Herman Hesse

Herman Hesse

Hermann Karl Hesse (2 July 1877 – 9 August 1962) was a German-born Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. His best-known works include Demian, Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game, each of which explores an individual's search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature.

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Solitude is independence.

As a body everyone is single, as a soul never.

Those who are too lazy and comfortable to think for themselves and be their own judges obey the laws. Others sense their own laws within them.

If I know what love is, it is because of you.

Happiness is a how; not a what. A talent, not an object.

If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us.

Your soul is the whole world.

Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity.

I live in my dreams — that's what you sense. Other people live in dreams, but not in their own. That's the difference.

You must find your dream... but no dream lasts forever, each dream is followed by another, and one should not cling to any particular dream.

Oh, love isn't there to make us happy. I believe it exists to show us how much we can endure.

You have to try the impossible to achieve the possible.

Everything becomes a little different as soon as it is spoken out loud.

I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.

Only the ideas that we really live have any value.

It is not for me to judge another man's life. I must judge, I must choose, I must spurn, purely for myself. For myself, alone.

You are willing to die, you coward, but not to live.

Some of us think holding on makes us strong but sometimes it is letting go.

We kill at every step, not only in wars, riots and executions. We kill when we close our eyes to poverty, suffering and shame. In the same way all disrespect for life, all hard-heartedness, all indifference, all contempt is nothing else than killing.

When dealing with the insane, the best method is to pretend to be sane.

The truth is lived, not taught.

Gentleness is stronger than severity, water is stronger than rock, love is stronger than force.

It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is.

When you like someone, you like them in spite of their faults. When you love someone, you love them with their faults.

Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else ... Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.

If you need something desperately and find it, this is not an accident; your own craving and compulsion leads you to it.

The deity is within you, not in ideas and books. Truth is lived not taught.

People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest.

Often it is the most deserving people who cannot help loving those who destroy them.

Learn what is to be taken seriously and laugh at the rest.

We hate nothing that exists, not even death, suffering and dying, does not horrify our souls, as long as we learn more deeply to love.

One never reaches home, but wherever friendly paths intersect the whole world looks like home for a time.

It is possible for one never to transgress a single law and still be a bastard.

Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish.

You learned people and artists have, no doubt, all sorts of superior things in your heads; but you're human beings like the rest of us, and we, too, have our dreams and fancies.

A person is never entirely holy or entirely sinful.

Each of us is merely one human being, merely an experiment, a way station. But each of us should be on the way toward perfection, should be striving to reach the center, not the periphery.

Our friendship has no other purpose, no other reason, than to show you how utterly unlike me you are.

The call of death is a call of love. Death can be sweet if we answer it in the affirmative, if we accept it as one of the great eternal forms of life and transformation.

Despair is the result of each earnest attempt to go through life with virtue, justice and understanding, and to fulfill their requirements. Children live on one side of despair, the awakened on the other side.

Now true humor begins when a man ceases to take himself seriously.

Siddhartha stopped fighting his fate this very hour, and he stopped suffering.

Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at anytime and be yourself.

The opposite of every truth is just as true.

Madness, in a higher sense, is the beginning of all wisdom.

Writing is good, thinking is better. Cleverness is good, patience is better.

You knew all along that your sanctioned world was only half the world, and you tried to suppress the other half the same way the priests and teachers do. You won't succeed. No one succeeds in this once he has begun to think.

Everyone can perform magic, everyone can reach his goals, if he is able to think, if he is able to wait, if he is able to fast.

An enlightened man had but one duty - to seek the way to himself, to reach inner certainty, to grope his way forward, no matter where it led.

The man of power is ruined by power, the man of money by money, the submissive man by subservience, the pleasure seeker by pleasure.

The world is not imperfect or slowly evolving along a path to perfection. No, it is perfect at every moment, every sin already carries grace in it.

I do want more. I am not content with being happy. I was not made for it. It is not my destiny. My destiny is the opposite.

I call that man awake who, with conscious knowledge and understanding, can perceive the deep unreasoning powers in his soul, his whole innermost strength, desire and weakness, and knows how to reckon with himself.

It seems to me, Govinda, that love is the most important thing in the world.

One can beg, buy, be presented with and find love in the streets, but it can never be stolen.

I realize today that nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself.

Those who direct the maximum force of their desires toward the center, toward true being, toward perfection, seem quieter than the passionate souls because the flame of their fervor cannot always be seen.

Not in his speech, not in his thoughts, I see his greatness only in his actions, in his life.

He had loved and had found himself. But most people love to lose themselves.

You know quite well, deep within you, that there is only a single magic, a single power, a single salvation... and that is called loving. 

When artists create pictures and thinkers search for laws and formulate thoughts, it is in order to salvage something from the great dance of death, to make something last longer than we do.

Opinions mean nothing; they may be beautiful or ugly, clever or foolish, anyone can embrace or reject them.

You should never be afraid of people... such fear can destroy us completely. You've simply got to get rid of it, if you want to turn into someone decent.

You are only afraid if you are not in harmony with yourself. People are afraid because they have never owned up to themselves. A whole society composed of men afraid of the unknown within them!

He has robbed me, yet he has given me something of greater value... he has given to me myself.

I have always been a great dreamer. In dreams I have always been more active than in my real life, and these shadows sapped me of my health and energy.

I have always thirsted for knowledge, I have always been full of questions.

I have no right to call myself one who knows. I was one who seeks, and I still am, but I no longer seek in the stars or in books; I'm beginning to hear the teachings of my blood pulsing within me.

Youth ends when egotism does; maturity begins when one lives for others.

My real self wanders elsewhere, far away, wanders on and on invisibly and has nothing to do with my life.

In eternity there is no time, only an instant long enough for a joke.

Perhaps people like us cannot love. Ordinary people can - that is their secret.

There is no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people live such an unreal life. They take the images outside of them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself.

Solitude is independence. It had been my wish and with the years I had attained it. It was cold. Oh, cold enough! But it was also still, wonderfully still and vast like the cold stillness of space in which the stars revolve.

Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours.

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