Posts Tagged ‘Life’

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)

A.J. Jones on Rudolph Eucken : A philosophy of life

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

It may be stated generally that when there is no logical fallacy, a correct conclusion may be arrived at, provided, too—and herein lies the difficulty—provided that the premises are also true.
Perhaps it comes as a shock to the reader who has always insisted upon a clear intellectual understanding and a rigid reasoning upon all things, to find within what narrow limits, after all, the intellect itself has to work—it can do little more than make more or less certain generalisations concerning the world of experience, and then to argue from these, or from definitions that it itself has framed. Of course some of the ancient philosophers did try through a course of rigid reasoning to solve the great problems, and for a long time it was customary to expect that all philosophers should proceed in the same way.
Life itself is far greater than intellect, and to live is a far more important thing than to know. The great things are life and action; knowledge is ultimately useful in so far as it contributes to the development of life and the perfection of action.
Pragmatists contend that the test of truth is its value for life—if the fact obtained is the most useful and helpful for life, then it is the true one.
The position Eucken adopts is that of Activism. In common with pragmatism it makes truth a matter of life and action rather than of mere intellect, and considers fruitfulness for action a characteristic of truth. He differs from the pragmatic position in that he contends that truth is something deeper than mere human decision, that truth is truth, not merely because it is useful, that reality is independent of our experience of it, and that truth is gained intuitively through a life of action.
It is the spiritual that frees the individual from the slavery of the sense world—from his selfishness and superficial interests—that teaches him to care less for the things of the flesh, and far more for the beautiful, the good, and the true, and that enables him to pursue high aims regardless of the fact that they may entail suffering and loss in other directions. This, then, is the “High” in the world; the natural life is the “Low.”

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