I have just re-read ‘Travels with Epicurus” in which the author, a 73-year-old Daniel Klein, travels to the Greek islands in his attempt to find the secret of growing old gracefully. Now, I’m not admitting to any self-interest as I think it may be more fun to grow old disgracefully rather than with grace alone (although if ‘Grace’ was of a like mind then that could be fun!).
Actually, I re-read only the first half because that was all I could cope with – I struggled with the second half on my original reading as it majored on philosophical bollocks and pretension at the expense of observation (and that, book club lovers, is my attempt at literary deconstruction). As an example of his pretension we find:
“Here in the Vlihos taverna, with people seated around me, I pull Heidegger’s ‘Introduction to Metaphysics’ out of my shoulder bag …”
Now, as someone whose knowledge of Heidegger stems entirely from Bruce’s Philosophers Song (“Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar who could think you under the table …“) I’m in no position to tilt at Klein’s philosophical windmills other than to note in passing that ‘deconstruction’ (Jacques Derrida’s school of literary criticism) as attempted above, actually drew on the work of Heidegger among others. See, I too can scribe pretentiously, but maybe I should stick with a Tom Sharpe quote that made me laugh:
“His had been an intellectual decision founded on his conviction that if a little knowledge was a dangerous thing, a lot was lethal.“