Wednesday, October 23, 2013

While Unpacking Books at Our New Home - Thoughts from Hermann Hesse

After six weeks of living with family, we are finally in our home in Collierville, TN and we unpacking and arranging things.  I've kept some of my books for forty years now and am once again wondering about throwing some of them away.  I picked up one by Hermann Hesse just now.  He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1946.  The book is Magister Ludi, which originally I read in 1973. Had not looked at it since then and as it was about to be tossed into the recycle pile I accidentally noticed a few things I'd underlined back when I was 22 years old.  Late in the book the main character describes a man he knew who I think fits with a model human from Hesse's perspective.

Granted there are those among us who are to easily satisfied, who enjoy a sham serenity; but in contrast to them we also have men and generations of men whose serenity is not playful shallowness, but earnest depth.  ..  In the last years of his life this man possessed the virtue of serenity to such a degree that it radiated from him like the light from a star; so much that it was transmitted to all in the form of benevolence, enjoyment of life, good humor, trust and confidence.  It continued to radiate outward from all who received it, all who had absorbed its brightness.... 
Even though whole peoples and languages have attempted to fathom the depths of the universe in myths, cosmogonies, and religions, their supreme, their ultimate attainment has been this cheerfulness.

I think I'll hold onto this book and give it another read.  Don't remember my 22 year old self being impressed with that but I'm glad to have come across it now.  There is something of value there. Previously on this blog I quoted extensively from something Hesse wrote about trees.  That one has stayed with me consciously for all these years.

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