Thinking Herman Hesse


“…through thought alone feelings become knowledge and are not lost, but become real and begin to mature.”

Hermen Hesse in Siddhartha

Reading this book again, after 15 odd years, like any other classic, Siddhartha invokes different thoughts and insights than it did the previous time around. I notice thoughts and sentences that merely made a flutter last time around and spend hours contemplating what they mean. The above line was one of those that lingered around for longer than I expected it to be.

You can easily divide the world into those that think with their heart and those with their head (and of course those who don’t think at all…)
I belong to the first category, in my opinion (In spite of what some of my friends might think) and could not agree with Herr Hesse completely in this instance.
Feelings and emotions are raw. They reveal your psyche, your self directly. The rational exterior we maintain is often betrayed by feelings in the moments they occur.

Thoughts, on the other hand are based on the constructs in our minds carefully built over years through learning from experiences, perceptions and beliefs.

The more you think the more distorted your feelings become and the distant memory of them.

That is, unless, you are someone who has managed to use thought as a tool and are capable of using that tool to decipher what the feeling actually signified.
Even that argument has a gap as the framework needed to do that is in turn based on constructs and learning and cannot be inherent.

It’s funny I am making a case against rationalising feelings through rational logic. But that is how addicted we are to thoughts and thinking.

I cannot but add another observation – this line and the entire book, perhaps, reflects the rational, scientific and analytical thinking of the West, although Herman Hesse is writing an Eastern story. Perhaps that is what made him give an edge to thought over feeling.

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