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Travels with Epicurus by Daniel Klein

by Venky

Of all the ‘pet-dreads’, that a man/woman might possibly nurse, the most powerful one has to be of his/her impending mortality. As age withers and scars the body, the inevitable approach of the merciless Grim Reaper sends shivers of panic down many a frightened spine. Some of us try to deceive ourselves of this invariable end by putting our bodies through many torturous ‘therapies’. Botox and breast implants vie with one another to create an illusion that seems to offer some solace, albeit one of impermanence.

Is old age that intolerable a foe? Can the very process of aging be a beautiful cause to celebrate and thrive in? In the pursuit of this deeply intricate question, the best selling author and philosopher Daniel Klein undertakes a journey to the land of Epicurean Philosophy, Greece. Nestling into the idyllic setting of Hydra, and armed with a repertoire of philosophical books for company, Klein (seventy three himself) engages in an unbiased introspection of old age and its attendant tumults. He also derives inspiration from a few of his Greek friends (a man named Tasso in particular) as they seem to have a preternatural ability to take the onset of age in an unbelievably sporting and benevolent stride.

“Travels with Epicurus”, in a very moving yet steadfast way, takes on the challenges posed by the very last phase of life head on. Acknowledging the fact that fear is after all a natural outcome of a very fundamental human emotion and desire to live and keep living, the book also carefully tries to wean away the thoughts of immortality from the mind of one alarmed to face the proverbial casket. Klein teaches us in a remarkably simple and alluring manner that old age is not a phenomena to be abhorred and rejected, but that peculiar stage of life which when lived well, leads to a serene sense of peace, bliss and fulfillment.

“Travels With Epicurus” – A book to grow old with!

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