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Posts Tagged ‘Hermann Hesse’

Whatever happens, I have decided to exercise my will.  Even if I have to re-commence my difficult story ten times, a hundred times, and always arrive at the same cul-de-sac, just the same I will begin again a hundred times.  If I cannot assemble the pictures into a significant whole again, I will present each single fragment as faithfully as possible.  And as far as it is now still possible, I will be mindful of the first principle of our great period, never to rely on and let myself be disconcerted by reason, always to know that faith is stronger than so-called reality.
  —  Hermann Hesse
From his book: “The Journey To The East
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On This Day In:
2015 Absorbed And Civilized
2014 Relax And Lead
2013 Location, Location, Location
2012 Are You Really Good?
2011 Relatively Objective, Anyway

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“It was only possible for me to do it,” he said, “because it was necessary.  I either had to write the book or be reduced to despair; it was the only means of saving me from nothingness, chaos and suicide.  The book was written under this pressure and brought me the expected cure, simply because it was written, irrespective of whether it was good or bad.  That was the only thing that counted.  And while writing it, there was no need for me to think at all of any other reader but myself, or at the most, here and there another close war-comrade, and I certainly never thought then about the survivors, but always about those who fell in the war.  While writing it, I was as if delirious or crazy, surrounded by three or four people with mutilated bodies — that is how the book was produced.”
    —    Hermann Hesse
From his novel: “The Journey to the East
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On This Day In:
2015 Of Two Minds
2014 Pride And Remembrance
2013 Repeating Bad Memories
2012 No Sooner
2011 Just Cheesy!
Are You Illin’?

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Words do not express thoughts very well; everything immediately becomes a little different, a little distorted, a little foolish.  And yet it also pleases me and seems right that what is of value and wisdom to one man seems nonsense to another.
   —  Hermann Hesse
From his novel: “The Journey To The East
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On This Day In:
2014 A Real Fight
2013 Unravelling
2012 I Resolve
2011 Practice, Practice, Practice
2009 Phoenix Trip (July ’09)

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It was my destiny to join in a great experience.
   —   Herman Hesse
From his novel: “The Journey To The East
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On This Day In:
2014 Still Learning?
There Ain’t No Thing Like Me, ‘Cept Me!
2013 Little Lives
2012 Evolution
2011 Excellence At Performance = 10,000 Hours
2009 A Brief Poem…
Crater Lake Trip with James

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The Journey To The East”  —  book review
Today’s book review is for a book I finished last Saturday (July 11th), but never got around to posting about.  The book is: “The Journey To The East” (1956©), written by Hermann Hesse.  The book is supposedly autobiographically written by an un-named character “H. H.”, but as Hesse has written other books with main characters who share his initials, the intent seems to be to not make this novel personally semi-autobiographical.  “H. H.” is a member of a secret “League” which exists to assist its members in understanding life (via shared personal experiences) and in advancing civilization (via the creation of a vast library containing all of human knowledge).
The group on the journey with H. H. fails to reach their destination and the individual members lose faith in the League, with each other, and with themselves.  The author (H. H.), spends a good part of the rest of his life living as a “failure” and then decides to make himself whole by writing a book about the journey.  The problem is he can’t remember the specific details of his trip.  He seeks out a friend who’s advise is the find one of the other participants from his trip (Leo the servant) and to seek his (Leo’s) recollections.  Leo is not receptive at first and then he lets H. H. have access to the League’s library – which contains the sum of human knowledge, including entries about every single person (living or dead).
The journey to the East seems to be a metaphor for growing up, or more precisely, for going on a vision quest to seek the meaning of life.  The trip to the “East” is a trip to discover yourself and the realization from that discovery (for H. H.) is that the meaning of life is service to others.  Thus, “East” is not a direction of travel.  It is a destination.  Your “home”.
The novel is very short (120 pages) and can be read in a couple of hours.  It is a simple narrative told by the principal and is done in very straight forward language – so it’s easy to read.  I found the book interesting for a number of reasons.  The two main ones were (are): 1) the book created a reinforcing memory of a scene in the movie “Interstellar” where the main character is in a four dimensional representation of a library (actually behind a bookshelf in a bedroom); and, 2) because there are a lot of pseudo-Christian messages sprinkled throughout the book.  The meaning of life being service to others is just one of many such messages.
So, final recommendation:  Strong recommendation.  The book is short, easy to read and promotes thought for the reader about what is the purpose of life.  It worked for me…
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On This Day In:
2014 Pass The Soul
2013 Zapping Music And Art
2012 Not Quite Fantastic
That Kid Is Back
2011 Wolves At The Door
2010 I’m Feeling Patriotic… (Well, more than usual, anyway.)
Beating the Heat…

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