Posts Tagged ‘Death’

Herman Hesse – Fantasies (1918)

Friday, November 20th, 2015

hesse beach friends

I dreamed that the ideal man would be constituted something like this: he would be a ‘normal’ person who ordinarily has no need to raise repressions into the spiritual realm, who lives safely and happily in himself. But this man, undriven by need of virtue or inner compulsion to compensate for weakness through works of art, must be able voluntarily to arouse this need in himself.

Now and again he would develop, as a game of luxury, special talents, special needs, perhaps only in the way one occasionally combs one’s hair in a different fashion for a change. And he would come to know the bliss of dreaming, the torment of creation, the fear and ecstasy of giving birth, without knowing their curse; for he could come home from each such game satisfied, and by a simple act of the will would lay aside, as if on a shelf, the striving within himself, so that a new and different equilibrium resulted.

The ideal person would sometimes write poetry, sometimes compose music, he would on occasion bring out from within himself his memory of the apes, at other times his intuition of future change and hope, and he would allow these to play as a trained athlete makes isolated groups of his muscles play, enjoying and testing them. All this would occur in him not compulsively or out of need, but rather as it would  in every healthy, good natured child. And, best of all, this ideal person would not resist so bitterly and bloodily as we poor fellows do a change in himself when some new demand of the ideal required it of him, but would be in absolute harmony with himself, with the ideal, with fate; he would change easily, he would die easily.

And here I was on uncomfortable ground again. I myself did not change willingly, I myself would not die easily. I knew, knew well and certainly, that every death is also a birth, but I did not know it completely, with my whole being; a mass of fibres within me rebelled against it, a part of me believed in death, a part was weakness and fear. And that was something I did not like to be reminded of. And so I was glad when the mailman rang the doorbell, and I immediately hurried to meet him.

excerpt from
Herman Hesse, Fantasies (1918)