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Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek…

Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a… (edition 2012)

by Daniel Klein (Author)

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2551670,194 (3.84)27
Describes how the author journeyed to Greece with a suitcase full of philosophy books in order to learn how to achieve a fulfilling old age, explaining how he came to regard old age as a life stage filled with simple and heady pleasures.
Title:Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life
Authors:Daniel Klein (Author)
Info:Penguin Books (2012), Edition: 1, 176 pages
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Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life by Daniel Klein



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Life used to find its fullfilment in Old Age, followed by Death, but nowadays there's Old Age, Old Old Age and Death, and come to think of it Old Age isn't considered old any more. Daniel Martin Klein (b. 1939) embarked on his second youth in his early seventies. Elaborating his story with the experience of his friends and acquaintances, presumably in the same age category, he shows readers how to find life fullfilment as propagated by Epicurus while you still can, that is before Old Old Age.

Eat what you like, go on smoking if you like it, get married (again) in advanced years, and remember "that prostitutes were welcome at Epicurus's table" (p.87). Throughout the book the author throws a remarkable number of philosophers across the table, not just Greek, but also pointing out existentialism and the need to make the most of your own life, while you can.

The moment "to pull the plug" (p.129) is before drifting into full-blown demetia. The final two chapters of the book are light-footed dalliances about depression and anxiety in old age and the praise for the Netherlands where "mercy killing" is now an option.

With all the tongue-in-cheek jokes and humour Travels with Epicurus is a bit over the top, but if you belong to the elderly, and unlike the author you do not have the money to start a second youth on a Greek island, perhaps the reading of this little book may cheer you up a bit. ( )
  edwinbcn | Mar 5, 2019 |
A good read for those of us moving up in years. ( )
  DanDiercks | Jun 21, 2018 |
I enjoyed this more than I thought and it took longer to read than I anticipated. Longer because there were many philosophical references that deserved exploring. More enjoyable because there was something charming about an old guy spending a month on a Greek island philosophising about getting old. This is not a self help book (a good thing) it simply offers a wide range of thought provoking insights into not just getting older but friendship, marriage and boredom to name a few. These are all interspersed with observations of the quiet goings on on the Greek island of Hydra, where the author thinks the locals have to some extent been following the advice of their philosophical ancient forefathers. Those well read in philosophy wouldn't get much from this, but for me it was accessible and interesting stuff. ( )
  Lord_Boris | Feb 21, 2017 |
First this was a Goodreads "First Reads" copy.

Very enjoyable read and a look at Epicurus philosophy. ( )
  yvonne.sevignykaiser | Apr 2, 2016 |
Author Daniel Klein has written a series of pop-philosophy books, the most well known being Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar.

Klein, in is seventies, was told that he needed to spend thousands of dollars for dental implants in order to avoid having 'an old man's smile'. He opts for dentures, and uses the money to go the Greek island of Hydra where he had previously lived for a short time in his youth. Hydra has no cars or motorized vehicles and residents live a more relaxed life, with time to sit at the local taverna and have a glass of ouzo while contemplating the state of the world.

It provides what Klein feels is the perfect setting to explore the aging process. He believes that the American quest for youth leaves older Americans struggling after what is now past and is no longer attainable. Klein is searching for what he calls an authentic old age – a life stage, where like a ship come to harbor, one can slow down and relish both the accomplishments in life and each moment one lives. He quotes a variety of philosophers including Epicurus, of course, as well as Heidegger, Neitzsche, Seneca and the philosophers he meets at the tavernas in Greece.

The book is very short and can be read in a few hours. It's by no means a deep or exhaustive look at the philosophy of aging, but since I don't have a philosophy background, I did find it an intriguing quick tour. However, even with my limited knowledge, it felt like splashing on the shallow shore of deep waters. And in his meditations, Klein totally leaves out aging women. Be warned that he makes no attempt at all to include any feminine thoughts on the subject. ( )
1 vote streamsong | Jul 2, 2015 |
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He is sitting at a wooden table at the far rim of the terrace of Dimitri's taverna in the village of Kamini on the Greek island Hydra.
Not what we have, but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance - Epicurus
It is not the young man who should be considered fortunate but the old man who has lived well, because the young man in his prime wanders much by chance, vacillating in his beliefs, while the old man has docked in the harbor, having safeguarded his true happiness. - Epicurus
In every real man a child is hidden who wants to play. - Friedrich Nietzsche
Memory is the mother of all wisdom. - Aeschylus
Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. - Jean-Paul Sartre
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