Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Siddhartha

I just finished reading Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. I'm not one to do a lot of book reviews. I'm a big supporter of the idea that a book can have numerous meanings and that the individual reader decides what to take from the reading. It doesn't mean I'm not willing to share what I got from a book (because I am), but I'm not feeling inclined to do so today.

Suffice it to say that I enjoyed the book and the meaning that I found in it. I certainly recommend it to you.

I would like to include a few excerpts that stuck out to me:

"Indeed he had never been able to lose himself entirely, to give himself entirely to another person, to forget himself, to commit follies of love on account of another; never had he been able to do this... But now, ever since his son was there, now even he, Siddhartha, had utterly become one of the child people, suffering because of a person, loving a person, lost in that love, a fool for love. Now, though late in his life, for once he too felt this strongest and strangest passion, suffered from it, suffered lamentably, and yet was blessed, was somewhat renewed, somewhat richer."

I know this thought is a little out of nowhere, but this part reminds me of a scene in the movie Hitch when Albert is telling Hitch how miserable he is without the woman he loves, but that he'd rather spend his whole life feeling that way than to have never had the chance to love her. (Kind of also sounds like the whole "it's better to have loved and lost than never loved at all...") I think love brings so much more to our lives other than warm fuzzies and that in the end we all know the messy parts also come with the territory.

And one more excerpt:

"'When someone seeks,' Siddhartha answered, 'then it happens all too easily that his eyes will see only the thing he is seeking, that he cannot find anything, cannot let anything in, because he is always thinking only of that thing he seeks, because he has a goal, because he is possessed by the goal. Seeking means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal. You, venerable one, may be a seeker, for, striving toward your goal, there is much you do not see which is right before your eyes.'"

This brought to mind some Dave Matthews lyrics that go, "If you hold on too tight to what you think is your thing, you may find you're missing all the rest." I quoted that in my graduation speech back in the day...

I didn't really set out when I started this post to relate a book from 1922 to pop culture, but I kind of did, didn't I? Well, I guess it goes to show that there are some things that are just part of the essence of the human nature that keep turning up throughout the years...

Read the book. It's good.

1 comment:

The Davis Family said...

Hey Mel,
Send me your email address at davisma@apsu.edu and I'll forward that credit shark letter to you. It's so great.