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I Kan't Spell



Thursday, August 28, 2003

 
Hesse : Damien

Excerpts from the book. I found this book fascinating and shockingly touching. A nice short quick read which
may flash some lights inside your head.

Pg. 53 - Speaking to Damien after the story of Cain and Able has made it's predominant place in the story.
    "I can see that your thoughts are deeper than you yourself are able to express. But since this is so, you know, don't you, that you've never liked what you are thinking and that isn't good. Only the ideas that we actually live are of any value."

Pg. 54 - Attempting to convince Sinclair to break free from his traditional molds.
    That is why each of us has to find out for himself what is permitted and what is forbidden. It's possible for one never to transgress a single law and still be a bastard. And vice versa. Actually it's only a question of convenience. Those who are too lazy and comfortable to think for themselves and be their own judges obey the laws. Others sense their own laws...Each person must stand on his own two feet"

Pg. 64 - Sinclair chooses the average life during his college years
    "Nonetheless, I felt wretched. I lived in an orgy of self-destruction and, while my friends regarded me as a leader and as a damned sharp and funny fellow, deep down inside me my soul grieved."

Pg. 66 - See pg 64. in relation to his slob ways.
    "In my odd and unattractive way of quarreling with the world - this was my way of protesting."

Pg. 77 - Sinclair realizes his own potential. He focuses on the (excuse me here) "The art of living". He has found a peer who tells him of the rediculous aspects of religion and this sparks him to the thirst for knowledge and saves him from expulsion from family and school.
    "This change did not bring me into the community of the others, did not make me closer to anyone, but actually made me even lonelier"

Pg. 91 - This made me think of archetypes (not that I fully understand them) Again Sinclair is still with the peer who says this to him. He is about to break ties with this man and break out of his own shell open to the world.
    "We always define the limits of our personality too narrowly. In general, we count as part of our personality only that which we can recognize as an individual trait or as diverging from the norm. But we can consist of everything the world consists of, each of us, and just as our body contains the genealogical table of evolution as far back as the fish and even much further, so we bear everything in our soul that once was alive in the soul of men. Every god and devil that ever existed, be it among the Greeks, Chinese, or Zulus, are within us, exist as latent possibilities, as wishes, as alternatives. If the human race were to vanish from the face of the earth save for one halfway talented child that had received no education, this child would rediscover the entiore course of evolution, it would be capable of producing everything once more, gods and demons, paradises, commandments, the Old and the New testament"

Pg. 97 - Struck a chord in me, considering how often I not only use the word "hate", but actually think I feel the emotion of hate. Plus that last sentence in the first part says so much about our own personal interests.
    "If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us....The things we see are the same things that are within us. That is why so many people live such an unreal life. They take the images outside them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself. You can be happy that way. But once you know the other interpretation you no longer have the choice of following the crowd. ...the majorities path is an easy one ours is difficult."

Pg. 107 - Sinclair talks about the seperation from mentor or father. The need to break from the known light and find his own.
    "But where we have given of our love and respect not from habit but of our own inmost hearts, it is a bitter and horrible moment when we suddenly recoginze that the current within us wants to pull us away from what is dearest to us. Then every thought that rejects the friend and mentor turn into our own hearts like a poisoned barb, then each blow struck in defense flies back into one's own face, the words 'disloyalty' and 'ingratitude' strike the person who feels he was morally sound like catcalls and stigma, and the frightened heart flees timidly back to the charmed valleys of childhood virtues, unable to believe that this break, too, must be made, this bond also broken."

Pg. 111 - Sinclair talks about the search for a vocation and how the decision on a path of work is trivial. The only path is inward to yourself.
    "Each man had only one genuine vocation - to find the way to himself. He might end up a poet or madman, as prophet or criminal - that was not his affair, ultimately it was of no concern. His task was to discover his own destiny - not an arbitrary one - and live it out wholly and resolutely within himself. Everything else was only a would-be existance, an attempt at evasion, a flight back to the ideals of the masses, conformity and fear of one's own inwardness.

Pg. 119 - Talking about the ideals of man as a general communion,. He goes on to foreshadow by saying that is does not exist. He says that the community spirit is only a manifestation of the herd.
    "It will reveal bankruptcy of present-day ideals, there will be a sweeping away of stone age gods. The world, as it is now, wants to die, wants to perish - and it will."

Pg. 120 - Talking about the plight of the common man and the nightmare that we never see creep on us. Nor do we see it as a nightmare. It merely resounds as reality. This passage made me get up and go to the mirror.
    "I remembered civil servants in my home town, worthy old gentlemen who clung to the memories of their drunken university days as to keepsakes from paradise and fashioned a cult of their vanished student years as poets or other romantics fashion their childhood. It was the same everywhere! Everywhere they looked for "freedom" and "luck" in the past, out of sheer dread of their present responsibilities and future course. They drank and caroused for a few years and then they slunk away to become serious minded gentlemen in the service of the state."

Pg. 122 - Talking of going home. This struck a chord considering...
    "One never reaches home. But where paths that have affinity for each other intersect, the whole world looks like home, for a time."


So what does all this mean to me? Have you ever thought about greatness and what it would take.Have you lusted after the thought of immortality or triumph unbeknownst to anything you could imagine inside your own dying world. I did. I thought I might actually achieve it at one point. I was younger and unhumbled by the world. Reading this gave me more incentive to redefine those paths that once held the future for me but were never drawn or mapped out. I wanted the glory without wanting to travel the arduous road.

It also kicks off some sort of paradoxical spiral that can never end. It sort of makes me think that the things that stuck out in the story are the only things that I myself can identify with. There were probably hundreds of points to be made in the book but these were the ones that stuck with me. Why? Is it a reflection of myself? But, I don't think I would have even noticed these half of those things had it not been for what I have read recently about archetypes. So what does that mean, does that mean as I learn then I grow somehow genetically and internally to be able to receive more things from the world. I think it does mean that...woohoo!

Sidenote- I just realized that all of Hesse's stuff is translated. I wonder if it was one guy who did all his books. I mean they all have the same tone. It's just truly awesome the way he writes. He is a novelist of ideas as opposed to one of stories. He was also studying CSJ at the time. He carries with him this ultimate morality, like Kundera. Read Siddartha! That's the only book my father ever gave me...

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