Favorite Books of the Year 2018: “Demian” – Hermann Hesse

A short and moody novel that revolves around young Sinclair and the difficult task of finding oneself. Growing up in a protected and pious middle class home he eventually has to face the real world. Sinclair gets a new mysterious classmates, Demian, who guides him to detach and revolt from the superficial world of form and awaken to his true self.

📝 “All I really wanted was to try and live the life that was spontaneously welling up within me. Why was that so very difficult?”

This is most memorable fictional book I’ve read this year. A coming of age story with strong connections to Jungian psychology and symbolism. It came to me at a perfect time; Since I, much like Hesse did when writing the book, just “began to explore the writings of Freud and Jung on dreams and archetypes”. Something that really influenced Hesses writings.

Read the full list of favorites or check out previous lists right here!

Thoughts on: “The Journey to the East” by Hermann Hesse

This short and sweet books became the next stop for my Hermann Hesse obsession.

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The story has magical, almost mystical feel to it. Almost impossible to understand at times, but we are being warned, that the story about to be told about the journey to the East, is an untellable story. It’s not just a journey in space, but also in time. It’s is also both biographical and fictional.

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The main character, H.H, loses touch with himself, his Being and his previously natural creativity. In an attempt to re-live past days of glory he sets out to write an account of his greatest adventure; his journey to the East with The League.

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The League is a secret society that he ones where part of, with roots going back thousands of years. Famous members including both real and fictional hotshots like Plato, Mozart, Pythagoras, Don Quixote, Puss in Boots, and the ferryman Vasudeva (from Siddhartha) just to name a few.

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”But no account of David (note: King David that is.) can prove to me that life is not just a game. That is just what life is when it’s beautiful and happy —- a game! Naturally, one can also do all kinds of other things with it, make a duty of it, or a battleground, or a prison, but that does not make it any prettier? Goodbye, pleased to have met you!”

– Leo to H.H in Journey to the East.

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It’s an honest and personal story about the cycle faith gained, lost and regained. The unending search for enlightenment.

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It didn’t grab me right away but when I got into it I couldn’t put it down before I reached the last page. Beautiful book!

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What should be my next Hesse book? 🤔Btw. Just ordered The Stranger by Camus. So expect more classic fiction going forward! 😊

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4/5

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Check out my reading lists for more great books!

 

Thoughts on: “Demian” by Hermann Hesse

The story revolves around young Sinclair and the difficult task of finding ones self. Growing up in a protected and pious middle class home he eventually has to face the real world. Sinclair gets a new mysterious classmates, Demian, who guides him to detach and revolt from the superficial world of form and awaken to his true self.

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📝 Abraxas: A deity combining the godlike and the devilish.

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📝 “All I really wanted was to try and live the life that was spontaneously welling up within me. Why was that so very difficult?”

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📝 “When we hate a person, what we hate in his image is something inside ourselves. Whatever isn’t inside us can’t excite us.”

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⭐️ Takeaway:

About the previous quote: If that’s the case – and by observing this phenomenon for a while I believe there is some truth to it – then even when someone irritates us, we can use that as an opportunity to learn more I out ourselves. I kinda like that quote for that reason.

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📊 My Amateur Jungian Analysis: Sinclair is the “Ego”, Kromer his “Shadow” and Demian the “Self”. Lady Eve is the “Anima” (the unconscious feminine side of a man). One of Jungs anima levels is even named “Eve”. By opening up to Lady Eve, Sinclair becomes complete. He and Damien become one.

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⚖️ Verdict:

This a mysterious and short (100 pages!) coming of age story for philosophically minded reader. Pauses for contemplation are needed between each chapters. The best 3$ spent this year!

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For those who read already: What do you think Demian did to get Kromer of Sinclair’s back?

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What short book blew your mind recently?

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4/5

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Demian, Synchronicity & Carl Jung

I picked up Hermann Hesse’s “Demian” and believed it could act as a pallet cleanser after my binge-reading of books revolving around jungian psychology.

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Haha, bad call! Already in the introduction I read that before writing the book in 1920 “Hesse began to explore the writings of Freud and Jung on dreams and archetypes”. Something that apparently influenced his writing to a large extent! 😂

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Was this synchronicity (or a meaningful coincidence) at play, to use a concept introduced by Carl Jung? 🤔

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I failed in my mission to move away from Jung, but the book started off so strong that I couldn’t put it aside. Now it is finished and a review is on it’s way! 👌🏻

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“When we hate a person, what we hate in his image is something inside ourselves. Whatever isn’t inside us can’t excite us.”

Hermann Hesse – Demian

Thoughts on: “Walk Like a Buddha” by Lodro Rinzler

“All of you are perfect as you are, and you can use a little improvement”

Zen Master Suzuki Roshi


This is a very practical and accessible book about how to apply the teachings of the buddha to different aspects modern life. It has a question/answer format like: What would the buddha do in this and that situation or what would his stance be on one thing or another.


The book is good, but I feel that most of the value I got from it comes from cited sources rather than from the authors own experiences and insights.


📝 An elderly man teaches his grandson about peace. He said that he has two wolves that lives within his heart. One is fueled by anger and aggression and the other by kindness. They are always at war with each other for his heart.. The grandson asked: “who will ultimately win?”. The man answers:

“The one that wins will be the one I choose to feed”.


📝 Everyone think they are busy all the time. It’s easy to be busy! Get a dedicated time for meditation.


📝 Impermanence is a bitch. Going through Hell is not punishment, it’s training. We have to learn to deal with. A big part of life is pain and if you don’t learn to relate to it you are missing out on big aspects of life.


📝 At work: if you feel boredom. Drop it like a meditator drops an intrusive thought. The present moment is a perfect point from which to start anew.


📝 “Always don’t know”. Keep an inquisitive mind.


📝 There are so many things that can make an office environment toxic, but Mindless speech seems to be is chief among them.

The Four Gates of Speech:

1. Is what I’m about to say true?

2. Is what I’m saying necessary?

3. Is what I’m saying kind?

4. Is it a good time?


📝 From “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying” by author Bronnie Ware:

“I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself and not the life others expected from me.”


💡 Takeaway. “Live your life as an experiment”. Nothing new here! BUT I’m a big proponent doing experiments. Going forward I will post about concluded and ongoing experiments I’m conducting. Stay tuned!What are you experimenting with in your life?

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Best Books of the Year: #3

#3 “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse

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Hesse influential book about a wealthy Brahmin son that casts off a life of privilege to find spiritual fulfillment. A short read and profound read!

——- WHY THIS BOOK? ———

“This book is scripture posing as literature and is best read after getting what you thought you wanted.” – Gary (Goodreads). I think this sentence really captures why this book is important.

————— IMPACT —————

It ended up in my possession by coincidence. It was not on my radar at all. I met the mysterious man behind @booksonthetub in the subway one autumn morning at 5am. He had brought a stack of books for me that he thought might be of interest and “Siddhartha” was one of them. I’m happy I read it! It’s not every day you find a book that you know you will go back to over and over again throughout life. This book also spawned my first fiction review on my page. There will be more of that going forward!

——— 🤔QUESTIONS🤔——-

What book was surprising for you last year?

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This book got me so inspired that I made a fool of myself and wrote the review of it in verse.

Find more over here: Favorite Books of 2017

Thoughts on: “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse

I’ll do this one in “verse”:

🖌 Siddharthas father was a learned man//

for religious rites was all he cared//

Siddhartha followed his fathers footsteps, but was not content//

He wanted more than dogma and finally off he went//

Into the forest and joined the ascetics //

who liked to fast and thought possessions where pathetic//

One day he met the Buddha and came to understand//

Some things can’t be taught but have to be experienced first hand//

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🖌 He went from the woods to a town and met a lady of the night//

Who introduced him to the pleasures of the flesh and its delights//

A merchant wanted to partner with Siddhartha to earn some gold//

Capitalism is the only proper way through life, at least that’s what I’ve been told!//

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🖌 Siddhartha had a good ol time with money, hoes and drink//

But creating these attachments only made him think.//

This is all so shallow, so transitory, and only from within//

Can lasting happiness be found and off he goes again//

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🖌 Back to the forest from which he came. This time he met a ferry man//

He told Siddhartha to listen to the river the best he can//

To what it had to say – with its waves, currents and foam//

The river taught them both a lot with its ringing sound of “Om”//

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Hehe, loved the book! It’s up there with my all time favorites! Such good writing, everything is so clear and concisely put. And the classic story of self-discovery that we all can relate to has never been told so elegantly.

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I end this post with a quote from GARYs Goodreads review of this book which I thought was spot on:

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⭐️ “This book is scripture posing as literature and is best read after getting what you thought you wanted.”

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5/5

“Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse

Check out my reading lists for more great books!

Meeting the mysterious @BooksOnTheTub.

05.45 AM – Meeting the mysterious man behind Books on the Tub.

He got a hold of my “to-read”-list and had a few books in his collection that where in the list. So this morning, at un ungodly hour, I meet him in person for the first time and got a stack of interesting books.

  • “King of the world” – David Remnick
  • “The Four Alignments” – Don Miguel Ruiz
  • “Siddhartha” -Herman Hesse

 

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