Category Archives: Consciousness

“He was an illumination thrown upon life.”

balzac

” Specialism consists in seeing the things of the material world as well as those of the spiritual world in their original and consequential ramifications. The highest human genius is that which starts from the shadows of abstraction to advance into the light of specialism. (Specialism, species, sight, speculation, seeing all, and that at one glance; speculum, the mirror or means of estimating a thing by seeing it in its entirety)” ~ Honore de Balzac

 

Balzac was standing before the fireplace of that dear room where I have seen so many remarkable men and women come and go. He was not tall, though the light on his face and the mobility of his figure prevented me from noticing his stature. His body swayed with his thought; there seemed at times to be a space between him and the floor; occasionally he stooped as though to gather an idea at his feet, and then he rose on them to follow the flight of his thought above him. At the moment of my entrance he was carried away by the subject of a conversation then going on with Monsieur and Madame de Girardin, and only interrupted himself for a moment to give me a keen, rapid, gracious look of extreme kindness.

He was stout, solid, square at the base and across the shoulders. The neck, chest, body and thighs were powerful, with something of Mirabeau’s amplitude, but without heaviness. His soul was apparent, and seemed to carry everything lightly, gaily, like a supple covering, not in the least like a burden. His size seemed to give him power, not to deprive him of it. His short arms gesticulated easily; he talked as an orator speaks. His voice resounded with the somewhat vehement energy of his lungs, but it had neither roughness nor sarcasm nor anger in it; his legs, on which he rather swayed himself, bore the torso easily; his hands, which were large and plump, expressed his thought as he waved them. Such was the outward man in that robust frame. But in presence of the face it was difficult to think of the structure. That speaking face, from which it was not easy to remove one’s eye, charmed and fascinated you; his hair was worn in thick masses; his black eyes pierced you like darts dipped in kindliness; they entered confidingly into yours like friends. His cheeks were full and ruddy; the nose well modeled, though rather long; the lips finely outlined, but full and raised at the corners; the teeth irregular and notched. His head was apt to lean to one side, and then, when the talk excited him, it was lifted quickly with an heroic sort of pride.

But the dominant expression of his face, greater than even that of intellect, was the manifestation of goodness and kindheartedness. He won your mind when he spoke, but he won your heart when he was silent. No feeling of envy or hatred could have been expressed by that face; it was impossible that it should seem otherwise than kind. But the kindness was not that of indifference; it was loving kindness, conscious of its meaning and conscious of others; it inspired gratitude and frankness, and defied all those who knew him not to love him. A childlike merriment was in his aspect; here was a soul at play; he had dropped his pen to be happy among friends, and it was impossible not to be joyous where he was . ~ Alphonse de Lamartine

From Cosmic Consciousness, by Richard Maurice Bucke, [1901], at sacred-texts.com Chapter 12 Honoré de Balzac.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/cc/cc21.htm

 

For those who read French, you can read Lamartine’s work “Balzac et ses ouevres online at https://archive.org/details/balzacetsesoeuvr00lama

 

and Honore de Balzac, by Albert Keim and Louis Lumet at Project Gutenberg http://www.gutenberg.org/files/3625/3625-h/3625-h.htm


 

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Steppenwolf: “The Genius of Suffering” by Hassan M. Malik

Steppenwolf: “The Genius of Suffering” by Hassan M. Malik

“Like Goethe, a Hesse novel is an integral part of a broader paradigm, which reflects the author’s maturing thought, morals, and ideas at that particular point in his life. Hesse wrote Steppenwolf when he was about fifty years old. His health was on a decline, and he had divorced out of a failed second marriage in a relatively short period of time (Ziolkowski, 108). He was also visiting Dr. Carl Gustav Jung for psychoanalysis (Ziolkowski, 109). Hesse’s opposition to the upcoming Second World War, his failed marriage, his search for self, his deteriorating social life, and a strong influence of Jungian ideas it appears, have contributed to the development of this novel.  Hesse elaborates how the road to realization of the self can fill up with extreme pain, suffering, misery, affliction, and twinge, if the multiple aspects of self are ignored and the self is reduced to only two extremes of persona – Haller finds his nirvana through the realization that he must broaden the horizon of his thoughts to encompass the thousands of possibilities offered to him by Bourgeois, which he has always despised.”

“Harry consists of a hundred or a thousand selves, not two”; human nature is too complex to be viewed between only two extremes […] Harry’s life oscillates, as everyone’s does, not merely between two poles, such as the body and the spirit, the saint and the sinner, but between thousand and thousands”. (Hesse, 66)

Harry looks into the magic mirror of Pablo and sees multiple components of his personality. He sees youth, adult, and an old man; and every possibility in between. He recognizes the thousands of possible Harries in the mirror are the diverse dimensions of himself. He is now ready to enter the Magic Theatre of Pablo.

The price to enter the Magic Theatre is one’s sense of reasoning. Magic Theatre is not for everyone – it is for madmen only. One can relate these “Madmen” to be people who can perceive reality on a higher level like immortals; this fact is established in the novel when tract says, “one of our magic theatres”, as the tract is written by a higher being itself (Hesse, 74).  Madmen are people like Prince Myshkin of Dostoevsky in The Idiot, “who have perceived total reality of good and evil (Ziolkowski, 215)”. On The Idiot, Ziolkowski’s judgment seems rational when he declares Myshkin to be like Hesse’s madmen. Just to name an occasion, when Myshkin introduces himself in the house of Gavril Ardalionovich, he accepts that he has “grown strange to [their] ways” (Dostoevsky, 20).    In the light of Steppenwolf these are people who perceive reality in the absence of time and poles. These people are Immortals who live in a place where life is a “moment” without time and the “moment” is just “big enough” to be happy (Hesse, 110).

http://archives.hassanmalik.org/steppenwolf

Horus and Seth kissing
Horus and Seth kissing
Horus and Seth cooperating with each other
Horus and Seth cooperating with each other
Horus and Seth reconciled
Horus and Seth reconciled

Balzac: The more he saw

The more he saw, the more he doubted. He watched men narrowly, and saw how, beneath the surface, courage was often rashness; and prudence, cowardice; generosity, a clever piece of calculation; justice, a wrong; delicacy, pusillanimity; honesty, a modus vivendi; and by some strange dispensation of fate, he must see that those who at heart were really honest, scrupulous, just, generous, prudent or brave were held cheaply by their fellow-men.
‘What a cold-blooded jest!’ said he to himself. ‘It was not devised by a God.’
From that time forth he renounced a better world, and never uncovered himself when a Name was pronounced, and for him the carven saints in the churches became works of art”
― Honoré de Balzac