Herman Hesse

Herman
Hesse
1877
1962

German-Swiss Poet, Novelist and Painter, Nobel Prize in Literature

Author Quotes

No matter how inflexibly the world was clamoring for war and heroism, honor and other outmoded ideals, no matter how remote and unlikely every voice that apparently spoke up for humanity sounded, all of that was merely superficial, just as the question of the external and political aims of the war remained superficial. Deep down, something was evolving. Something like a new humanity. Because I could see people, and a number of them died alongside me, who had gained the new emotional insight that hatred and rage, killing and destroying, were not linked to the specific object if that rage. But the object, just like the aims, were completely accidental. Those primal feelings, even the wildest of them, were not directed against the enemy; their bloody results were merely an outward materialization of people's inner life, the split within their souls, which desired to rage and kill, destroy and die, so that they could be reborn.

No, there was no power in the world in its power to convince me to test the enormous horror of another confrontation with the self, to face re other organization, embodies another, where they will remain there in the last path of peace and tranquility, but the destruction of eternity of the self for self - renewal.

Novelists when they write novels tend to take an almost godlike attitude toward their subject, pretending to a total comprehension of the story, a man's life, which they can therefore recount as God Himself might, nothing standing between them and the naked truth, the entire story meaningful in every detail. I am as little able to do this as the novelist is, even though my story is more important to me than any novelist's is to him - for this is my story; it is the story of a man, not of an invented, or possible, or idealized, or otherwise absent figure, but of a unique being of flesh and blood, Yet, what a real living human being is made of seems to be less understood today than at any time before, and men - each one of whom represents a unique and valuable experiment on the part of nature - are therefore shot wholesale nowadays. If we were not something more than unique human beings, if each one of us could really be done away with once and for all by a single bullet, storytelling would lose all purpose. But every man is more than just himself; he also represents the unique, the very special and always significant and remarkable point at which the world's phenomena intersect, only once in this way and never again. That is why every man's story is important, eternal, sacred; that is why every man, as long as he lives and fulfills the will of nature, is wondrous, and worthy of every consideration. In each individual the spirit has become flesh, in each man the creation suffers, within each one a redeemer is nailed to the cross.

Oh, I know today: nothing in the world is the human conflict more than to go the way which leads him to himself!

Once it happened, as I lay awake at night, that I suddenly spoke in verses, in verses so beautiful and strange that I did not venture to think of writing them down, and then in the morning they vanished; and yet they lay hidden within me like the hard kernel within an old brittle husk.

Only the weak are put on paths without peril.

Pain and colors of frustration and depression for no saddened and of the value and dignity, but was found to make us mature and serenity.

Psychoanalysis has at bottom no other goal than to create a space within oneself in which God?s voice can be heard.

Sensuality isn't worth a hair more than spirituality, and it's the same the other way around. It's all one, everything is equally good. Whether you embrace a woman or make a poem, it's the same. So long as the main thing is there, the love, the burning, the emotion, it doesn't matter whether you are a monk on Mount Athos or a man about town in Paris.

No more reality than we have inside. So most humans live so unrealiztically; because he believes that external images are reality and not allow your own inner world manifest.

No, there was no teaching a truly searching person, someone who truly wanted to find, could accept. But he who had found, he could approve of any teachings, every path, every goal, there was nothing standing between him and all the other thousand any more who lived in that what is eternal, who breathed what is divine.

Now and then I have expressed the opinion that every nation, and every person, would do better, instead of rocking himself to sleep with political catchwords about war-guilt, to ask himself how far his own faults and negligencies and evil tendencies are guilty of the war and all the other wrongs of the world, and that there lies the only possible means of avoiding the next war.

Oh, if I had had a friend at this moment, a friend in an attic room, dreaming by candlelight and with a violin lying ready at his hand! How I should have slipped up to him in his quiet hour, noiselessly climbing the winding stair to take him by surprise, and then with talk and music we should have held heavenly festival throughout the night!

Once, he said to her: You are like me, you are different from most people. You are Kamala, nothing else, and inside of you, there is a peace and refuge, to which you can go at every hour of the day and be at home at yourself, as I can also do. Few people have this, and yet all could have it.

Only time separates man from all yearning.

Painting is marvelous; it makes you happier and more patient. Afterwards you do not have black fingers as with writing, but blue and red ones.

Quite a number of people are able to feel the beauty of the world profoundly and vastly, and to carry high, noble images in their souls, but they are unable to exteriorize these images, to create them for the enjoyment of others, to communicate Them.

Sentimentality is a basking in feelings that in reality you don't take seriously enough to make the slightest sacrifice to or ever translate into action.

No one ever arrives home, she said amiably. But when the paths of friends meet, the whole world looks like home for a while.

Nobody really knew anything. People lived; they went here and there about the earth and rode through forests; so much seemed to challenge or to promise, and so many sights to stir our longing: an evening star, a blue harebell, a lake half-covered in green reeds, the eyes of beasts and human eyes; and always it was as though something would happen, something never seen and yet sighed for, as though a veil would be pulled back off the world; till the feeling passed, and there had been nothing.

Now Siddhartha also got some idea of why he had fought this self in vain as a Brahman, as a penitent. Too much knowledge had held him back, too many holy verses, too many sacrificial rules, to much self-castigation, so much doing and striving for that goal! Full of arrogance, he had been, always the smartest, always working the most, always one step ahead of all others, always the knowing and spiritual one, always the priest or wise one. Into being a priest, into this arrogance, into this spirituality, his self had retreated, there it sat firmly and grew, while he thought he would kill it by fasting and penance. Now he saw it and saw that the secret voice had been right, that no teacher would ever have been able to bring about his salvation. Therefore, he had to go out into the world, lose himself to lust and power, to woman and money, had to become a merchant, a dice-gambler, a drinker, and a greedy person, until the priest and Samana in him was dead. Therefore, he had to continue bearing these ugly years, bearing the disgust, the teachings, the pointlessness of a dreary and wasted life up to the end, up to bitter despair, until Siddhartha the lustful, Siddhartha the greedy could also die. He had died, a new Siddhartha had woken up from the sleep. He would also grow old, he would also eventually have to die, mortal was Siddhartha, mortal was every physical form. But today he was young, was a child, the new Siddhartha, and was full of joy.

Oh, if only it were possible to find understanding, Joseph exclaimed. If only there were a dogma to believe in. Everything is contradictory, everything tangential; there are no certainties anywhere. Everything can be interpreted one way and then again interpreted in the opposite sense. The whole of world history can be explained as development and progress and can also be seen as nothing but decadence and meaninglessness. Isn?t there any truth? Is there no real and valid doctrine? The Master had never heard him speak so fervently. He walked on in silence for a little, then said: There is truth, my boy. But the doctrine you desire, absolute, perfect dogma that alone provides wisdom, does not exist. Nor should you long for a perfect doctrine, my friend. Rather, you should long for the perfection of yourself. The deity is within you, not in ideas and books. Truth is lived, not taught. Be prepared for conflicts, Joseph Knecht?I can see they have already begun.

One can acquire money, fame and distinction, but one cannot create happiness or unhappiness, not for oneself or for others. One can only accept what comes, although one can, to be sure, accept it in entirely different ways.

Only when I found myself sitting in front of you did I realize that my wish was only half fulfilled and that my sole aim was to sit next to you.

Parting was there, it was autumn, fate, after the summer rose had smelt so ripe and fully was.

Author Picture
First Name
Herman
Last Name
Hesse
Birth Date
1877
Death Date
1962
Bio

German-Swiss Poet, Novelist and Painter, Nobel Prize in Literature