Category Archives: Hermann Hesse

Huxley, Hesse and The Cybernetic Society By Timothy Leary and Eric Gullichsen

hux

Aldous Huxley

hhesse

 

 

 

Hermann Hesse

 

An excerpt from Timothy Leary and Eric Gullichsen’s unpublished book The Cybernetic Society, written in 1987.

“Up here in the Electronic ’80s we can appreciate what Hesse did, back down there (1931-1942). At the very pinnacle of the smokestack mechanical age Hermann forecast with astonishing accuracy a certain post-industrial device for converting thoughts to digital elements and processing them. No doubt about it, Hesse’s Bead Game anticipated an electronic mind-appliance which would not appear on the consumer market until 1976.”

[…]

“We refer, of course, to that Unauthorized Fruit from the Tree of Knowledge called the Apple. In this Old Testament scenario Eve and her assistant Adam became the first psyber-punks; they committed the Original Sin. To Think for Yourself.

ALDOUS HUXLEY: HERMANN HESSE

I, for one, first heard of Hermann Hesse from Aldous Huxley. In the fall of 1960, Huxley was Carnegie Visiting Professor at MIT. His assignment: to give a series of seven lectures on the subject “What a Piece of Work is Man.” About 2,000 people attended each lecture. Aldous spent most of his off-duty hours hanging around the Harvard Psychedelic Drug Project coaching us innocent novice Americans in the history of mysticism and the ceremonial care-and-handling of what he called “gratuitous grace.”

Huxley was reading Hesse that fall and talked a lot about Hermann’s theory of the three (3) stages of human development.

  1. The tribal sense of tropical-blissful unity.
  2. The horrid Newtonian polarities of the feudal-industrial societies, good-evil, male-female, Christian-Moslem.
  3. The Einsteinian rediscovery of the Oneness of It All.

No question about it, Hegel’s three thumb prints (thesis-antithesis-synthesis) were smudged all over the construct, but Hesse and Huxley didn’t seem to worry about it, so why should we untutored Harvard psychologists?

We all dutifully set to work reading Hesse.”

[…]

“Gentle consideration for the touchiness of the times was, we assume, the reason why Hesse, the master of parody, leads his timid readers with such slow, formal tempo to the final confrontation between Alexander, the President of the Order, and the dissident Game Master.

In his most courteous manner Knecht explains to Alexander, The Prince of Cyber-crats, that he will not accept obediently the “decision from above.”

The President gasped in disbelief. And we can imagine most of the thought-processing elite of Europe, the cyber-profs, the intellectuals, the linguists, the literary critics, the editors of magazines joining Alexander when he sputters, “… not prepared to accept obediently … an unalterable decision from above – have I heard you aright, Magister?”!

Later Alexander asks in a low voice, “… and how do you act now?”

“As my heart and reason command,” replies Joseph Knecht.

With this noble espousal of “the unauthorized life,” Hermann Hesse becomes a Patron Saint of Cyberpunk.”

Follow this link for more of this excerpt from the unpublished book: http://downlode.org/Etext/huxley_hesse_cybernetic.html

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The Glass Bead Game

The Glass Bead Game

Herman Hesse’s Nobel Prize Winning Novel, The Glass Bead Game lays the foundations for an Artistic/Conceptual Game, which integrates all fields of Human and Cosmic Knowledge through forms of Organic Universal Symbolism, expressed by its players with the Dynamic Fluidity of Music. The Glass Bead Game is, in Reality, an Age Old metaphor for what has been called, the “Divine Lila” (Play or Game of Life). This metaphor has been expressed by every great Wisdom Tradition known to man, and its players, the Magister Ludi (Masters of the Game), use as their instruments Ancient and Modern modes of Symbolic Wisdom traditionally presented through Sacred Art, Philosophy, Magick and Cosmology.
For a more detailed elaboration of our vision of the GBG, see:
THE GLASS BEAD GAME
“Although we recognize the idea of the Game as eternally present, and therefore existent in vague stirrings long before it became a reality, its realization in the form we know it nevertheless has its specific history.”
“How far back the historian wishes to place the origins and antecedents of the Glass Bead Game is, ultimately, a matter of his personal choice. For like every great idea it has no real beginning; rather, it has always been, at least the idea of it. We find it foreshadowed, as a dim anticipation and hope, in a good many earlier ages. There are hints of it in Pythagoras, for example, and then among Hellenistic Gnostic circles in the late period of classical civilization. We find it equally among the ancient Chinese, then again at the several pinnacles of Arabic-Moorish culture; and the path of its prehistory leads on through Scholasticism and Humanism to the academies of mathematicians of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and on to the Romantic philosophies and the runes of Novalis’ hallucinatory visions.”
“This same eternal idea, which for us has been embodied in the Glass Bead Game, has underlain every movement of Mind toward the ideal goal of a Universitatis Litterarum, every Platonic Academy, every league of an intellectual elite, every rapprochement between the exact and the more liberal disciplines, every effort toward reconciliation between science and art or science and religion”
~ Hermann Hesse
and if you choose to watch this video, PLEASE watch to the very end!

The Psychology of C.G. Jung in the Works of Hermann Hesse

The Psychology of C.G. Jung in the Works of Hermann Hesse by Emanuel Maier

“While the ideas of Dr. Jung have had profound influence upon the
creative work of Hermann Hesse, other influences are not thereby excluded.
Other dissertations might wish to examine the influence of Ludwig Klages,8
Sigmund Freud, or Oriental philosophy, or of German Pietism.9 H. Mauerhofer
even went so far as to characterize all of Hesse‘s works as the expression of
introversion.10 A man of the stature of Hermann Hesse is open to all the
intellectual and cultural achievements of man. He has taken from all and has
given back to the world a new synthesis which bears the imprint of his own
creative genius.”

http://www.gss.ucsb.edu/projects/hesse/papers/maier.pdf

Undisturbed by multiplicity

“We must become so alone, so utterly alone, that we withdraw into our innermost self. It is a way of bitter suffering. But then our solitude is overcome, we are no longer alone, for we find that our innermost self is the spirit, that it is God, the indivisible. And suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of the world, yet undisturbed by its multiplicity, for our innermost soul we know ourselves to be one with all being.”
― Hermann Hesse

 

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