Saturday, 20 August 2011

Hermann Hesse - Demian

A friend recommended I read Demian as he felt it could be beneficial towards my research. Beautifully but simply written it follows the life of Emil Sinclair from youth, through adolescence and into manhood. Emil realizes he is different from normal people and lives his life constantly struggling between the real world and the world of illusion. He meets Max Demian who takes Emil under his wing and helps him to understand the superficial nature of the real world and Christianity and helps him realize his 'self'.

I enjoyed the book immensely, the idea of living your life not to the ideals of other individuals or religions really resonated with me. Having being raised Christian as a child I soon became disillusioned after reaching my early teens and gaining self-awareness and I could empathize with young Emil. Here is a short extract from the book that I found especially inspiring.

"There was but one duty for a grown man; it was to seek the way to himself, to become resolute within, to grope his way forward wherever that might lead him. The discovery shook me profoundly; it was the fruit of this experience. I had often toyed with pictures of the future, dreamed of roles which might be assigned to me - as a poet, maybe, or prophet or painter or kindred vocation. All that was futile. I was not there to write poetry, to preach or paint; neither I nor any man was there for that purpose. They were only incidental things. There was only one true vocation for everybody - to find the way to himself. He might end as a poet, lunatic, prophet or criminal - that was not his affair; ultimately it was of no account. His affair was to discover his own destiny, not something of his own choosing, and live it out wholly and resolutely within himself. Anything else was merely a half life, an attempt at evasion, an escape into the ideals of the masses, complacency and fear of his inner soul."

The bird struggles out of the egg.

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