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Why are we so interested in Malaysian flight MH370? Alain de Botton, British author and philosopher argues it brings death into focus and this makes us consider who we are and what we are doing with our lives. Below is a recent interview with Tom Tilley ( Triple J ) and  Alain de Botton. In this interview he explains that in order for us to care about a disaster, we have to be able to imagine what life was like for these people before the event occurred. If we can do this, then we have a context for understanding the tragedy and how it relates to the people involved and also indeed how it then becomes relevant to us. Plane disasters are so easy for us to identify with because plane travel has become such a common occurrence. We can conjure an image of boarding a plane,  and then feeling totally vulnerable as we become embroiled in a tragedy that may with a moment’s notice end our life. In our busy daily life, we have an inbuilt resistance which causes us not to dwell upon our inevitable death. We do not like the uncertainty it provokes within us and the profound lack of control it makes us feel.  Yet this stark reality becomes immediately apparent to us when we read about the Malaysian Flight MH370 disappearance. De Botton’s point that these disaster stories create free floating anxieties in us is a good one.  It is true that tragedy gets us to consider the big questions, but doesn’t really provide us with a way of processing them in relation to ourselves. If you catch yourself obsessing about trauma in the news, perhaps you may be trying to process

  • what do I believe,
  • what do I  need
  • how do I give my life purpose and meaning?

If you cannot come up with some good responses to these questions then maybe you would like to think about it a bit more. If so, you could try:

  • journalling
  • talking to friends / family to help work out a sense of direction and purpose
  • or use therapy as a means of sorting out what you are doing with your life. This will help you to get out of confusion and move towards a focused direction that is right for you. If so, I would be happy to help you sort through this important process. If any of this resonates for you ~ be brave and take the first important step….Meanwhile have a listen to the interview below.

Tom Tilley  speaks with Alain De Botton, British author and philosopher.