PDF The Hidden Pleasures of Life by Theodore Zeldin EPUB

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PDF The Hidden Pleasures Preface FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS! PROTEST! Ignore the horrors around you, amuseyourself, be happy! Make money, work hard, win power! Hide yourwrinkles! Are these and their likes the only weapons with which we candefend ourselves against the cruelties of life? Humanity is no longer whatit was when these now ancient forms of protection were invented. Weknow more than we ever did, and have suffered more disappointments thanwe can remember. We are now free to extricate ourselves from reliance oncorrupted versions of ideals that once seemed to radiate only beauty andhope. So I have set out to find others, hidden, unspoken or forgotten, byapproaching the history of human experience from a personal angle.Each of my chapters begins with the voice of a person from a differentepoch and civilisation confronting one of the big decisions that everyonehas to make, and responding with a story of their own experience. Thisdraws me into a conversation in which I ask what other answers might beavailable today, what opportunities were missed in the past, and whatpossibilities have opened up since then. The characters in this book are notheroes to emulate. I have chosen them partly because they have leftparticularly frank personal testimonies, suggesting that it is sometimeseasier to get to know more about the dead – when their private secrets arerevealed – than the living – who take so much care to conceal theirs – andpartly because they have inspired me with unexpected thoughts about whathumans could attempt in the future. They have stimulated me to search innew directions for what life can contain, to become aware of what I havemissed, and to distinguish between what humans are and the labels theystick on themselves. History is not just a record of what happened and whyit happened, but above all a provocation of the imagination.

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