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    1. #1
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      An Author

      About the Man

      http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/l...e-autobio.html

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermann_Hesse

      So... let the discussions BEGIN!!

      *Moderator note: some posts below moved from discussion here: http://www.dreamviews.com/community/...ad.php?t=91948

      drew responded to a description of the Glass Bead Game from Hesse's novel Magister Ludi:

      Quote Originally Posted by drew
      Sounds like gratuitous mental masturbation.
      Last edited by Taosaur; 02-17-2010 at 06:04 AM. Reason: moving/merging to keep on topic

    2. #2
      widdershins modality Taosaur's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by drew View Post
      Sounds like gratuitous mental masturbation.
      Essentially. As best I understand it (and Hesse claimed no one ever did), the game was satire of academia, though he does portray the Magister Ludi as having found some form of enlightenment through mastering it. It's arguable, though, that the result of that wisdom was to see all the works of humanity that had elevated him to his position as futile.
      If you have a sense of caring for others, you will manifest a kind of inner strength in spite of your own difficulties and problems. With this strength, your own problems will seem less significant and bothersome to you. By going beyond your own problems and taking care of others, you gain inner strength, self-confidence, courage, and a greater sense of calm.Dalai Lama



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      Quote Originally Posted by Taosaur View Post
      Essentially. As best I understand it (and Hesse claimed no one ever did), the game was satire of academia, though he does portray the Magister Ludi as having found some form of enlightenment through mastering it. It's arguable, though, that the result of that wisdom was to see all the works of humanity that had elevated him to his position as futile.
      Here's a question. Why do all (or most) intellectually rigorous implementations of wisdom conclude with nihilism?

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      Sounds like gratuitous mental masturbation.
      Basically...

      As best I understand it (and Hesse claimed no one ever did), the game was satire of academia, though he does portray the Magister Ludi as having found some form of enlightenment through mastering it.
      Yep. Also, the 'version' that I partake in isn't quite as intense as Hesse made is out to be. And considering that he never went into any detail regarding the actual rules or processes of the game it's impossible to know exactly how to do it.

      My 'realistic' version works like this:
      -Compare any two things.

      It's as simple as that... it's already hard enough to do, so there's no use adding restrictions or anything like that. The way I play it is I get maybe 100 'subjects' and put them in a hat... I then shake the hat and pick one, then shake it again and pick a second. By having a random sample, largely without bias, it stresses the need for a very wide academic understanding of nearly everything considering the subjects range from music, art, philosophy, politics, historical events, sciences and everything inbetween. It's nice to just sit down, indulging yourself (coffee, smoke, whatever floats your boat), and let the two subjects stew in your mind... considering any possible similarities or differences. Really satisfying... just don't over do it or frustrate yourself. Sometimes I'll take a whole weekend to compile a list, or composition that seems good enough. I really hope some of you will try it, and not just shrug it off... it's great fun IMO.

      edit:
      Here's a question. Why do all (or most) intellectually rigorous implementations of wisdom conclude with nihilism?
      We could definately get into that, but lets keep it in another thread.

    5. #5
      widdershins modality Taosaur's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by drew View Post
      Here's a question. Why do all (or most) intellectually rigorous implementations of wisdom conclude with nihilism?
      Hrm. While this may be true of literary depictions of "rigorous implementations of wisdom," those depictions are generally made by we writers, who are no strangers to wisdom but tend to implement it the opposite of rigorously. Someone who has been rigorous in the cultivation of wisdom would be, for instance, a Buddhist master, and in that case the pursuit tends to lead to compassion, discernment, and levity.

      Hesse was fascinated with Buddhism and incorporated it into nearly all of his works, most notably Siddhartha, but he did so from a distance and with Nietzsche looming large in his ideological past. If you look at Kundera, perhaps the laureate of nihilism in literature with The Unbearable Lightness of Being, he had metabolized these ideas a bit more, but remained nihilistic and to a degree, misanthropic. Look, then, at one of Kundera's devout followers, Italo Calvino, and in his early work you see the cry of nihilism but also a levity struggling (and in early works like Cosmicomics or Invisible Cities, failing) to get past it. But look at one of his last works (and his best, one of THE best novels of last century, IMO), If on a Winter's Night a Traveller, and you see the humanity and compassion winning out, and the levity overshadowing despair, the lightness of being made quite bearable.
      If you have a sense of caring for others, you will manifest a kind of inner strength in spite of your own difficulties and problems. With this strength, your own problems will seem less significant and bothersome to you. By going beyond your own problems and taking care of others, you gain inner strength, self-confidence, courage, and a greater sense of calm.Dalai Lama



    6. #6
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      Hesse was fascinated with Buddhism and incorporated it into nearly all of his works, most notably Siddhartha, but he did so from a distance and with Nietzsche looming large in his ideological past. If you look at Kundera, perhaps the laureate of nihilism in literature with The Unbearable Lightness of Being, he had metabolized these ideas a bit more, but remained nihilistic and to a degree, misanthropic. Look, then, at one of Kundera's devout followers, Italo Calvino, and in his early work you see the cry of nihilism but also a levity struggling (and in early works like Cosmicomics or Invisible Cities, failing) to get past it. But look at one of his last works (and his best, one of THE best novels of last century, IMO), If on a Winter's Night a Traveller, and you see the humanity and compassion winning out, and the levity overshadowing despair, the lightness of being made quite bearable.
      Misanthropy tends to be a trend Hesse follows in many of his works. Narcisuss and Goldmund, Journey to the East, Beneath the Wheel, Siddartha, Rossalde... all wonderful books but with the same theme. They all involve a man (usually young) who's unsure about his identity... and often observes many acts where it almost seems that Hesse's intent was to rustle some feathers and fuel some nihilism.

      Hesse is pretty biased as far as this goes... IMO

      edit: If you haven't yet, read some of Hesse's short stories. A lot of his themes are much more potent in his short stories, since He has less to work with. In his books, there's plenty of room inbetween each apparent instance of misanthropy, however in his short stories they can be more evident.
      Last edited by mindwanderer; 02-17-2010 at 04:51 AM.

    7. #7
      widdershins modality Taosaur's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by mindwanderer View Post
      Misanthropy tends to be a trend Hesse follows in many of his works. Narcisuss and Goldmund, Journey to the East, Beneath the Wheel, Siddartha, Rossalde... all wonderful books but with the same theme. They all involve a man (usually young) who's unsure about his identity... and often observes many acts where it almost seems that Hesse's intent was to rustle some feathers and fuel some nihilism.

      Hesse is pretty biased as far as this goes... IMO

      edit: If you haven't yet, read some of Hesse's short stories. A lot of his themes are much more potent in his short stories, since He has less to work with. In his books, there's plenty of room inbetween each apparent instance of misanthropy, however in his short stories they can be more evident.
      I haven't read any of his short stories unless you count Beneath the Wheel, but I feel like the misanthropy was something he wanted very much to get past, and Steppenwolf was his meditation--almost an apology--in advancing middle age on why he could not get past either his distrust of humanity or his sense of injustice at the fundamental state of our being. Demian and Beneath the Wheel were along the same lines. The Magister Ludi, in this light, was Hesse himself, having failed to find his way clear of enmity and distrust though he had pursued his chosen course to its end, because of the flaws in its beginning (think about the way Hesse portrayed the "burden of history" in Steppenwolf).

      My favorite work of Hesse's is Narcissus and Goldmund, where he has to set much of his philosophy aside both because it would be anachronous to the setting and because of the 'earthy' character of Goldmund. In this novel, I think Hesse finds the balance for his misanthropy in deep personal bonds (present to an extent in both Demian and Beneath the Wheel, as well). If characters like Narcissus and Goldmund were able to extend that love both outward to all the world and inward, to themselves independent of comparison to one another, there I think, is the solution to Hesse's dilemma.
      If you have a sense of caring for others, you will manifest a kind of inner strength in spite of your own difficulties and problems. With this strength, your own problems will seem less significant and bothersome to you. By going beyond your own problems and taking care of others, you gain inner strength, self-confidence, courage, and a greater sense of calm.Dalai Lama



    8. #8
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      I haven't read any of his short stories unless you count Beneath the Wheel, but I feel like the misanthropy was something he wanted very much to get past, and Steppenwolf was his meditation--almost an apology--in advancing middle age on why he could not get past either his distrust of humanity or his sense of injustice at the fundamental state of our being.
      'Strange News from Another Star' is a book of short stories all done by Hesse. And I agree about Steppenwolf... that was actually the last book I read from Hesse, and it kind of threw me off.

      Demian and Beneath the Wheel were along the same lines. The Magister Ludi, in this light, was Hesse himself, having failed to find his way clear of enmity and distrust though he had pursued his chosen course to its end, because of the flaws in its beginning (think about the way Hesse portrayed the "burden of history" in Steppenwolf).

      My favorite work of Hesse's is Narcissus and Goldmund, where he has to set much of his philosophy aside both because it would be anachronous to the setting and because of the 'earthy' character of Goldmund. In this novel, I think Hesse finds the balance for his misanthropy in deep personal bonds (present to an extent in both Demian and Beneath the Wheel, as well). If characters like Narcissus and Goldmund were able to extend that love both outward to all the world and inward, to themselves independent of comparison to one another, there I think, is the solution to Hesse's dilemma.
      I loved N&G as well... it was my first Hesse book actually. Great insights too, I'm not going to act like all those thoughts were floating around in my head before you said them... but they carry the same sentiment as mine.

      Anywaaaaays... not to be a buzzkill... but we could open up an "Official Hesse Thread". I'd just like to keep this on topic... not to say I don't enjoy these talks

      LOL

      edit: In fact I'll go open a Hesse thread right now!

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