“Travels with Epicurus”

An extract I found in the back of the book “Travels with Epicurus” by Daniel Klein. A satirical irony of the mentality and outlook of Americans versus European Lifestyle. This is one of the best travel philosophy books I’ve picked up in awhile!

Epicureanism as a Living Philosophy Today

imageAegean islanders like to tell a joke about a prosperous Greek American who visits one of the islands onvacation. Out on a walk, the affluent Greek American comes upon an old Greekman sitting on a rock, sipping a glass of ouzo, and lazily staring at the sunsetting into the sea. The American notices there are olive trees growing on the hills behind the old Greek but that they are untended, with olives just dropping here and there onto the ground. He asks the old man who the trees belong to and here’s the excerpt to the conversation.

‘They’re mine,’ the Greek replies.

‘Don’t you gather the olives?’ the American asks.

‘I just pick one when I want one,’ the old man says.

‘But don’t you realize that if you pruned the trees and picked the olives at their peak, you could sell them? In America, everybody is crazy about virgin olive oil, and they pay a damned good price for it.’

‘What would I do with the money?’ the old Greek asks.

‘Why, you could build yourself a big house and hire servants to do everything for you.’

‘And then what would I do?’

‘You could do anything you want!’

‘You mean, like sit outside and sip ouzo at sunset?’

Read a chapter extract here

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