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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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  •  Heaven would be (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Geogre, Southcoast Luna, Munchkn

    Getting stuck on a desert island with all the people communicating here!

    Steppenwolf changed my life bigtime. Along with 'The politics of experience' ~ by Ronald Laing it was a psychic life-saver.

    The key passage in Hesse's novel was the visualisation of the self as jigsaw puzzle and the ability to deconstruct it (force majeure!) and reconstruct it in a better way.

    Yes and Mozart's laughter and the idea of every note in music being spurious, even Bach's!

    Hesse came into an important dream I had around that time (18 in 1969).

    Loved 'Demian' (unbelievably, out of print last time I checked), "Journey to the East', 'Siddartha' and my favourite "Narziss and Goldmund' for its narrative and characters. 'Glass bead game' was too long and abstract, I have tried to read it many times, always giving up half way through.

    Love your diaries, your students are divinely lucky, I hope they know it!

    why? just kos..... *just cause*

    by melo on Sat Jun 21, 2014 at 10:04:32 AM PDT

    •  Laing -- Good one (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Southcoast Luna

      I haven't read it, and it was extremely important.

      Thanks for the kind words. (Professional life now imperiled as a shoe has dropped that we all knew was in the air.)

      What freed me most was Kierkegaard, to tell the truth. I know that's almost pretentious, but Steppenwolf had set the ideas in place, and the central conceit of Steppenwolf is actually in the "A" volume of Either/Or. (Either/Or is a book written by A, who is a young man full of passion and artistic life, disgusted and bored and filled with lust and joy, and B, who is a judge who writes to A telling him about Duty and Sobriety and Society. The trick to "Either/Or" is "Neither/Both." Kierkegaard regards the A author as the spiritual/aesthetic life and B as the "ethical" life. For him, the religious life must be all of the passion, all of the individual fire, all of the meaning and self, of A to achieve a set of duties to others and awareness of others derived not from obligation, but from love.) I had come back to religion and gone into the mystical, and it made perfect sense to me: half the equation is freedom, and the other half is being responsible for what you choose to be.

      I know it's kind of a cliche, and I was actually trying to find the venerated path, in a way -- it's what the hallowing of footnotes does when you don't have any other method -- but it let me out of the egoism of the mid-1970's.

      "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 10:55:53 AM PDT

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