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View Diary: Books That Changed My Life - How lust, Steppenwolf, and hunger got me into college (83 comments)

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  •  I may have been too hard on it in retrospect (5+ / 0-)

    Thank you for bringing the fresh eyes.

    What happened to make the validation less special was that the validation, especially the feeling that there was another person objecting to the sterility, to the expectations, was that I went on reading existentialist literature. I got a lot of validation from following the path further and seeing more and more suggestions that he has missed out on the fundamental issue of freedom. The Magic Theater shows him only what he always was.

    I also, though, read a lot of Marxist analysis in my academic work. I found that a lot of Hesse's peers in Germany and France were decrying the bourgeoisie of the pre-war years (pre-WW 1) for being so beautiful and static. In a sense, they were each -- the critics -- saying what Hesse said: you must live, must choose, and you can only do that by rejecting the still-life of appearances.

    I suppose I'm hard on the book as a novel because I've gone on to be a, as I said, a professional jade, but also because the existential door it opened let me go ....

    "man, proud man,/ Drest in a little brief authority,. . . Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven/ As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens,/ Would all themselves laugh mortal." -- Shakespeare, Measure for Measure II ii, 117-23

    by The Geogre on Sat Jun 21, 2014 at 05:20:41 AM PDT

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    •  I think because I came to Steppenwolf (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      melo, The Geogre, Southcoast Luna, Munchkn

      in my late 20's as I was firmly stepping away from Christian fundamentalist indoctrination, stuck in a profession, and focused in my off hours in directly experiencing freedom of a sort first hand, my capability for deeper intellectual delving was limited. I went on to read Siddharta, but no philosophers at all. By then, I'd killed so many brain cells and had such a short attention span that my options were limited. But between these two books, I felt free to explore meditation without guilt, which led to Merton, which led me to question the duty of the contemplative to society, something Hesse never fully recognized, which in turn led to a little dabbling in Marx.

      I am grateful to your far more methodical journey into the footnotes so that I can learn about what I missed. Cheers!

      garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

      by Galtisalie on Sat Jun 21, 2014 at 07:46:50 AM PDT

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