On Habit

Topics: Writing, Essay, Alain de Botton Pages: 2 (669 words) Published: April 27, 2011
In On Habit, Alain de Botton writes about how people become habituated and believe there is nothing left to see or learn about the certain location they are in. In this essay, Botton discovers an attitude to approach places we think we already know, and no longer find interest in. This mindset is intended for the environment you are in, but can also be apply to styles of reading and writing. Botton had arrived to London from a trip to Barbados only to realize his home city hadn’t changed one bit. He stated that he came back to London, “To find that the city had stubbornly refused to change” (Botton 47). After reading some of Xavier de Maistre’s work, Botton realized he had to approach his neighborhood with a different mindset to appreciate it and discover new things. He took a walk around his neighborhood with a travelling mindset, as if everything around him was something new. Botton discovered new things and learn to appreciate the buildings and site that were already there. When we get use to one place we become habituated, and think there is really nothing special about it. “It seems inconceivable that there could be anything new to find in a place which we have lived in for a decade or more. We become habituated and therefore we become blind” (Botton 50). The reason people go on vacations is to get away from where they normally live because that place isn’t amusing anymore. Botton is saying that if we look at our current location as somewhere new, we will find things we never really noticed. This travelling mindset can be applied to reading and writing.

It is beneficial to use a “travelling” mindset when reading. When we read we tend to sometimes skip over things or not understand what we read. If we re-read things and read closely, we will understand the text better. We could pick up on things we missed in the beginning. This process is called Close Reading. Close reading is paying close attention to the words and finding a deeper meaning which might not...
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