From Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse

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

from Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse pg. 53.

Hesse, Hermann. Steppenwolf. Translated by Basil Creighton et al., Bantam Books, 1969.

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From Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse

“Ah, but it is hard to find this track of the divine in the midst of this life we lead, in this besotted humdrum age of spiritual blindness, with its architecture, its business, its politics, its men! How could I fail to be a lone wolf, and an uncouth hermit, as I did not share one of its aims nor understand one of its pleasures? I cannot remain for long in either theater or picture-house. I can scarcely read a paper, seldom a modern book. I cannot understand what pleasures and joys they are that drive people to the overcrowded railways and hotels, into the packed cafés with the suffocating and oppressive music, to the Bars and variety entertainments, to World Exhibitions, to the Corsos. I cannot understand nor share these joys, though they are within my reach, for which thousands of others strive. On the other hand, what happens to me in my rare hours of joy, what for me is bliss and life and ecstasy and exaltation, the world in general seeks at most in imagination; in life it finds it absurd. And in fact, if the world is right, if this music of the cafes, these mass enjoyments and these Americanised men who are pleased with so little are right, then I am wrong, I am crazy.”

from pg. 35.

Hesse, Hermann. Steppenwolf. Translated by Basil Creighton et al., Bantam Books, 1969.

From Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse

“A man of the Middle Ages would detest the whole mode of our present-day life as something far more than horrible, far more than barbarous. Every age, every culture, every custom and tradition has its own character, its own weakness and its own strength, its beauties and ugliness; accepts certain sufferings as matters of course, puts up patiently with certain evils. Human life is reduced to real suffering, to hell, only when two ages, two cultures and religions overlap. A man of the Classical Age who had to live in medieval times would suffocate miserably just as a savage does in the midst of our civilisation. Now there are times when a whole generation is caught in this way between two ages, two modes of life, with the consequence that it loses all power to understand itself and has no standard, no security, no simple acquiescence. Naturally, every one does not feel this equally strongly. A nature such as Nietzche’s had to suffer our present ills more than a generation in advance. What he had to go through alone and misunderstood, thousands suffer today.”

from pgs. 24-25.

Hesse, Hermann. Steppenwolf. Translated by Basil Creighton et al., Bantam Books, 1969.

Note: Within this excerpt we find the plight of John the Savage in Huxley’s Brave New World, published just five short years after Hesse’s Steppenwolf appeared in German and three years after the English translation.