The Brahmin’s Son

I’ve pulled two quotes from the first chapter of Siddhartha. They deal with those ideas of “way” and “self”. Dealing with a novel chapter by chapter may not make the same kind of sense as dealing with chapters in textbooks, but I’ve read through this novel already, so chapter by chapter may not even be possible. As a whole, I’ve got nothing to say about the novel. These themes so obviously run through the book that I might just let these quotes hang here for now.

Nobody showed the way, nobody knew it — neither his father, nor the teachers and the wise men, nor the holy songs. (p.6)

One must find the source within one’s own Self, one must possess it. (p.7)

I’m also interested in writing about fatherhood as portrayed in the book. I could start writing about fatherhood as it appears in this chapter. But Siddhartha becomes a father later in the book and there’s a lot more material in the chapter that deals with that period .

When I say I’ve got nothing to say about the book as a whole, I mean I’m not interested in writing a polemic. Hesse is putting something forward. I’ll write about that. I’ve been thinking about the value of argument a little bit for the past few days. Of course I could do a little more thinking, but at this moment I’d say that any value in the idea of arguing, or the value of winning an argument is linked to some idealized concept of justice that has never existed in any social practice.

I’m about to start writing about why I am cynical, should I wait until we start reading Sloterdijk? I can bring in a quote from Siddhartha that’s more or less relevant.

Govinda knew that he would not become an ordinary Brahmin, a lazy sacrificial official, an avaricious orator, a wicked sly priest, or just a good stupid sheep amongst a large herd.

All these possibilities of what a man can become all take place under an ideal of good. In Siddhartha the possibilities are simply named, but critical thinkers will argue against these possibilities by invoking this ideal of good. Thinkers like Nietzsche (and his followers) who posit the ideals are false, also foresee major change as social consciousness becomes aware of these false gods. All this awareness and argument leads to nothing or the same, because of our hypocritical basis.

Does any character make more appearances in the Bible than the hypocrite?


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