Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Story of my life, Hermann Hesse

I am rereading something that everyone should read in his or her lifetime. The book Steppenwolf, by Hesse.

When I say everyone, I don't really mean everyone.
I mean those who understand these words as grippingly as I do. Not those who read it and think well, I guess I've felt something like that before. I mean those upon whom these words resonate so strongly and so profoundly that they are left with a sort of bewildered feeling that anyone could possibly describe so accurately a sentiment that they did not believe was shared by anyone else.

If you feel that after reading this, go buy this book. And then find me and be my friend, if you're not already.


"There is much to be said for contentment and painlessness, for these bearable and submissive days, on which neither pain nor pleasure cry out, on which everyone only whispers and tiptoes around. But the worst of it is that it is just this contentment that I cannot endure. After a short time it fills me with irrepressible loathing and nausea. Then, in desperation, I have to escape into other regions, if possible on the road to pleasure, or, if that cannot be, on the road to pain.

When I have neither pleasure nor pain and have been breathing for a while the lukewarm insipid air of these so-called good and tolerable days, I feel so bad in my childish soul that I smash my rusty lyre of thanksgiving in the face of the slumbering god of contentment and would rather feel the most devilish pain burn in me than this warmth of a well-heated room. A wild longing for strong emotions and sensations seethes in me, a rage against this toneless, flat, normal and sterile life. I have a mad impulse to smash something, a warehouse perhaps, or a cathedral, or myself, to commit outrages .... For what I always hated and detested and cursed above all things was this contentment, this healthiness and comfort, this carefully preserved optimism of the middle classes, this fat and prosperous brood of mediocrity."

I don't expect many to understand this, and I mean that in the least pretentious way possible.

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