To Find the Way to Oneself

I have always believed that finding the way to himself is each man’s only true vocation. I always think why it is so difficult for one to be true himself all the time? It is very simple – if he decides to be true himself and follows his own destiny, he will be different from others; he has to stand alone. However, I really think that even if one becomes alone and even if one feels unbearable loneliness, he must pay attention to his call from the innermost and must follow his own destiny relentlessly. I truly believe that every single individual has his unique vocation, so we should not feel embarrassed our own uniqueness and inner desire. We should cherish our own uniqueness so that we can become who we truly are. One must find his true vocation and inner call in order to be happy – that is the path he should follow. Hermann Hesse perfectly depicted the importance of seeking one’s own fate:

I did not exist to write poems, to preach or paint, neither I nor anyone else. All of that was incidental. Each man had only one genuine vocation – to find the way to himself. He might end up as poet or madman, as prophet or criminal – that was not his affair, ultimately it was of no concern. His task was to discover his own destiny – not an arbitrary one – and live it out wholly and resolutely within himself. Everything else was only a would -be existence, an attempt at evasion, a flight back to the ideals of the masses, conformity and fear of one`s own inwardness. The new vision rose up before me, glimpsed a hundred times, possibly even expressed before but now experienced for the first time by me. I was an experiment on the part of Nature, a gamble within the unknown, perhaps for a new purpose, perhaps for nothing, and my only task was to allow this game on the part of primeval depths to take its course, to feel its will within me and make it wholly mine. That or nothing!

I had already felt much loneliness, now there was a deeper loneliness still which was inescapable.

I made no attempt at reconciliation with Pistorius. We remained friends but the relationship changed. Yet this was something we touched on only once; actually it was Pistorius alone who did. He said:

“You know that I have the desire to become a priest. Most of all I wanted to become the priest of the new religion of which you and I have had so many intimations. That role will never be mine – I realize that and even without wholly admitting it to myself  have known it for some time. So I will perform other priestly duties instead, perhaps at the organ, perhaps some other way. But I must always have things about around me that I feel are beautiful and sacred, organ music and mysteries, symbols and myths. I need and cannot forgo them. That is my weakness. Sometimes, Sinclair, I know that I should not have such wishes, that they are a weakness and luxury. It would be more magnanimous and just if I put myself unreservedly at the disposal of fate. But I can`t do that, I am incapable of it. Perhaps you will be able to do it one day. It is difficult, it is the only truly difficult thing there is. I have often dreamed of doing so, but I cant; the idea fills me with dread: I am not capable of standing so naked and alone. I, too, am a poor weak creature who needs warmth and food and occasionally the comfort of human companionship. Someone who seeks nothing but his own fate no longer has any companions, he stands quite alone and has only cold universal space around him. That is Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, you know. There have been martyrs who gladly let themselves be nailed to the cross, but even these were no heroes, were not liberated, for even they wanted something that they had become fond of and accustomed to – they had models, they had ideals. But the man who only seeks his destiny has neither models nor ideals, has nothing clear and consoling! And actually this is the path one should follow. People like you and me are quite lonely really but we still have each other, we have the secret satisfaction of being different, of rebelling, of desiring the unusual. But you must shed that, too, if you want to go all the way to the end. You cannot allow yourself to become a revolutionary, an example, a martyr. It is beyond imagining -“

Yes, it was beyond imagining. But it could be dreamed, anticipated, sensed. A few times I had a foretaste of it – in an hour of absolute stillness. Then I would gaze into myself and confront the image of my fate. Its eyes would be full of wisdom, full of madness, they would radiate love or deep malice, it was all the same. You were not allowed to choose or desire any one of them. You were only allowed to desire yourself, only your fate.

 

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The Awakened

It is very important for one to discover who he truly is and also vital for one to realize what his mission in his life is. In order to be awakening, one must introspect himself earnestly and should not be afraid of exposing his idiosyncrasies. Once he realizes who he truly is, he will know how different he is from others and how unique he is. And also he will know that he has the infinite power to follow his own destiny and will be overwhelmed with his possibility. He will stand alone like a shining star in heaven. Hesse impressively depicted the last shudder of Siddhartha’s awakening:

Siddhartha stood still and for a moment an icy chill stole over him. He shivered inwardly like a small animal, like a bird or a hare, when he realized how alone he was. He had been homeless for years and had not felt like this. Now he did feel it. Previously, when in deepest meditation, he was still his father’s son, he was a Brahmin of high standing, a religious man. Now he was only Siddhartha, the awakened; otherwise nothing else. He breathed in deeply and for a moment he shuddered. Nobody was so alone as he. He was no nobleman, belonging to any aristocracy, no artisan belonging to any guild and finding refuge in it, sharing its life and language. He was no Brahmin, sharing the life of the Brahmins, no ascetic belonging to the Samanas. Even the most secluded hermit in the woods was not one and alone; he also belonged to a class of people. Govinda had become a monk and thousands of monks were his brothers, wore the same gown, shared his beliefs and spoke his language. But he, Siddhartha, where did he belong? Whose life would be share? Whose language would he speak?

At that moment, when the world around him melted away, when he stood alone like a shining star in the heavens, he was overwhelmed by a feeling of icy despair, but he was more firmly himself than ever. That was the last shudder of his awakening, the last pains of birth. Immediately he moved on again and began to walk quickly and impatiently, no longer homewards, no longer to his father, no longer looking backwards.

One Must Judge for Himself

Hermann_Hesse_Montagnlia_early_1950s

If one wants to achieve something essential for his life and understand the reason of his existence on this earth, he must judge for himself and must be true himself ultimately. One does not need someone else to lead him to his destiny, since he must become his own leader and must lead himself to his destiny. As soon as you follow someone else and start imitating someone else, you cease to be true yourself; you reject yourself. The most essential thing for one to archive is: become true himself unconditionally. Here is the passage from Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse:

The Buddha’s eyes were lowered; his unfathomable face expressed complete equanimity.

“I hope you are not mistaken in your reasoning,” said the Illustrious One slowly. “May you reach your goal! But tell me, have you seen my gathering of holy men, my many brothers who have sworn allegiance to the teaching? Do you think, O Samana from afar, that it would be better for all these to relinquish the teachings and to return to the life of the world and desire?”

“That thought never occurred to me,” cried Siddhartha. “May they all follow the teachings! May they reach their goal! It is not for me to judge another life. I must judge for myself. I must choose and reject. We Samanas seek release from the Self, O Illustrious One. If I were one of your followers, I fear that it would only be on the surface, that I would deceive myself that I was at peace and had attained salvation, while in truth the Self would continue to live and grow, for it would have been transformed into your teachings, into my allegiance and love for you and for the community of the monks.”

Half smiling, with imperturbable brightness and friendliness, the Buddha looked steadily at the stranger and dismissed him with a hardly visible gesture.

“You are clever, O Samana,” said the Illustrious One, “you know how to speak cleverly, my friend. Be on your guard against too much cleverness.”

The Buddha walked away and his look and half smile remained imprinted on Siddhartha’s memory forever.

I have never seen a man look and smile, sit and walk like that, he thought. I, also, would like to look and smile, sit and walk like that, so free, so worthy, so restrained, so candid, so childlike and mysterious. A man only looks and walks like that when he has conquered his Self. I also will conquer my Self.

I have seen one man, one man only, thought Siddhartha, before whom I must lower my eyes. I will never lower my eyes before any other man. No other teachings will attract me, since this man’s teachings have not done so.

The Buddha has robbed me, thought Siddhartha. He has robbed me, yet he has given me something of greater value. He has robbed me of my friend, who believed in me and now believes in him; he was my shadow and is now Gotama’s shadow. But he has given to me Siddhartha, myself.

Opinions

August_StrindbergEvery single person has his own opinions because every single person is different from other people and is unique fundamentally. Therefore, it is natural for us to have augments sometimes, but one should not force other people to believe that his opinion is right. One should listen to what others think and learn the different way of thinking, but one must stand for his opinions which distinguish us from each other. As a result, let us content within ourselves, but do not make a fight over difference of opinions since it is ridiculous. Strindberg comically wrote the subject of opinions in Dream Play:

 

(The Chancellor enters with the Deans of Theology, Philosophy, Medicine, and Law)

Chancellor: It’s this business about the door, of course! – What do you think about it, as Dean of Theology?

Dean of Theology: Speaking theologically, I don’t think, I believe…credo…

Dean of Philosophy: Speaking philosophically, I consider…

Dean of Medicine: Speaking medically, I know…

Dean of Law: Speaking legally, I withhold judgment until I’ve seen the evidence and heard the witnesses.

Chancellor: They’re starting of fight again… Let me hear first from theology.

Dean of Theology: I believe this door must not be opened since it conceals dangerous truths.

Dean of Philosophy: The truth is never dangerous.

Dean of Medicine: What is truth?

Dean of Law: Whatever can be proven by the testimony of two witnesses.

Dean of Theology: With two false witnesses anything can be proven – by a crooked lawyer.

Dean of Philosophy: Truth is wisdom, and wisdom and knowledge are the core of philosophy… Philosophy is the science of sciences, the sum of all learning, and all other sciences are its servants.

Dean of medicine: the only science is natural science. Philosophy is not a science. It’s only empty speculations.

Dean of Theology: Bravo!

Dean of Philosophy (to the dean of theology): So, you say bravo! And what are you? You’re the archenemy of all learning, the very opposite of science. You are ignorance and darkness…

Dean of medicine: Bravo!

Dean of theology (to the Dean of Medicine): Look who’s shouting bravo now! Someone who can’t see beyond the end of his nose except through a magnifying glass! Someone who believes only what his deceptive senses tell him: your eye, for example, which could be far-sighted, bleary-eyed, cross-eyed, one-eyed, color-eyed, red-blind, green-blind, just plain blind…

Dean of medicine: Idiot!

Dean of Theology: Jackass! (They begin to fight.)

Chancellor: Stop that! I won’t have my deans squabbling among themselves.

Dean of Philosophy: If I had to choose between the two – theology or medicine – it would be neither!

Dean of Law: And if I were the judge in a case involving the three of you, I’d find against you all!… You can’t agree on a single thing and never could… Back to the business at hand! Chancellor, what is your opinion about this door and whether it should be opened?

Chancellor: Opinion? I don’t have any opinions. I was appointed the government only to see to it that you educate students instead of breaking each other’s arms and legs in committee meetings. Opinions? No, I’m very careful about holding opinions. I once had some opinions, which I debated, but my opponent immediately refuted them… Perhaps now we can open the door, even at the risk that it conceals dangerous truths.

Dean of Law: What is truth? Where is it?

Dean of Theology: I am the truth and the life…

Dean of Philosophy: I am the science of all sciences…

Dean of Medicine: I am exact science…

Dean of Law: And I object! (They begun to fight)

A Man of Destiny

HH1If one wants to follow his destiny and make his dream come true, he must not be afraid of being different from others. As a matter of fact, he does not have a time to think about status quo or such nonsense since he needs to prepare for his destiny. Unfortunately, the herd instinct has spread all over the world more than ever nowadays. We are heading the wrong directions, and the present world is collapsing. And dangerous sign is everywhere and it is discernible; however, people do not notice anything as if they were blind.  Now is the time for us to think about a new ideal: individualism.  Actually, individualism is not a new ideal, many great artists have preached it throughout the history, but only a few individual have listened. Hesse vividly depicted the people who are marked:

Although we might not have been able to express it, we all felt distinctly that a few birth amid the collapse of this present world was imminent, already discernible. Demain often said to me: “What will come is beyond imagining. The soul of Europe is a beast that has lain fettered for an infinitely long time. And when it’s free, its first movements won’t be the gentlest.  But the means are unimportant if only the real needs of the soul – which has for so long been repeatedly stunted and anesthetised – come to light. Then our day will come, then we will be needed. Not as leaders and lawgivers – we won’t be there to see the new laws – but rather as those who are willing, as men who are ready to go forth and stand prepared whenever fate may need them. Look, all men are prepared to accomplish the incredible if their ideals are threatened. But no one is ready when a new ideal, a new and perhaps dangerous and ominous impulse, makes itself felt. The few who will be ready at that time and who will go forth – will be us. That is way we are marked – as Cain was – to arouse fear and hatred and drive men out of a confiding idyll into more dangerous reaches. All men who have had an effect on the course of human history, all of them without exception, were capable and effective only because they were ready to accept the inevitable. It is true of Moses and Buddha, of Napoleon and Bismarck. What particular movement one serves and what pole one is directed from are matters outside one’s own choice. If Bismarck had understood the Social Democrats and compromised with them he would have merely been shrewd but no man of destiny. The same applies to Napoleon, Caesar, Loyola, all men of that species in fact. Always, you must think of these things in evolutionary, in historical terms! When the upheavals of the earth’s surface flung the creatures of the sea onto the land and the land creatures into the sea, the specimens of the various orders that were ready to follow their destiny were the ones that accomplished the new and unprecedented; by making new biological adjustments they were able to save their species from destruction. We do not know whether these were the same specimens that had previously distinguished themselves among their fellows as conservative, upholders of the status quo, or rather as eccentric, revolutionaries; but we do know they were ready, and could therefore lead their species into new phases of evolution. That is why we want to be ready.”