That last post was mostly an incoherent babble. I think what I wrote there was mostly an attempt to establish the blog -- a "lorem ipsum dolar" so to speak. (sigh)

It doesn't take a month to read a 200 page book. It may take that long for a book on philosophy. I think it would be best for the "future me" to just list all the phrases, sentences and paragraphs from Alain de Botton's The Consolations of Philosopy that I either found relevant for the "future" or profound for the present. I realize that this book was an introduction to one perspective on philosophy but I think it had quite a few positive qualities in it to warrant its inclusion here.

In conversations, my priority was to be liked, rather than to speak the truth. A desire to please led me to laugh at modest jokes like a parent on the opening night of a school play. (7)

Every society has notions of what one should believe and how one should behave in order to avoid suspicion and unpopularity... To start questioning these conventions would seem bizarre, even aggressive. If common sense is cordoned off from questions, it is because its judgments are deemed plainly too sensible to be the targets of scrutiny. (9)

...Our will to doubt can be just as powerfully sapped by an internal sense that societal conventions must have a sound basis, even if we are not sure exactly what this may be, because they have been adhered to by a great many people for a long time. It seems implausible that our society could be gravely mistaken in its beliefs and at the same time that we would be alone in noticing the fact. We stifle our doubts and follow the flock because we cannot conceive of ourselves as pioneers of hitherto unknown, difficult truths. (13) seemed that those Socrates spoke to barely knew what they were talking about. (17)

Socrates encourages us not to be unnerved by the confidence of people who fail to respect this complexity and formulate their views without at least as much rigour as a potter.  What is declared obvious and 'natural rarely is so. Recognition of this should teach us to think that the world is more flexible than it seems, for the established views have frequently emerged not through a process of faultless reasoning, but through centuries of intellectual muddle. There may be no good reason for things to be the way they are. (23)

...But we risk not knowing how to respond to people who don't agree with us, unless we have first thought through the objections to our position logically... how to respond rationally to objections as true opinion, and contrasted it unfavourably with knowledge, which involved understanding not only why something was true, but also why its alternatives were false. (25)

If we cannot match such composure, if we are prone to burst into tears after only a few harsh words about our character or achievements, it may be because the approval of others forms an essential part of our capacity to believe that we are right. We feel justified in taking unpopularity seriously not only for pragmatic reasons, for reasons of promotion or survival, but more importantly because being jeered at can seem an equivocal sign that we have gone astray. ... Socrates would naturally have conceded that there are times when we are in the wrong and should be made to doubt our views, but he would have added a vital detail to alter our sense of truth's relation to unpopularity: errors in our thought and way of life can at no point and in no way ever be proven simply by the fact that we have run into opposition. (29)

It may be frightening to hear that a high proportion of a community holds us to be wrong, but before abandoning our position, we should consider the method by which their conclusions have been reached. It is the soundness of their method of thinking that should determine the weight we give to their disapproval. (30)

...Social life is beset with disparities between others' perceptions of us and our reality. We are accused of stupidity when we are being cautious. Our shyness is taken for arrogance and our desire to please for sycophancy. We struggle to clear up a misunderstanding, but our throat goes dry and the words found are not the ones meant. (40-41)