Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hermann Hesse on Learning

CROSS CULTURAL OUTLINE recommends the novels by Hermann Hesse

Lesen ohne Liebe, Wissen ohne Ehrfurcht, Bildung ohne Herz, das sind die schlimmsten Sünden gegen den Geist.

- Hermann Hesse, deutsch-schweizerischer Lyriker, Essayist, Erzähler und Kritiker (1877-1962)

Reading without love, knowledge without tribute, education without heart, those are the worst sins against the mind.

- Hermann Hesse, German-Swiss poet, essayist, novelist and critic

(Translation by Ana Elsner)

Published in many languages, Hesse is best known for his works:

Siddhartha, an allegorical novel about the search for enlightenment, first published in 1922,

Steppenwolf, a demonstration of the duality of human nature, pub. 1928,

and The Glass Bead Game (Das Glasperlenspiel), a futuristic novel, describing how people construct, deconstruct, signify, encode and program their perception of reality, pub. 1943.

"The above quote of Hesse reminds me of his novel Unter dem Rad, where the protaganist's spirit is crushed by the rigid educational system of the day.

Hesse's short stories called Märchen deal with the artist's struggle to create great art. They are told in painstakingly beautiful detail and sometimes with humor and irony.

Hesse is one of the greatest psychological novelists since Dostoyevsky. He was a manic-depressive who was not afraid to delve into the depths of his soul. One can clearly see the influence that Jungian psychology had on his work.

In his novel Narcissus and Goldmund, the two protagonists embody the two necessary components of the creative spirit: logic/abstract thought balanced with intuition/emotion. Narcissus, the ascetic monk, is of the Father world coming to terms with the processes of individuation through his intellect. Goldmund, the woodcarving icon artist, is of the Mother world feeling his way through life in the quest for discovering his true Self. This novel is literally steeped in Jungian archetypes and dream symbols on just about every page.

Applying the Riso-Hudson enneagram personality theory, Narcissus represents the five (the Thinker) and Goldmund the four (the Artist) on the scale of personality types. It is no surprise that Hesse, himself, was a four with a five wing."

Vincent Russo, Composer, Orchestrator and Conductor

[Take your own Personality Test]


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