Monday, November 26, 2012

School of Life Shop and #6 Humanism

Alain's Shop in London
In one of the series of (the original) BBC TV Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin there was a period of success where Reggie had an empire called 'Grot' selling useless things.
Now I'm a big fan of what Alain de Botton is doing/has done with his books, lectures shows and of course the shop (see left). The shop has been going around 4 years so the assistant there told me on Friday when I made a pilgrimage to it. Stock is somewhat limited (I bought the last copy of  What to do about Everything - as I liked the title and thought I should show some sort of support).
It reminded me of Grot in the concept and it gives me some pleasure for it to be so.
Much of what we buy today is concept over content, and very much brand over product, if there was a slimming cube as an alternative to sugar it would fly off the shelves. Customer expectation is so high but when purchasing we know we will be disappointed and much as slimmers will always be on a diet or going on to another (better) diet so when we buy are goods the realisation as we unwrap our goodies is that it is not enough means we're perpetual consumers. So now the idea that we can buy the good life does not seem so far fetched - it's another choice we make, were not the shallow ones who spend all their money on holidays/cars/works of art - no we're deeper than that. Take a look at Keri Smith site for another view on advertising and other great but perhaps slightly subversive stuff .

And now Number 6 Humanism

Humanism these days is often tethered to Atheism/Agnosticism but has roots back to the big 3 (Socrates,Plato and  Aristotle) who had placed the 'human' centrre stage in their philosophising.
Later from the 1500's as the Scientific revolution gathered pace their was a belief that human reason could discover the workings of everything.

On in the background/foreground listening to Vinyl- Excellent Birds by Laurie Anderson and Peter Gabriel