Wealden autumn, Sussex, England;  Hazhir Teimourian.

The Consolations of Autumn : Sages in Hard Times
“ ... a wonderful, wide-ranging book. I had been planning to read it at a later date, because of my workload, but I keep dipping into it and not wanting to re-emerge.” Sarah Montague,  presenter,  the Today Programme,  BBC Radio 4. How   did   the   great   sages   of   the   past   try   to   remain   functional   human   beings   in   the   face   of   loss,   misfortune,   illness, old   age,   even   social   calamity?   How   did   they   fight   the   lonely   battles   that   most   of   us   will   have   to   fight   at   one   or other   stage   of   our   lives?   How   did   their   particular   experience   of   life   equip   them   for   those   battles?   To   what   extent did   they   succeed?   Was   it   hard   to   lead   a   semblance   of   a   normal   life   to   enable   them   to   be   useful   to   those   near   them? Could they justify remaining a little detached when civilisation itself collapsed around them? As    he    approached    the    75 th     year    of    his    life,    and    as    he    saw    chunks    of    the    world    seemingly    descend    into Malthusian    turmoil,    the    political    commentator    Hazhir    Teimourian    sought    inspiration    in    the    lives    of    the philosophers,   artists   and   scientists   he   admired.   He   found   that   for   some,   the   challenge   was   almost   continuous. These   included   Socrates,   Darwin   and   Pasternak.   For   a   few,   such   as   Boethius   and   Beethoven,   darkness   fell   early. For   yet   others,   such   as   Seneca   the   statesman,   the   end   arrived   reasonably   late,   but   did   so   suddenly   and   brutally. Nearer   our   time,   Bertrand   Russell   sought   refuge   from   depression   during   the   First   World   War   in   work   and   in involvement with public affairs. Teimourian   sought   strength   also   in   the   works   of   the   poets,   for   poets   invoke   beauty,   love   and   longing,   joy   and sorrow,   to   speak   to   our   hearts.   So   a   segment   of   this   book   is   an   anthology   of   poems   that   have   enriched   his   life   over the   years.   They   include   a   few   by   himself   that   he   wrote   in   exceptional   moments   of   sorrow   or   elation.   But   he   has chosen   them   in   a   spirit   of   realism.   Misfortunes   and   calamities   such   as   illness,   bereavement   and   social   collapse cannot   be   underplayed   with   the   preacher   of   serenity   remaining   credible.   Thus   the   anthology   includes   sections   on loss and solace, as well as on love, joy and hope. The   book   ends   with   an   appendix   of   four   autobiographical   talks   commissioned   by   BBC   Radio   4   and   praised   by the   press.   They   tell   the   author’s   own   unusual   story,   his   journey   from   a   remote   mountainside   in   Kurdish   Middle East   to   the   most   exclusive   halls   of   London.   Hopefully,   they   will   cast   a   little   more   light   on   what   he   says   elsewhere in the book. Readers   may   also   be   interested   in   the   occasional   ‘blog’   that   Teimourian   writes   under   the   title   of   Reflections   on a Drifting Humanity ’. They can be found in the WordPress site: www.HazhirTeimourian1.Wordpress.com   .
Hazhir Teimourian