words to describe. We may censor ourselves before others have the chance to do so. We may not even notice that we have extinguished our own curiosity, just as we may forget we had something to say until we find someone who is willing to hear it.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
We seem divided between an urge to override our senses and numb ourselves to our settings and a contradictory impulse to acknowledge the extent to which our identities are indelibly connected to, and will shift along with, our locations.
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)
We seem incapable of looking at buildings or pieces of furniture without tying them to the historical and personal circumstances of our viewing; as a result, architectural and decorative styles become, for us, emotional souvenirs of the moments and settings in which we came across them.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
The Italian landscape has always harmonized the vulgar and the Vitruvian: the contorni around the duomo, the portiere'S laundry across the padrone's portone, Supercortemaggiore against the Romanesque apse. Naked children have never played in our fountains, and I. M. Pei will never be happy on Route 66.
Robert Venturi (Learning from Las Vegas: The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form)
There is no necessary connection between the concepts of home and of prettiness; what we call a home is merely any place that succeeds in making more consistently available to us the important truths which the wider world ignores, or which our distracted and irresolute selves have trouble holding on to.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
إن ما نراه من فشل المعماريين في ابتكار بيئات محيطة ملائمة لنا يعكس عدم قدرتنا على العثور على السعادة في ميادين أخرى من ميادين حياتنا. فمنتهى الأمر هو أن العمارة الرديئة تعبير عن فشل نفسي بقدر ما هي تعبير عن فشل تصميمي. وهذا ليس أكثر من مثال معبِّر -من خلال المواد- عن النزوع نفسه الذي يقودنا، في ميادين أخرى، إلى الزواج من شخص غير صالح لنا، أو إلى اختيار عمل غير مناسب، أو حجز عطلة يتبين آخر الأمر أنها فاشلة: إنه نزوعنا إلى "عدم فهم" مَن نحن وما يحقق رضانا.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
She faced him, sitting up very straight in bed, the little wool shawl hunched about her shoulders. “Dirk, are you ever going back to architecture? The war is history, it’s now or never with you. Pretty soon it will be too late. Are you ever going back to architecture? To your profession? A clean amputation. “No, Mother.” She gave an actual gasp, as though icy water had been thrown full in her face. She looked suddenly old, tired. Her shoulders sagged. He stood in the doorway, braced for her reproaches. But when she spoke it was to reproach herself. “Then I’m a failure.” “Oh, what nonsense, Mother. I’m happy. You can’t live somebody else’s life. You used to tell me, when I was a kid I remember, that life wasn’t just an adventure, to be taken as it came, with the hope that something glorious was hidden just around the corner. You said you had lived that way and it hadn’t worked. You said ——” She interrupted him with a little cry. “I know I did. I know I did.” Suddenly she raised a warning finger. Her eyes were luminous, prophetic. “Dirk, you can’t desert her like that!” “Desert who?” He was startled. “Beauty! Self-expression. Whatever you want to call it. You wait! She’ll turn on you some day. Some day you’ll want her, and she won’t be there.
Edna Ferber (So Big)
He who has not lived in the eighteenth century before the Revolution does not know the sweetness of life and can not imagine that there can be happiness in life. This is the century that has shaped all the conquering arms against this elusive adversary called boredom. Love, Poetry, Music, Theatre, Painting, Architecture, Court, Salons, Parks and Gardens, Gastronomy, Letters, Arts, Science, all contributed to the satisfaction of physical appetites, intellectual and even moral refinement of all pleasures, all the elegance and all the pleasures. The existence was so well filled that if the seventeenth century was the Great Age of glories, the eighteenth was that of indigestion.
Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord
To speak of home in relation to a building is simply to recognise its harmony with our own prized internal song.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
We need panels of gold and lapis, windows of coloured glass and gardens of immaculately raked gravel in order to stay true to the sincerest parts of ourselves.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
The fear of forgetting anything precious can trigger in us the wish to raise a structure, like a paperweight to hold down our memories.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
We want our buildings to speak to us of whatever we find important and need to be reminded of.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
Architecture excites our respect to the extent that it surpasses us.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
Our designs go wrong because our feelings of contentment are woven from fine and unexpected filaments.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
A thought provoking number of the world's most intelligent people have disdained any interest in decoration and design, equating contentment with discarnate and invisible matters instead.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
Analogising architecture with ethics helps us to discern that there is unlikely ever to be a single source of beauty in a building, just as no one quality can ever underpin excellence in a person.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life, and a significant element of happiness. If we have habits that work for us, we’re much more likely to be happy, healthy, productive, and creative.
Gretchen Rubin (The Best of the Happiness Project Blog: Ten Years of Happiness, Good Habits, and More)
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.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
The fear of forgetting anything precious can trigger in us the wish to raise a structure, like a paperweight to hold down our memories. We might even follow the example of the Countess of Mount Edgcumbe, who in the late eighteenth century had a thirty-foot-high Neoclassical obelisk erected on a hill on the outskirts of Plymouth, in memory of an unusually sensitive pig called Cupid, whom she did not hesitate to call a true friend.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
It is no coincidence that precisely when things started going downhill with the gods, politics gained its bliss-making character. There would be no reason for objecting to this, since the gods, too were not exactly fair. But at least people saw temples instead of termite architecture. Bliss is drawing closer; it is no longer in the afterlife, it will come, though not momentarily, sooner or later in the here and now - in time. The anarch thinks more primitively; he refuses to give up any of his happiness. "Make thyself happy" is his basic law. It his response to the "Know thyself" at the temple of Apollo in Delphi. These two maxims complement each other; we must know our happiness and our measure.
Ernst Jünger (Eumeswil)
I must study politics and war," wrote John Adams, "that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics, and philosophy, geography, natural history, and naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children the right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain." Adams saw clearly that politics is the indispensable foundation for things elegant and beautiful. First and above all else, you must secure life, liberty and the right to pursue your own happiness.
Charles Krauthamer John Adams
Large plates and large packages mean more eating; they are a form of choice architecture, and they work as major nudges. (Hint: if you would like to lose weight, get smaller plates, buy little packages of what you like, and don’t keep tempting food in the refrigerator.)
Richard H. Thaler (Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness)
The blizzard seemed to be dying down, and it was now possible to enjoy the sight of the buildings and embankments and bridges smothered in the diamond-dusted whiteness. There's always something soothing in the snow, thought Gabriel, a promise of happiness and absolution, of a new start on a clean sheet. Snow redesigned the streets with hints of another architecture, even more magnificent, more fanciful than it already was, all spires and pinnacles on pale palaces of pearl and opal. All that New Venice should have been reappeared through its partial disappearance. It was as if the city were dreaming about itself and crystallizing both that dream and the ethereal unreality of it. He wallowed in the impression, badly needing it right now, knowing it would not last as he hobbled nearer to his destination.
Jean-Christophe Valtat (Aurorarama (The Mysteries of New Venice, #1))
The curious part was this: most students said that they knew that social life would be more important to their happiness than architecture, yet they still put greater weight on physical features. This is the standard mis-weighing of extrinsic and intrinsic values: we may tell each other that experiences are more important than things, but we constantly make choices as though we didn’t believe
Charles Montgomery (Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design)
I must study politics and war," wrote John Adams, "that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics, and philosophy, geography, natural history, and naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children the right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain." Adams saw clearly that politics is the indispensable foundation for things elegant and beautiful. First and above all else, you must secure life, liberty and the right to pursue your own happiness.
Charles Krauthammer
when modern philosophy began to devote itself to the study of logic and rationality, it gradually lost interest in psychology and lost touch with the passionate, contextualized nature of human life. It is impossible to analyze “the meaning of life” in the abstract, or in general, or for some mythical and perfectly rational being. Only by knowing the kinds of beings that we actually are, with the complex mental and emotional architecture that we happen to possess, can anyone even begin to ask about what would count as a meaningful life.
Jonathan Haidt (The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom)
Drenched in café au lait stucco, the mall was bordered by an example of America’s most unique architectural contribution to the world, a parking lot. Some bemoan the brutalism of socialist architecture, but was the blandness of capitalist architecture any better? One could drive for miles and see nothing but parking lots and the kudzu of strip malls catering to every need, from pet shops to water dispensaries to ethnic restaurants and every other imaginable category of mom-and-pop small business, each one an advertisment for the pursuit of happiness.
Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathizer)
Precedent forces us to suppose that later generations will one day walk around our houses with the same attitude of horror and amusement with which we now consider many of the possessions of the dead. They will marvel at our wallpapers and our sofas and laugh at aesthetic crimes to which we are impervious. This awareness can lend to our affections a fragile, nervous quality. Knowing that what we now love may in the future, for reasons beyond our current understanding, appear absurd is as hard to bear in the context of a piece of furniture in a shop as it is in the context of a prospective spouse at an altar.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
As a boy, in my own backyard I could catch a basket of blue crabs, a string of flounder, a dozen redfish, or a net full of white shrimp. All this I could do in a city enchanting enough to charm cobras out of baskets, one so corniced and filigreed and elaborate that it leaves strangers awed and natives self-satisfied. In its shadows you can find metal work as delicate as lace and spiral staircases as elaborate as yachts. In the secrecy of its gardens you can discover jasmine and camellias and hundreds of other plants that look embroidered and stolen from the Garden of Eden for the sheer love of richness and the joy of stealing from the gods. In its kitchens, the stoves are lit up in happiness as the lamb is marinating in red wine sauce, vinaigrette is prepared for the salad, crabmeat is anointed with sherry, custards are baked in the oven, and buttermilk biscuits cool on the counter.
Pat Conroy (South of Broad)
I must study politics and war,” wrote John Adams, “that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, and naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.” Adams saw clearly that politics is the indispensable foundation for things elegant and beautiful. First and above all else, you must secure life, liberty and the right to pursue your own happiness. That’s politics done right, hard-earned, often by war. And yet the glories yielded by such a successful politics lie outside itself. Its deepest purpose is to create the conditions for the cultivation of the finer things, beginning with philosophy and science, and ascending to the ever more delicate and refined arts. Note Adams’ double reference to architecture: The second generation must study naval architecture—a hybrid discipline of war, commerce and science—before the third can freely and securely study architecture for its own sake. The most optimistic implication of Adams’ dictum is that once the first generation gets the political essentials right, they remain intact to nurture the future. Yet he himself once said that “there never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.
Charles Krauthammer (Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics)
What we search for in a work of architecture is not in the end so far from what we search for in a friend.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
Do you know why I could never sell this car?” said Viridios. “There’s something about it that makes you long for a place that never existed. I can see it in my mind, every time I get behind the wheel. There’s a coastal highway that goes on for a thousand miles through deserts, forests, and mountains, sprawling cities, towns full of Spanish architecture, beaches full of happy people, and wonderful music that sounds like an orchestra and a barbershop quartet at the same time. It’s like some fantastic version of the Republic, in a mythical land where it’s always summer. Maybe it really exists, somewhere out West, like the lost kingdom of Prester John.
Fenton Wood (Yankee Republic Omnibus: A Mythic Radio Adventure)
Sorrow is the cathedral, the immense architecture; in its interior there's room for almost everything: for desire, for flashes of happiness, for making plans for the future. And for watching all those evidences of ongoing life crumble in the flash of remembering, in the recurring wave of fresh grief.
Mark Doty (Heaven's Coast: A Memoir)
When we aren’t aiming to be either precise or conclusive, it can be easy to agree on what a beautiful man-made place might look like. Attempts to name the world’s most attractive cities tend to settle on some familiar locations: Edinburgh, Paris, Rome, San Francisco. A case will occasionally be made for Siena or Sydney. Someone may bring up St Petersburg or Salamanca. Further evidence of our congruent tastes can be found in the patterns of our holiday migrations. Few people opt to spend the summer in Milton Keynes or Frankfurt. Nevertheless, our intuitions about attractive architecture have always proved of negligible use in generating satisfactory laws of beauty. We might expect that it would, by now, have grown as easy to reproduce a city with the appeal of Bath as it is to manufacture consistent quantities of blueberry jam. If humans were at some point adept at creating a masterwork of urban design, it should have come within the grasp of all succeeding generations to contrive an equally successful environment at will. There ought to be no need to pay homage to a city as to a rare creature; its virtues should be readily fitted to the development of any new piece of meadow or scrubland. There should be no need to focus our energies on preservation and restoration, disciplines which thrive on our fears of our own ineptitude. We should not have to feel alarmed by the waters that lap threateningly against Venice’s shoreline. We should have the confidence to surrender the aristocratic palaces to the sea, knowing that we could at any point create new edifices that would rival the old stones in beauty.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
Virtue ethics as studied here does not always fit well into certain alien molds, as much as we might hope—molds that are humanistic, secular, Western, or democratic. Rather, writings on virtue seem to have fit and to continue to fit into a much larger body of knowledge, a framework from which thinkers drew their own “Islamic” ethics. Evidence for this can be found in the stories that Muslims told, and those they still tell, which make use of various branches of moral learning more freely than what is observed in writings specific to one science or another. Those who advocated scripture or voluntarism cannot be excluded from this. Sciences such as philosophy and Sufism could be considered tools in almost any scholar’s toolbox, even if the overall epistemological architecture of that science contravened that scholar’s claims. Such was the case with Ghazālī’s use of philosophy. While he has been presented as appropriating humanistic virtue ethics, Ghazālī, like his later Shiʿi interpreter Fayd. Kāshānī (d. 1679), reminded Muslim readers that religious law and virtue ethics (both philosophical and Sufi virtue ethics) have a common goal, the achievement of ultimate happiness through the perfection of the soul. For advocates of traditional Islamic law, Ghazālī’s intellectual mission typifies a recurring corrective in Islam, perhaps because of Islam’s rich and hermeneutically complex legal tradition: to caution readers not to lose sight of Islam’s larger ethical aims by becoming absorbed with ritual technicalities or divinely commanded limits. Such reminders can be found today to an even greater extent than in the past. New philosophical positions have meant that Muslim thinkers interested in “God’s law” often return to it with insights gleaned from the Western ethical traditions. Networks of ethical reasoning that exist today, moreover, mean that almost no moral decision can truly be made in a scriptural void, just as they could not in the past. The salience of certain single-minded interpretations of Islam often brings us to forget that on a day-to-day basis, a Muslim (like any moral agent) draws on multiple pools of knowledge and culture to make any decision or develop any habit.
Cyrus Ali Zargar (The Polished Mirror: Storytelling and the Pursuit of Virtue in Islamic Philosophy and Sufism)
Arnold," she said one day after school, "I hate this little town. It's so small, too small. Everything about it is small. The people here have small ideas. Small dreams. They all want to marry each other and live here forever." "What do you want to do?" I asked. "I want to leave as soon as I can. I think I was born with a suitcase." Yeah, she talked like that. All big and goofy and dramatic. I wanted to make fun of her, but she was so earnest. "Where do you want to go?" I asked. "Everywhere. I want to walk on the Great Wall of China. I want to walk to the top of pyramids in Egypt. I want to swim in every ocean. I want to climb Mount Everest. I want to go on an African safari. I want to ride a dogsled in Antarctica. I want all of it. Every single piece of everything." Her eyes got this strange faraway look, like she'd been hypnotized. I laughed. "Don't laugh at me," she said. "I'm not laughing at you," I said. "I'm laughing at your eyes." "That's the whole problem," she said. "Nobody takes me seriously." "Well, come on, it's kind of hard to take you seriously when you're talking about the Great Wall of China and Egypt and stuff. Those are just big goofy dreams. They're not real." "They're real to me," she said. "Why don't you quit talking in dreams and tell me what you really want to do with your life," I said. "Make it simple." "I want to go to Stanford and study architecture." "Wow, that's cool," I said. "But why architecture?" "Because I want to build something beautiful. Because I want to be remembered." And I couldn't make fun of her for that dream. It was my dream, too. And Indian boys weren't supposed to dream like that. And white girls from small towns weren't supposed to dream big, either. We were supposed to be happy with our limitations. But there was no way Penelope and I were going to sit still. Nope, we both wanted to fly:
Sherman Alexie
To Morton Stone, all those first weeks at Meerlust had a strange, dream-like quality. The contours and smells of the country, the odd style of the house’s architecture, the stinkwood furniture and ancient brass with which its rooms were furnished, had an exotic flavour that left him slightly bewildered. They didn’t, naturally, bewilder Catherine at all. She was rapturously recapturing the days when she and Hans had been children together. To Morton there was something beautiful, and at the same time pathetic, in the quickness with which she responded to each remembered detail: the bird-song, the flowers that now bloomed in incredible profusion, the smell of the veld, the soft accents of Cape-Dutch dialect. It was pathetic for two reasons. First because these memories, which he could neither share nor understand, increased the distance between them; once again, because all her rapture was shadowed for him by the gloom of an in- definite apprehensiveness. This very excess of happiness took it out of her. She wasn’t, as he could see, and as the Malans’ Dutch doctor told him, any better for the change. It seemed to spur her to a morbid restlessness. She was catching at every memory, within, or just out of reach, as though some inward consciousness told her that the time for its enjoyment was limited. It irked her to find him, as it seemed to her, dull and unresponsive. As for Morton, the sense of impending disaster never left him. He could have faced it more easily, he felt, at home, amid familiar surroundings, than in this strange, unreal oasis of beauty, five thousand miles from anywhere.
Francis Brett Young (The Cage Bird and Other Stories)
Precedent forces us to suppose that later generations will one day walk around our houses with the same attitude of horror and amusement with which we now consider many of the possessions of the dead. They will marvel at our wallpapers and our sofas and laugh at aesthetic crimes to which we are impervious. This awareness can lend to our affections a fragile, nervous quality.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
Viewed from this perspective, architecture no longer provides a happy ending, but instead allows stories to continue.
Christoph Grafe (Oase 70: Architecture and Literature)
Any object of design will give off an impression of the psychological and moral attitudes it supports.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
Antti Lovag called his philosophy of architecture habitology, because he believed that what people needed were not homes but habitats, places that truly supported human flourishing
Ingrid Fetell Lee (Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness)
Vastu shastra is yoga for architecture and by balancing all 8 directions, panch mahabhootas ie 5 elements and energies with in a space a perfect equilibrium of health and happiness may be achieved in homes and work places alike. Dr. Vaishali Gupta is a Vedic scholar & modern researcher of the science of Vastushastra, with more than 15 years of experience and expertise in the field. Although Dr. Vaishali Gupta has worked in all areas of Vastu but she specializes in commercial and industrial vastu and has a long list of industrial clients in India and abroad. She is a qualified interior designer and has done in depth study of building construction. This gives her immense understanding of dealing with buildings, plans, elevations & sections etc. and she is known for giving simple yet effective vastu solutions, for homes, offices restaurants, factories etc. She is one of the few Vastu Consultants who take the natal chart of the owner into consideration while giving vastu solutions as she firmly believes that both vastu and astrology go hand in hand.
Dr. Vaishali Gupta
To maximize pleasure and to minimize pain - in that order - were characteristic Enlightenment concerns. This generally more receptive attitude toward good feeling and pleasure would have significant long-term consequences. It is a critical difference separating Enlightenment views on happiness from those of the ancients. There is another, however, of equal importance: that of ambition and scale. Although the philosophers of the principal classical schools sought valiantly to minimize the role of chance as a determinant of human happiness, they were never in a position to abolish it entirely. Neither, for that matter, were the philosophers of the eighteenth century, who, like men and women at all times, were forced to grapple with apparently random upheavals and terrible reversals of forture. The Lisbon earthquake of 1755 is an awful case in point. Striking on All Saints' Day while the majority of Lisbon's inhabitants were attending mass, the earthquake was followed by a tidal wave and terrible fires that destroyed much of the city and took the lives of tens of thousands of men and women. 'Quel triste jeu de hasard que le jeu de la vie humaine,' Voltaire was moved to reflect shortly thereafter: 'What a sad game of chance is this game of human life.' He was not alone in reexamining his more sanguine assumptions of earlier in the century, doubting the natural harmony of the universe and the possibilities of 'paradise on earth'; the catastrophe provoked widespread reflection on the apparent 'fatality of evil' and the random occurrence of senseless suffering. It was shortly thereafter that Voltaire produced his dark masterpiece, Candide, which mocks the pretension that this is the best of all possible worlds. And yet, in many ways, the incredulity expressed by educated Europeans in the earthquake's aftermath is a more interesting index of received assumptions, for it demonstrates the degree to which such random disasters were becoming, if not less common, at least less expected. Their power to shock was magnified accordingly, but only because the predictability and security of daily existence were increasing, along with the ability to control the consequences of unforeseen disaster. When the Enlightened Marquis of Pombal, the First Minister of Portugal, set about rebuilding Lisbon after the earthquake, he paid great attention to modern principles of architecture and central planning to help ensure that if such a calamity were to strike again, the effects would be less severe. To this day, the rebuilt Lisbon of Pombal stands as an embodiment of Enlightened ideas. Thus, although eighteenth-century minds did not - and could not - succeed in mastering the random occurrences of the universe, they could - and did - conceive of exerting much greater control over nature and human affairs. Encouraged by the examples of Newtonian physics, they dreamed of understanding not only the laws of the physical universe but the moral and human laws as well, hoping one day to lay out with precision what the Italian scholar Giambattista Vico described as a 'new science' of society and man. It was in the eighteenth century, accordingly, that the human and social sciences were born, and so it is hardly surprising that observers turned their attention to studying happiness in similar terms. Whereas classical sages had aimed to cultivate a rarified ethical elite - attempting to bring happiness to a select circle of disciples, or at most to the active citizens of the polis - Enlightenment visionaries dreamed of bringing happiness to entire societies and even to humanity as a whole.
Darrin M. McMahon (Happiness: A History)
This picture shows someone standing next to a broken-down car on the side of a small country road. In this scenario, how many people might stop and ask the motorist if everything is OK? Because it’s a small road in a small community, probably everyone who passes by. However, how many times have motorists been stuck on the side of a busy highway in the middle of a large city and had thousands of cars simply drive by without anyone stopping and asking if everything is OK? All the time. This is a good example of the diffusion of responsibility. As cities get busier and more crowded, people assume the motorist has already called or help is on the way due to the large number of people witnessing the event. However, in most of these cases help is not on the way, and the motorist is stuck with a dead or forgotten cell phone, unable to call for help. An effective architect not only helps guide the development team through the implementation of the architecture, but also ensures that the team is healthy, happy, and working together to achieve a common goal. Looking for these three warning signs and consequently helping to correct them helps to ensure an effective development team.
Mark Richards (Fundamentals of Software Architecture: An Engineering Approach)
I don’t know anything different about death than I ever have, but I feel differently. I inhabit this difference in feeling- or does it live in me?- at the same time as I’m sorrowing. The possibility of consolation, of joy even, does not dispel the sorrow. Sorrow is the cathedral, the immense architecture; in its interior there’s room for almost everything; for desire, for flashes of happiness, for making plans for the future…
Mark Doty (Heaven's Coast: A Memoir)
The only problem with unrestricted choice, however, is that it tends not to lie so far from outright chaos.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
Despite their claims to a purely scientific and reasoned approach, the relationship of Modernist architects to their work remained at base a romantic one; they looked to architecture to support a way of life that appealed to them. Their domestic buildings were conceived as stage sets for actors in an idealised drama about contemporary existence.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
Even the God of the Old Testament, faced with the continual querulousness of the tribes of Israel, had occasionally to ignite a piece of desert shrub to awe his audience into reverence. Technology would be the Modernists' burning bush.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
If engineering cannot tell us what our houses should look like, nor in a pluralistic and non-deferential world can precedent or tradition, we must be free to pursue all stylistic options. We should acknowledge that the question of what is beautiful is both impossible to elucidate and shameful and even undemocratic to mention.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
Clashes of taste are an inevitable by-product of a world where forces continually fragment and deplete us in new ways.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
Jarenlang kwam ik bij het boodschappen doen langs een huis dat weliswaar een van de lelijkste gebouwen was dat ik ooit heb gezien, maar me ook meer over architectuur heeft geleerd dan menig meesterwerk.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
before he died Francis’ father had ordered that the gutters and gargoyles be painted gold, and the innovation had enabled the house to achieve a new and unbelievable pitch of vulgarity. I am incapable of further description; all I can add is that Greek ideas had married Gothic affectations in the architectural plans, and the marriage had not been a happy one.
Susan Howatch (Cashelmara)
Previously I mentioned the spiritual diorama. Just for the satisfaction, I’ll repeat myself. “It is hard to make great and remarkable faults in a spiritual diorama.” We knew our happiness was dependent on such faults—proportional errors, say, which expanded the point where the passional and the social meet, or the misapplied tests for chemical residues, which revealed only the critical extravagance of our narcissism. Yet our attraction was inexplicably towards the diorama.
Lisa Robertson (Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture)
The first is that seemingly small features of social situations can have massive effects on people’s behavior; nudges are everywhere, even if we do not see them. Choice architecture, both good and bad, is pervasive and unavoidable, and it greatly affects our decisions. The second claim is that libertarian paternalism is not an oxymoron. Choice architects can preserve freedom of choice while also nudging people in directions that will improve their lives.
Richard H. Thaler (Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness)
We have not had a free market in real estate for eighty years,” Ellen Dunham-Jones, Georgia Tech professor of architecture and coauthor of Retrofitting Suburbia, told me. “And because it is illegal to build in a different way, it takes an immense amount of time for anyone who wants to do it to get changes in zoning and variance. Time is money for developers, so it rarely happens.
Charles Montgomery (Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design)
It has provided not only physical but also psychological sanctuary. It has been a guardian of identity. Over the years, its owners have returned prom periods away and, on looking around them, remembered who they were.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
Or indeed when the desire to create and contemplate beauty manages to overcome reductionism through a kind of salvation which occurs in beauty and in those who behold it. An authentic humanity, calling for a new synthesis, seems to dwell in the midst of our technological culture, almost unnoticed, like a mist seeping gently beneath a closed door. Will the promise last, in spite of everything, with all that is authentic rising up in stubborn resistance? 113. There is also the fact that people no longer seem to believe in a happy future; they no longer have blind trust in a better tomorrow based on the present state of the world and our technical abilities. There is a growing awareness that scientific and technological progress cannot be equated with the progress of humanity and history, a growing sense that the way to a better future lies elsewhere. This is not to reject the possibilities which technology continues to offer us. But humanity has changed profoundly, and the accumulation of constant novelties exalts a superficiality which pulls us in one direction. It becomes difficult to pause and recover depth in life. If architecture reflects the spirit of an age, our megastructures and drab apartment blocks express the spirit of globalized technology, where a constant flood of new products coexists with a tedious monotony. Let us refuse to resign ourselves to this, and continue to wonder about the purpose and meaning of everything.
Pope Francis (ENCYCLICAL LETTER LAUDATO SI' ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME)
she’d done enough residential architecture to know that the desire to wring out a few more drips of happiness almost always destroyed the happiness you were so lucky to have, and so foolish never to acknowledge. It happens every time: a forty-thousand-dollar kitchen remodel becomes a seventy-five-thousand-dollar kitchen remodel (because everyone comes to believe that small differences make big differences), becomes a new exit to the garden (to bring more light into the enhanced kitchen), becomes a new bathroom (if you’re already sealing off the floor for work …), becomes stupidly rewiring the house to be smart (so you can control the music in the kitchen with your phone), becomes passive-aggression over whether the new bookshelves should be on legs (to reveal the inlaid floor borders), becomes aggressive-aggression whose origin can no longer be remembered. One can build a perfect home, but not live in it.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Here I Am)
It is usually good to provide people with lots of options, but when the question is complicated, sensible choice architecture guides people in the right directions.
Richard H. Thaler (Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness)
It was a most insistent place but nobody seemed to be overwhelmed by all the insistence.
Alice Munro (Too Much Happiness: Stories)
time. A new interdisciplinary community of scientists, environmentalists, health researchers, therapists, and artists is coalescing around an idea: neuroconservation. Embracing the notion that we treasure what we love, those concerned with water and the future of the planet now suggest that, as we understand our emotional well-being and its relationship to water, we are more motivated to repair, restore, and renew waterways and watersheds. Indeed, even as water is threatened, or perhaps because of the threat, public interest in water is very high. We treasure it—or, perhaps more accurately, we spend our treasure to access water for pleasure, recreation, and healing. Wealthy people pay a premium for houses on water, and the not so wealthy pay extra for rentals and hotel rooms sited at the oceanfront, on rivers, or at lakes. Those into outdoor sports, especially fishers and hunters, are fiercely protective of it and have founded numerous environmental organizations designed to protect water habitats for fish, birds, and animals. Over the last two decades, spas have become a sort of modern equivalent to ancient healing wells. As an industry, spas are a global business worth about $60 billion, and they generate another $200 billion in tourism. In 2013, there were 20,000 (up from 4,000 in 1999) spas in the United States producing an annual revenue of over $14 billion (a figure that has grown every year for fifteen years, including those of the recession), and tallying 164 million spa visits by clients.12 Ecotourism provides water adventures and guided trips, often in kayaks, rafts, or canoes. Ocean and river cruises are big business. Cities are creating urban architectures focused on waterscapes, happiness, and sustainability. Museums and public memorials of all sorts often feature water to foster reflection and meditation. And many communities are working to transform industrialized and polluted waterfronts into spaces that are pleasant, environmentally sound, and livable.
Diana Butler Bass (Grounded: Finding God in the World-A Spiritual Revolution)
If the search for happiness is the underlying quest of our lives, it seems only natural that it should simultaneously be the essential theme to which beauty alludes.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
The house belonged to the hashish school of Spanish architecture. Probably early nineteen-twenties and imitation Mizener, which made it the imitation of an imitation which wasn't worth imitating. It was a ponderous monstrosity with thick walls, meager windows, insane turrets. Somebody with a hidalgo complex had tried to jail a dream of happiness. The prisoner had probably died, or lost its mind.
Ross Macdonald (The Archer Files: The Complete Short Stories of Lew Archer, Private Investigator, Including Newly Discovered Case Notes)
A choice architect has the responsibility for organizing the context in which people make decisions. Although Carolyn is a figment of our imagination, many real people turn out to be choice architects, most without realising it. If you design the ballot voters use to choose candidates, you are a choice architect. If you are a doctor and must describe the alternate treatments available to a patient, you are a choice architect. If you design the form that new employees fill out to enrol in the company healthcare plan, you are a choice architect. If you are a parent describing possible educational options to your son or daughter, you are a choice architect. If you are a salesperson, you are a choice architect, but you already knew that. There are many parallels between choice architecture and more traditional forms of architecture. A crucial parallel is that there is no such thing as a neutral design.
Richard H. Thaler (Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness)
The fifth secret may well be the most important: personal respect and affection. Visitors to Yale’s Investments Office are invariably impressed by the open architecture and informal “happy ship” climate that is almost as obvious as the disciplined intensity with which the staff work at their tasks and responsibilities. Positive professionals perform at their peak productivity and teams get better with low turnover.
David F. Swensen (Pioneering Portfolio Management: An Unconventional Approach to Institutional Investment, Fully Revised and Updated)
A minister was walking by a construction project and saw two men laying bricks. “What are you doing?” he asked the first. “I’m laying bricks,” he answered gruffly. “And you?’’ he asked the other. “I’m building a cathedral,” came the happy reply. The minister was agreeably impressed with this man’s idealism and sense of participation in God’s Grand Plan. He composed a sermon on the subject, and returned the next day to speak to the inspired bricklayer. Only the first man was at work. “Where’s your friend?” asked the minister. “He got fired.” “How terrible. Why?” “He thought we were building a cathedral, but we’re building a garage.”9 So ask yourself: am I designing a cathedral or a garage? The difference between the two is important, and it’s often hard to tell them apart when your focus is on laying bricks. Sometimes
Louis Rosenfeld (Information Architecture: For the Web and Beyond)
even if the whole of the man-made world could, through relentless effort and sacrifice, be modelled to rival St Mark’s Square, even if we could spend the rest of our lives in the Villa Rotonda or the Glass House, we would still often be in a bad mood. 7.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
Sociologists point out that the suburbs have done an efficient job of sorting people into communities where they will be surrounded by people of the same socioeconomic status. Meanwhile, the architectures of sprawl inhibit political activity that requires face-to-face interaction. It is not that sprawl makes political activity impossible, but by privatizing gathering space and dispersing human activity, sprawl makes political gatherings less likely.
Charles Montgomery (Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design)
When we place the essentials activities of life within the context of a Consciously Designed Home, it becomes easier to achieve our lifestyle goals and dreams.
Talor Stewart, Architect (Conscious Home Design: The Guide to Living Your Best Life by Designing for Happiness, Health, and Relationship Success)
It is impossible to analyze “the meaning of life” in the abstract, or in general, or for some mythical and perfectly rational being. Only by knowing the kinds of beings that we actually are, with the complex mental and emotional architecture that we happen to possess, can anyone even begin to ask about what would count as a meaningful life
Jonathan Haidt (The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom)
To speak of home in relation to a building is simply to recognize its harmony with our own prized internal song
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
Architecture excites our respect to the extent that it surpasses us.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
A nudge, as we will use the term, is any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. To count as a mere nudge, the intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid. Nudges are not mandates.
Richard H. Thaler (Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness)
Yet over the last fifty years or so, asymmetry has crept into our homes and buildings. Architectural critic Kate Wagner traces this shift to the suburban building boom of the blingy 1980s. While the energy crisis of the seventies kept home sizes modest, the Reagan years brought large incentives for the construction industry and a culture of conspicuous consumption that turned houses into status symbols. These luxury homes, dubbed “McMansions,” swelled to include all kinds of new features: exercise rooms, home theaters, three-car garages, and grand oversize entryways. Eager to please, developers sacrificed symmetry for scale, producing massive homes that often felt surprisingly awkward. They sometimes looped architects out of the equation entirely, using a modular approach that allowed prospective homeowners to customize their design based on a kit of options. These options included architectural details like arches, moldings, and bay windows, which were then applied haphazardly to the surface rather than integrated into the structure.
Ingrid Fetell Lee (Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness)
Approaching Elegy It's hard to believe you are dying: like looking at a Jamesian scene, skipping past happiness to a garden bench beyond the trees. You fill the form of heroine: you sit in your black dress, too tired to imagine the rest of yourself. An old suitor appears, grabs you possibly too forcefully by the wrists (he is still impossibly in love—). You disengage your wrists. He leans forward, looks into your eyes, which you close—as if you were all by yourself. He moves closer, talking very fast about happiness. He places his cloak on your shoulders, imagines he'll rescue you. Around you, forms grow darker: house, branch, hydrangea. Above you, freckled expanses of leaves form the beginnings of barbed, lopsided shrouds—a possible solace. If only his kiss could please you, I wouldn't need to imagine past the clean architecture of the story. And perhaps it is wrong to look past that. Wrong to ask about happiness. Past midnight, he continues to offer himself. Before, he had offered aimless passion, but now (you see it for yourself) he has an idea: he points into the darkness. He is grave, formal. The dark has swallowed the long shadows of the oaks (though not your unhappiness) —and it is about to swallow you. Soon, it will no longer be possible (there is just one more page to turn) for me to look through your eyes, so I would like to imagine for you: something past tragedy. Just as I would like to imagine that we are not in danger, that we have selves more solid than stars, that we are safe in the pages of books we can reopen to look at each other. Except that we are not women formed of words, but of impossible longings. What was it that you wanted besides happiness? You are dying. I have no ideas about happiness and no patience to imagine it possible. Soon you will not be the heroine; you will not be yourself. And it's not that you've lost the formula; your form is losing you. Look at how brave you are: I imagined the great point was to be happy, as happy as possible with the quick forms that imagine us—but the last time I looked there you were—distant and bright in the not so blue darkness, imagining yourself.
Mary Szybist (Granted)
Most airports, train stations, and municipal buildings are featureless monoliths, vast echoing caverns that agitate rather than engage the senses. For this we can thank modernism, a movement that arose in Europe early in the twentieth century, determined to shed flourishes and traditions and build a new kind of architecture grounded in simple materials and geometric forms. Modernists embraced machine-made structures and hard materials like glass, steel, and concrete.
Ingrid Fetell Lee (Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness)
she’d done enough residential architecture to know that the desire to wring out a few more drips of happiness almost always destroyed the happiness you were so lucky to have, and so foolish never to acknowledge. It happens every time: a forty-thousand-dollar kitchen remodel becomes a seventy-five-thousand-dollar kitchen remodel (because everyone comes to believe that small differences make big differences), becomes a new exit to the garden (to bring more light into the enhanced kitchen), becomes a new bathroom (if you’re already sealing off the floor for work…), becomes stupidly rewiring the house to be smart (so you can control the music in the kitchen with your phone), becomes passive-aggression over whether the new bookshelves should be on legs (to reveal the inlaid floor borders), becomes aggressive-aggression whose origin can no longer be remembered. One can build a perfect home, but not live in it.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Here I Am)
An architect intent on being different may in the end prove as troubling as an over-imaginative pilot or doctor.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
We admire New York precisely because the traffic and crowds have been coerced into a difficult but fruitful alliance.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
Any object of design will give off an impression of the psychological and moral attitudes it supports.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
Andy’s Message Around the time I received Arius’ email, Andy’s message arrived. He wrote: Young, I do remember Rick Samuels. I was at the seminar in the Bahriji when he came to lecture. Like you I was at once mesmerized by his style and beauty, which of course was a false image manufactured by the advertising agencies and sales promoters. I was surprised to hear your backroom story of him being gangbanged in the dungeon. We are not ones to judge since both of us had been down that negative road of self-loathing. This seems to be a common thread with people whom others considered good-looking or beautiful. In my opinion, it’s a fake image that handsome people know they cannot live up to. Instead of exterior beauty being an asset, it often becomes a psychological burden. During the years when I was with Toby, I delved in some fashion modeling work in New Zealand. I ventured into this business because it was my subconscious way of reminding me of the days we posed for Mario and Aziz. It was also my twisted way of hoping to meet another person like me, with the hope of building a loving long-term relationship. It was also a desperate attempt to break loose from Toby’s psychosomatic grip on my person. Ian was his name and he was a very attractive 24 year old architecture student. He modeled to earn some extra spending money. We became fast friends, but he had this foreboding nature which often came on unexpectedly. A sentence or a word could trigger his depression, sending the otherwise cheerful man into bouts of non-verbal communication. It was like a brightly lit light bulb suddenly being switched off in mid-sentence. We did have an affair while I was trying to patch things up with Toby. As delightful as our sexual liaisons were there was a hidden missing element, YOU! Much like my liaisons with Oscar, without your presence, our sexual communications took on a different dynamic which only you as the missing link could resolve. There were times during or after sex when Ian would abuse himself with negative thoughts and self-denigration. I tried to console him, yet I was deeply sorrowed about my own unresolved issues with Toby. It was like the blind leading the blind. I was gravely saddened when Ian took his own life. Heavily drugged on prescriptive anti-depressant and a stomach full of extensive alcohol consumption, he fell off his ten story apartment building. He died instantly. This was the straw that threw me into a nervous breakdown. Thank God I climbed out of my despondencies with the help of Ari and Aria. My dearest Young, I have a confession to make; you are the only person I have truly loved and will continue to love. All these years I’ve tried to forget you but I cannot. That said I am not trying to pry you away from Walter and have you return to me. We are just getting to know each other yet I feel your spirit has never left. Please make sure that Walter understands that I’m not jeopardizing your wonderful relationship. I am happy for the both of you. You had asked jokingly if I was interested in a triplet relationship. Maybe when the time and opportunity arises it may happen, but now I’m enjoying my own company after Albert’s passing. In a way it is nice to have my freedom after 8 years of building a life with Albert. I love you my darling boy and always will. As always, I await your cheerful emails. Andy. Xoxoxo
Young (Unbridled (A Harem Boy's Saga, #2))
The first is that seemingly small features of social situations can have massive effects on people’s behavior; nudges are everywhere, even if we do not see them. Choice architecture, both good and bad, is pervasive and unavoidable, and it greatly affects our decisions. The second claim is that libertarian paternalism is not an oxymoron. Choice architects can preserve freedom of choice while also nudging people in directions that will improve their lives. We have covered a great deal of territory, including savings, Social
Richard H. Thaler (Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness)
Architecture, of course. Shelter. How people take a dream of comfort and turn it into a building, someplace they can live, someplace they'll be happy. Not that it ever works. You design your dream house, and then once you build it you realize that the roof leaks and there isn't enough closet space, and anyhow the shape of your dreams has changed, but you'll just have to settle for what you have, because you don't have the money to build another house and may not even have the money to remodel. Plus the taxes keep going up.
Susan Palwick (Shelter)
To describe a building as beautiful therefore suggests more than a mere aesthetic fondness; it implies an attraction to the particular way of life this structure is promoting through its roof, door handles, window frames, staircase, and furnishings. A feeling of beauty is a sign that we have come upon a material articulation of a certain of our ideas of a good life.
Alain De Batton
The most important modification that must be made to a standard analysis of incentives is salience. Do the choosers actually notice the incentives they face? In free markets, the answer is usually yes, but in important cases the answer is no. Consider the example of members of an urban family deciding whether to buy a car. Suppose their choices are to take taxis and public transportation or to spend ten thousand dollars to buy a used car, which they can park on the street in front of their home. The only salient costs of owning this car will be the weekly stops at the gas station, occasional repair bills, and a yearly insurance bill. The opportunity cost of the ten thousand dollars is likely to be neglected. (In other words, once they purchase the car, they tend to forget about the ten thousand dollars and stop treating it as money that could have been spent on something else.) In contrast, every time the family uses a taxi the cost will be in their face, with the meter clicking every few blocks. So a behavioral analysis of the incentives of car ownership will predict that people will underweight the opportunity costs of car ownership, and possibly other less salient aspects such as depreciation, and may overweight the very salient costs of using a taxi.* An analysis of choice architecture systems must make similar adjustments.
Richard H. Thaler (Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness)
Science and Scripture both show that we are wired for love and optimism[5] and so when we react by thinking negatively and making negative choices, the quality of our thinking suffers, which means the quality of our brain architecture suffers.
Caroline Leaf (Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health)
What’s important to understand about the seven-day weekend is that by redesigning the architecture of time, we can make room for work, leisure, and idleness. All three can coexist and harmonize together to produce happiness and a sense of purpose.
Ricardo Semler (The Seven-Day Weekend: Changing the Way Work Works)
One way to start to think about incentives is to ask four questions about a particular choice architecture: Who uses? Who chooses? Who pays? Who profits?
Richard H. Thaler (Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness)
It's true that novelty and challenge bring happiness...but routine can also bring happiness. The pleasure of doing the same thing in the same way every day...take[s] on a certain beauty and provide[s] a kind of invisible architecture...
Gretchen Rubin (Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life)
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There was a research published in the American Journal of Public Health that was conducted by Anne Thorndike, a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. Together with her colleagues, she changed what is known as the choice architecture (this means changing the manner in which foods and drinks are displayed) of the drinks in a cafeteria.
Manoj Chenthamarakshan (Habits: 25 small habits, to improve wealth, health and happiness)
Very little of these circumstances make me happy," Kittering told her sourly. "Do not make me mourn you.
Adrian Tchaikovsky (Eyes of the Void (The Final Architecture, #2))
If a rainbow could be embodied through the personification of architecture, the Bo-Kaap would be exactly that – a rainbow captured through the lively paint colors of the homes in all shades of bright hues that most of us would never have the courage to paint our own home’s exterior with. Yet collectively these colors create a space of warmth, and the understanding that you’re home – home is where the Bo-Kaap meets the end of any rainbow. A place of happiness...
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