Notes from Status Anxiety – The Basics

Just finished Alain de Botton’s Status Anxiety (2004), a book I have long wanted to read. Most of it was enlightening; the ending was disappointing. The book generally aligns with mimetic theory and Girardian ideas; I’ve added a G near comments that seem to do so particularly.

THE BASICS

Status is position in society, one’s value or importance in the eyes of the world. In the west, it’s increasingly tied to financial achievement.

Consequences of high status: resources, freedom, sense of being cared for, space, time, being thought valuable, comfort.

Status is conferred in flattery, laughter, invitations, deference, attention.

Status anxiety is the pernicious worry about the danger of failing to conform to ideals of success laid down by society. We’re anxious because our self-concept is dependent on what others make of us. G

Chapter 1, Lovelessness

Chapter 2, Expectation

Chapter 3, Meritocracy

Chapter 4, Snobbery

Chapter 5, Dependence

Solutions: Philosophy

Solutions: Art

Solutions: Politics

Solutions: Religion

Solutions: Bohemia


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