FREE E-PUB ê Das Glasperlenspiel × Hermann Hesse –

FREE E-PUB ⚧ Das Glasperlenspiel ⛎ The Final Novel Of Hermann Hesse, For Which He Won The Nobel Prize For Literature In , The Glass Bead Game Is A Fascinating Tale Of The Complexity Of Modern Life As Well As A Classic Of Modern LiteratureSet In The Rd Century, The Glass Bead Game Is The Story Of Joseph Knecht, Who Has Been Raised In Castalia, The Remote Place His Society Has Provided For The Intellectual Elite To Grow And Flourish Since His Childhood, Knecht Has Been Consumed With Mastering The Glass Bead Game, Which Requires A Synthesis Of Aesthetics And Scientific Arts, Such As Mathematics, Music, Logic, And Philosophy, Which He Achieves In Adulthood, Becoming A Magister Ludi Master Of The Game This, his final novel makes it clear that all his works need to be read in their order as one edition leading up to his final life conclusion A man caught within the depths of thought striving for something beyond his sight captures his heroic journey through his written words.A different voice from the Hesse of my college days No longer redirecting my compass eastward toward a spirituality with a promise to enlarge consciousness This is a firm clear voice that looks back to arrive at an understanding His own truth One ground and distilled from a life of thought But the voice wavers at times as the story foretold has a waver of its own.Joseph Knecht is selected as a student of promise As his achievements are recognized, much to his surprise and glee, he is selected to the highest consecration of the intellectually elite, Castalia Supported by the government those enrolled or encumbered in Castalia have in some way sworn to dedicate themselves to maintaining its well ordered hierarchy The hierarchy supplies Castalia with serenity, a static but comfortable stability, built to prevent any disordered flow of disruptive emotion while dedicated to a life of contemplation, research, study of any subject worthy of intellectual exploration.Is there any other of us who earlier in life didn t wonder, can t I just get paid for thinking Reading Come on, there must be somebody else Do I see a hand raised Joseph Knecht enjoyed learning for learnings sake Due to this, his steadfastness, lack of any ambition where it came to a rise in status, was hauled upwards into the higher brackets of the hierarchy where his tasks were no longer oriented around his passionate love for teaching, teaching especially the young As he left his friends behind in the world when he left for Castalia he now left his beloved profession Of course he dedicated himself to his new duties, gradually rising to a position so lofty it can barely be discerned by the outside world, in its abstract ether Magister Ludi The Magister Master of the Glass Beads Game The holy trinity exalted into blends of knowledge, philosophical thought, aesthetic creation, their intertwining, interweaving into the multitude of countless interstices The games as drawn up in competition are archived Abundant and frequently referred to, they are held with reverence The Glass Bead games not only singles out the best players but insures the continous enlargement of consciousness, wisdom, knowledge The world wonders, as the intellectual elite of Castalia expects, what good is pure intellectual pursuit for the sake of pure intellectual pursuit Castlia is repulsed by the sordid life of the working class with their lack of curiosity, non questioning obeisance to the trifles of meaningless conventions and dully repeated jokes their ant like drive to follow whoever is in front of them in the long endless moving line to avoid any flint of individuality lurking around dark corners in danger of being lit.Castalia readily points out, in the current twenty third century, it was properly born from the previous years of conflict and destruction evolving into a means of avoiding such an occurrence Indeed there has not been.Knecht himself isn t positive what the connection is or if there is one He and his colleagues, in their monk like quasi religious life, having sacrificed any iota left of individuality to the order, preserving the knowledge of what to do and how to behave in all circumstances, the comfort of effacing stability, also follow what they are told However, with the stamp of elite buried in their brow they are held and hold themselves in a higher status.Do they contribute except for responses to papers written and studies summarized within their hallowed halls The resounding answer within these halls is, of course we do The pure pursuit of truth is always elevated to the highest Besides, dealing with life in the world is a lower pursuit and one not worthy of following Understanding that the world and its production enables Castalia to exist, does not alter their view The world with its bustling jobs based on fear and ambition thinks the same of Castalia.And where is Knecht Hesse s skill as a novelist is shown in his ability to dramatize this rather than lecturing The dramatization is furthered by attention to detail and the apt planting of narrative seeds barely recognized at first, then the enjoyment of its first lucid buds and flowerings thereafter.Ha The I write the there is to be said in this glass bead game of my own that I have created and fallen into Let it be said this was Hesse s last novel and its ending is immense It was an honor to be in The Glass Beads Game presence, in the presence of Hesse. The Lasting Effects of Young Reading A Short MemoirI first read The Glass Bead Game almost 60 years ago It changed my life With just the right cues of romance, high tech adventure, philosophical mystery, and heroism, the book invaded my adolescent mind, laid down roots and suggested a long term plan I would one day be able to play the Game And I succeeded, at least during a goodly portion of my adult life, when I wasn t distracted by the trivialities of wealth, status, and religion So I realised it was about time for me to revisit the ur inspiration A dangerous undertaking, I know, but perhaps the book could provide a sort of retrospective structure that I couldn t consciously recall Worth the risk then.The epigraph alone rekindles the fire that smoulders still in my unconscious Nothing is harder, yet nothing is necessary, than to speak of certain things whose existence is neither demonstrable nor probable The very fact that serious and conscientious men treat them as existing things brings them a step closer to existence and to the possibility of being born. I have experienced just this motivation with the force of compulsion The task is both poetic and practical to help people, particularly myself, to see what is hidden by what they already see, the things within and beyond what is apparently there For a child of 13 or so, to have one s inarticulate intuition confirmed that there is to life than its surface is profoundly important.I viewed the Order and the fellowship of the game seriously and admiredthe maximum integration of the individual into the hierarchy of the educators and scholarsMy first attempt involved a Carmelite monastery The next a military career Followed by a time in professional academia and subsequently an international consulting firm which is best described as a professional Protestant monastery All these, and most choices that followed, had the intention of assimilation into one form or another of an organisation of united and mutually supportive minds The professional context didn t really matter I had, it appears, a calling not dissimilar to that of the young Joseph Knecht, eventually the Magister Ludi, who hadthe capacity for enthusiasm, subordination, reverence, worshipful servicenecessary to persist in The Game Even today I find myself a member of a Dominican academic community which is the same size and similar in atmosphere to that of Knecht s school at Waldzell Somewhat remarkably, I suppose, I have never been a joiner of clubs, or groups, or congregations, only those with some sort of monastic potential.Even the international firm to which I belonged, commercial as is was, had an ethos which could have been taken straight from The Game It s senior partners were among the most powerful and influential business leaders in the country Yet the head of the firm said to me proudly one day at lunchNobody knows my nameWhen he said this I immediately recalled Hesse s linesThe hierarchic organization cherishes the ideal of anonymity, and comes very close to the realization of that idealRarely did this assimilation ever feel oppressive or threatening to my individuality As with The GameFor us, a man is a hero and deserves special interest only if his nature and his education have rendered him able to let his individuality be almost perfectly absorbed in its hierarchic function without at the same time forfeiting the vigorous, fresh, admirable impetus which makes for the savor and worth of the individual In order to make the point, I had the habit of submitting an undated resignation on the day I started any job Even that felt like a ritual of integration I exercised it myself by leaping, to use Joseph Knecht s term, whenever I felt The Game was being threatened.The idea of the rules of The Game, its language, and symbology undoubtedly provoked some sort of teen age mysticism But what most attracted me and still does is that The Game isa mode of playing with the total contents and values of our cultureyears later I would discover Wittgenstein and know that this is precisely what he must have meant in his term language games The downside from a career perspective, of course, is that narrow disciplinary constrains and professional s became increasingly problematic The world at large expects increasing specialisation with age But for me intellectual maturity has always been a matter of expansion rather than refinement This has made me less well off than I might have been But I am than content I also find that I retain some tendencies toward teen age mysticism Perhaps this is an accomplishment.It has been said that one is born either an Aristotelian or a Platonist Empirically, it seems to me, there is some strength in this assertion I am certainly in the camp of the latter and therefore fit right in to the Platonic bias of The Game, which Aristotelians would merely find just silly It was Hesse who piqued my interest in philosophers like Nicholas of Cusa and Gottfried Leibniz And through them into the idea of the ideal as a symbol of both purpose and the aesthetical Unconsciously I suppose, I found myself associating with other Platonists and quasi Platonists West Churchman at Berkeley, Russell Ackoff and Tom Cowan at Penn, Oliver O Donovan at Oxford Around each of these was a sort of invisible college, the members of which unknowingly participated in many rounds of The Game That many of them are dead or no longer in my daily life is neither regrettable nor sad since the Order continues to unite us.Hesse s idea of the Age of the Feuilleton as a motivating social force for the development of The Game resonated in my young life with what I perceived as the random character of what people worried about nuclear war, mortal sin, cures for acne and what might actually matter For Hesse, the daily newspaper was about gossip than the factual information necessary for life Hesse s narrator has only disdain for this age of wasted freedomYears later, I encountered William Gaddis s Recognitions and had a spark of remembrance about Hesse s witty critiques of celebrity andintellectual privateers , particularly among self proclaimed artists, and most specifically writers And many years still later, I am overwhelmed by Hesse s prescience in anticipating the evil of unintelligent internet social media Perhaps they will be exactly the catalyst necessary for the real creation of The Game Mathematics and Music are the core disciplines of The Game I can blame Hesse for implanting this as a seed in my psyche It legitimised for me my interest in numbers but certainly not the techniques of calculation insisted upon by my teachers and classical music of which none of my contemporaries had the slightest interest Once again, it is unclear whether The Game provoked or merely articulated these interests Ultimately it doesn t matter because The Game is my personal symbol for both Recently while reading Edward Rothstein s Emblems of Mind, a book which critiques music in terms of mathematical aesthetics and vice versa, I had very clear flashbacks of my pleasant surprise at being able to adopt Hesse s discovery as my own I have occasionally abandoned either mathematics or music as one might lose one s childhood religion But they have always returned as the matrix of my own version of The Game.I could go on ad nauseam recounting the many other specific influences that The Glass Bead Game has had on my life But this short reflection is enough to show me the profound depths to which we can be influenced by what we consume as literature in early life I don t know what lessons this might entail Perhaps the reflection is only productive as a sort of therapy that makes conscious what has been hidden for decades from will and choice Hesse suggests this might be his intent in the text where he describes The Game evolving asa form of concentrated self awareness for intellectualsHaving said that, there is nothing I would change about allowing The Game into my life.

There s a scene in Antonio Tabucchi s Indian Nocturne in which the narrator meets an Indian intellectual who asks him, among other things, what he thinks of Hermann Hesse The narrator, resenting the interruption and perhaps with a sense he is being mocked, heaps scorn on the German spiritualist , calling him sentimental and likening him to a sweet liqueur, and only later realises he hasn t said what he thought of Hesse at all In some way, these days, I suspect there s a little of this narrator in many of us Hesse unlike Kafka or Beckett or Mann is not an intellectual s badge of honour Frequently, I ve approached one or another of his books again after a hiatus half expecting that this time I will have grown out of him, but I never do The Journey to the East has enthralled me since I first read it in my teens and probably I understand only marginally of it now than I did then The Treatise on the Steppenwolf unlike much of the rest of that most famous of his novels I likewise revere The early novella Knulp is a small masterpiece, touching and true Demian has its moments, Siddhartha too though again its fame is out of proportion to its content , and Klingsor s Last Summer and many of the short stories and even Narziss and Goldmund if you re on a roll and don t want to stop But looming over all of them, dwarfing them and pulling together most of what s best in each of them is The Glass Bead Game, a book which, despite myself, and though I doubt I ll be able to convey why without reading it again a fourth time , I count among the five or so most transformative reading experiences in my lifetime Like The Journey or The Treatise , the General Introduction to the Glass Bead Game for the Layman is Hesse at his finest not so dissimilar to Borges in his essayistic tone and otherworldly humour, and throwing out mindbending concepts with casual aplomb The Glass Bead Game is thus a mode of playing with the total contents and values of our culture it plays with them as, say, in the great age of the arts a painter might have played with the colours on his palette All the insights, noble thoughts, and works of art that the human race has produced in its creative eras, all that subsequent periods of scholarly study have reduced to concepts and converted into intellectual property on all this immense body of intellectual values the Glass Bead Game player plays like the organist on an organ.In other words, an early glimpse of post modernity, but telescoped into an imaginary future after what Hesse dryly characterises as The Age of the Feuilleton in which for the purposes of players of the Glass Bead Game artistic production has stopped or gone underground, and the highest cultural calling is to manipulate what has been left behind by former ages, to create in a hyper ritualised setting and for the benefit of worldwide audiences these games that are part music, part mathematics, and use a futuristic brand of calligraphic characters to sample and integrate their component parts into a quasi equation that can later be studied and reproduced At the centre of this enterprise, the Magister Ludi or master of the Glass Bead Game is treated like a priest or deity by devotees of the game But there is none of the rock or movie star cult of personality about these figures not only are their identities kept secret except from a few close initiates, but their study in biographies or histories is discouraged Certainly, what nowadays we understand by personality is something quite different from what the biographers and historians of earlier times meant by it For them, the essence of a personality seems to have been deviance, abnormality, uniqueness, in fact all too often the pathological We moderns, on the other hand, do not even speak of major personalities until we encounter men who have gone beyond all original and idiosyncratic qualities to achieve the greatest possible integration into the generality, the greatest possible service to the suprapersonal.Nevertheless, The Glass Bead Game is, for the most part, a biography of one earnest if somewhat rebellious Magister, Joseph Knecht a man whose early brilliance followed by his ultimate resignation is a touchstone for all who question the value of life behind the cloistered walls of Castalia, the pedagogical province in which his story takes place What do we have here then, if not the old, pathology based form of a biography A kind of everyman story, the story of a type But Hesse s type and I think this is beautiful in light of the leader of his former homeland when he wrote this is a leader, the ideal leader, and the culmination of a search which runs throughout Hesse s work Joseph Knecht is a kind of holy man, but with none of the pomp or self importance which, maybe, these days, that implies Knecht in German means servant , and throughout his short life Knecht impresses us as just that, a servant both to those he governs and to some other voice or calling which comes to him from beyond Like all of Hesse s characters, Knecht exists to find himself , but unlike Harry Haller or Knulp or Emil Sinclair or even Siddhartha, he does not despair at least not in these pages like Leo, the leader in disguise of the Journeyers to the East, he remains tranquil and alert to his duties Throughout the book Knecht s own writings are quoted, and at the end of the Introduction , in speaking of classical music, he writes the following always there may be heard in these works a defiance, a death defying intrepidity, a gallantry, and a note of superhuman laughter, of immortal gay serenity Let that same note also sound in our Glass Bead Games, and in our whole lives, acts, and sufferings.Earlier Knecht s biographer had warned us The poets told horrific fables about the forbidden, diabolic, heaven offending keys, the music of decline no sooner were these wicked notes struck in the palace than the sky darkened, the walls trembled and collapsed, and kingdom and sovereign went to their doom.People fault Hesse for what they see as his sentimentality Sometimes, I can see their point as in the relationship of Harry Haller to his young prostitute friend in Steppenwolf, for example But when he manages to rise above all the doubts and complaints of that lonely wolf of the steppes, there is actually something quietly heroic in Hesse s stance In Switzerland, in 1943, along with his friends Paul Klee and Hugo Ball of the Cabaret Voltaire, this man refuses absolutely to play the heaven offending keys Whatever he creates will partake only of that superhuman laughter and death defying intrepidity , no matter what horrors his homeland can spew forth and, as his writings on the war show, Hesse was far from ignorant of these And so, on the surface, his may seem a fantasy for which the modern or post modern world has little use escapism, idealism, even amid the destruction of Europe by guns and explosives lyricism But read closely and it s evident that the despairing, human Hesse is passionately present in almost every word of this Yes, the characters in The Glass Bead Game like Beckett s characters, like Kafka s can seem or less than human No, there is no sexuality in their world nor in Waiting For Godot, for that matter , and as if to foreground this lack Hesse writes his Introduction entirely from a genderless we standpoint, which while not spelling it out seems to suggest or has always suggested to me, anyway that we are to treat these characters as beyond or outside of the ordinary realm of the sexual Why Perhaps because, to a German in Europe in 1943, sexuality did not seem that crucial a topic Me, I ve never demanded realism from fiction in fact, I like writers who alert me to the fact that the beings they create are not human Likewise, I don t care in the least that the end section of the book Joseph Knecht s Posthumous Writings is probably just a series of sketches done in warm up for the task of creating Knecht To me, at least one of these novellas The Father Confessor is easily among the best of Hesse s works in its own right and never fails to have me in tears by the end of it And even the poetry poorly suited to translation as it is is illuminating in showing the genesis of the conception.If I haven t said much about the substance of Knecht s story, the truth is I don t remember much of it, but for snatches of scenery which Hesse describes so well and a general feeling of the excitement of a young man following his calling If you read for plot, this isn t the book for you But if you want to hear the wisdom of a wise, possibly heartbroken man determined, despite everything, not to hit the jarring notes of the diabolic keys but to sing with the laughing voice of an angel, this is it I don t care if that sounds sentimental The world needs artists who are willing to speak calmly from the storm, and Hermann Hesse was one of them I take my hat off to you, Herr Hesse Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your guidance. No permanence is ours we are a waveThat flows to fit whatever form it findsHermann Hesse, The Glass Bead GameI remember reading Hesse s Siddhartha and Narcissus and Goldmund right out of high school There was something both disquieting and uniquely calming about these strange little books that Hesse wrote detailing his love and fascination with Eastern thought and philosophy I figured this year I would read the Glass Bead Game and later Steppenwolf It is in many ways Hesse s subtle answer to the growing Fascism in his country But, at its heart, it isn t an anti Fascist book He is aiming for He is thinking bigger.It is a book about harmony and the arts The exploration of how music, mathematics, intellectualism and life can become transcendent and beautiful The Glass Bead Game is a mysterious fill in that allows it to be at once none and all of man s endeavors It is a holy raga, a tactile masbaha, a literary syncretism, that captures the whole of man s achievements and is practiced by an elite few Using the framework of the Game Hesse is able to look at the dynamic of all of man s achievements as being both beautiful, worthwhile, but also frivolous and fleeting He looks at the tension between those who remove themselves from mankind s experiences with those who live IN the world There is a pull and a reciprocity between these two groups He is looking for those things that balance those groups and ultimately those things that cause these groups to separate.The book also explores the mostly Eastern ideas of meditation, surrender, loss and renewal I found these ideas obviously beautiful and rewarding, but I m still not sure if I really liked the structure of the book Part 1 pages 7 44 Introduction to GBG Part 2 Pages 45 427 Magister Ludi s story Part 3 428 445 Magister Ludi s poems Part 4 446 558 The Three Lives other incarnations of Magister LudiI m just not sure if the structure worked for me It did well enough, but I loved and hated it too Maybe that was Hesse s intention The first part was a parody of those history of the saints that appear so often and so frequently in all religious traditions It was interesting, but just didn t mix well with the final parts of the novel I did like having Knecht s re incarnations be outside of time While Magister Ludi was set in the future, the other incarnations of Magister Ludi were likely from the past An interesting construct, but the weight of the last was too little for the heavy front But these are frivolous issues For the most part, I liked the book It is incredible that in the face of WWII and Nazi Germany Hesse could write this History and the inevitable burning push of evil must have seemed dark and heavy, but ultimately this book written from 1931 to 1943 contains the germs of peace and tranquility I think that peace comes from the idea of a spiritual retreat a common theme and surrender Hesse wasn t saying to run from Evil, although he did himself leave Nazi Germany But I think his book was communicating the ability to find peace through surrendering to one s own situation and place in the universe The Glass Bead Game one day will disappear, but so too ONE DAY will fascism and evil, because all of man s creation is a game So, surrender to the game and surrender to the universe.