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June 26 , 2008

Middle Age


Middle age, for many, marks a key period for a radical reappraisal of one's life and way of living. The sense of time running out, both from the perspective that one's life has ground to a halt, and from the point of view of the greater closeness of death, and the sense of loneliness engendered by the compromised and wasteful nature of life, become ever clearer in mid-life, and can lead to a period of dramatic self doubt.In this book, the philosopher Christopher Hamilton (early 40s) explores the moods, emotions and experiences of middle age in the contemporary world, seeking to describe and analyze that period of life philosophically. Hamilton draws on his own personal experiences of turning 40 as well as a wide range of sources - from the philosophical writings of Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Hegel, Heidegger to the literature of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Conrad and the films of Woody Allen - to offer us a philosophy of middle age.Some of the many fascinating themes explored include the strong sense of nostalgia experienced in mid-life, of loss for one's youth, and of regret, the sense that life has become boring, the recognition that one can never fully escape feelings of guilt, and - central to the experience of middle age - the question of what is the point of going on at all. In the light of the 'melancholy wisdom' of mid-life Hamilton suggests that pleasure becomes much more important than at previous stages of life and he shows that the enjoyment of pleasure can be something noble.Insightful, entertaining, and thought-provoking, "Middle Age" is fascinating reading and for anyone heading for a 'mid-life crisis' it is much cheaper than buying a sports car.
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