My father paid for my education; then he made it clear that I was on my own.

When I see someone like Richard Dawkins, I see my father. I grew up with that. I'm basically the child of Richard Dawkins.

I guess my overall life plan is to think about issues that concern me and try to use culture generally to make sense of them. I'm more worried that I'm going to die before I've had time.

I think people want to get married to end their emotional uncertainty. In a way, they want to end powerful feelings, or certainly the negative ones.

As in all areas, we can improve how good we are at loving another person.

The essential argument in the book, 'Art as Therapy,' is that art enjoys such financial and cultural prestige that it's easy to forget the confusion that persists about what it's really for.

The claims I'm making for art are simply the claims that we naturally make around music or around poetry. We're much more relaxed around those art forms. We're willing to ask, 'How could this find a place in my heart?'

The person who is truly best suited to us is not the person who shares our tastes, but the person who can negotiate differences in taste intelligently and wisely.

The death of marriage has been announced so often and would seem so normal, in a sense. So what's surprising is the sheer longevity and tenacity of this institution.

The arrogance that says analysing the relationship between reasons and causes is more important than writing a philosophy of shyness or sadness or friendship drives me nuts. I can't accept that.

When work is not going well, it's useful to remember that our identities stretch beyond what is on the business card, that we were people long before we became workers - and will continue to be human once we have put our tools down forever.

Work is a way of bringing order to chaos, and there's a basic satisfaction in seeing that we are able to make something a little more coherent by the end of the day.

Learning to give up on perfection may be just about the most romantic move any of us could make.

There's something called religion, and it was invented a long time ago by people who felt very out of control with their lives, who didn't know... why the sun always rose over the mountains.

The idea of a book that can make a change to your life, that can affect your perspective, is a beautiful and great ambition: one that Seneca, Nietzsche and Tolstoy would have sympathised with.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the public's relationship to art has been weakened by a profound institutional reluctance to address the question of what art is for. This is a question that has, quite unfairly, come to feel impatient, illegitimate, and a little impudent.

My greatest joy comes from creativity: from feeling that I have been able to identify a certain aspect of human nature and crystallise a phenomenon in words.

Laughter is an important part of a good relationship. It's an immense achievement when you can move from your thinking that your partner is merely an idiot to thinking that they are that wonderfully complex thing called a loveable idiot. And often that means having a little bit of a sense of humour about their flaws.

I like working with people. I believe change can only come through collaboration.

Many of our ideas of what love is comes from stories... these are extremely powerful shapers of our attitudes towards love, and I think that, in some ways, often we've got the wrong story.

We are properly ready for marriage when we are strong enough to embrace a life of frustration.

We have to put aside the customary historical reading of works of art in order to invite art to respond to certain quite specific pains and dilemmas of our psyches.

It's clear to me that there is no good reason for many philosophy books to sound as complicated as they do.

Katie Price is no exception. She, too, is - in a distinctive way - a philosopher. Partially, Katie Price's philosophy is one of extraordinary confidence. She is remarkable not for her looks or antics but because of her tremendous self-assurance and her unwillingness to be intimidated by criticism or failure.

The modern world thinks of art as very important: something close to the meaning of life.

I tell my children what I think myself: That religion is not necessarily convincing, but it is still interesting and not to be laughed at or denigrated.

I love the idea of a university as away from capitalist values, where people can do things that don't immediately have to pay their way. It's like a monastery in a way, and that beautiful refuge has been destroyed by dogma about what this stuff is for.

We must study love the way we study anything else that matters.

The problem with airports is that we go there when we need to catch a plane - and because it's so difficult to find the way to the gate, we tend not to look around at our surroundings.

I am a very aesthetic person.

Parents become very good at not hearing the explicit words and listening instead to what the child means but doesn't yet know how to say: 'I'm lonely, in pain, frightened' - distress which then unfairly comes out as an attack on the safest, kindest, most reliable thing in the child's world: the parent.

I'm fascinated by Comte's clear-eyed analysis of what was wrong with modern society, which is that you've got industrial capitalism on one side and romantic love on the other. Those, along with non-instrumental art, are supposed to get you through the day?

Compatibility is an achievement of love; it shouldn't be its precondition.

Love is something that we need to learn.

The philosophy I love is very selective. It is really just the bit that is involved in a search for wisdom, and this means a short roll call of names; Socrates, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Epicurus, Montaigne, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche.

It's great to get an 'F', but you also want to give the sense that there's something outside achievement. I've seen a lot of so-called high-achievers who don't feel they've achieved much.

We may seek a fortune for no greater reason than to secure the respect and attention of people who would otherwise look straight through us.

Social media has lots of benefits, but compared to Christianity, it tends to group people by interests. Religion puts you with people who have nothing in common except that you're human.

I am not a foodie, thank goodness. I will eat pretty much anything. A lot of my friends are getting incredibly fussy about food and I see it as a bit of an affliction.

Where is instruction in relationships, in the management of career, in the raising of children, in the pursuit of friendship, in the wise approach to anxiety and death? All this sort of stuff I craved to learn about when I was a student and down to this day.

To a shameful extent, the charm of marriage boils down to how unpleasant it is to be alone.

I like the values associated with a medical family - common sense, being practical but also thoughtful.

Sometimes I say to people, 'Do you think you're easy to live with?' People who are single. And the ones who say, 'Yeah, yeah, I'm pretty easy to live with; it's just a question of finding the right person,' massive alarm bell rings in my mind.

I'm one of those introverted people who simply feels a lot better after spending time alone thinking through ideas and emotions. This is a sign, I've come to think, of a kind of emotional disturbance - a reaction to inner fragility. I wish I were more able to just act and do, rather than constantly have to retreat and examine and think.

Pick up any newspaper or magazine, open the TV, and you'll be bombarded with suggestions of how to have a successful life. Some of these suggestions are deeply unhelpful to our own projects and priorities - and we should take care.

The humanities have been forced to disguise, both from themselves and their students, why their subjects really matter, for the sake of attracting money and prestige in a world obsessed by the achievements of science.

I think a certain degree of pessimism is actually helpful to love.

A gray V-neck pullover from Gap. I have 30 of them.

All tours are filled with humiliation. My publisher once hired a private jet to fly me to a venue where 1,000 people were waiting. It almost bankrupted him.