Steppenwolf

“I did not regret the past. My regret was for the present day, for all the countless hours and days that I lost in mere passivity and that brought me nothing, not even the shocks of awakening.”

“It happened to him as it does to all; what he strove for with the deepest and most stubborn instinct of his being fell to his lot, but more than is good for men. In the beginning his dream and his happiness, in the end it was his bitter fate. The man of power is ruined by power, the man of money by money, the submissive man by subservience, the pleasure seeker by pleasure.”

“As a body everyone is single, as a soul never.”

“Man is not by any means of fixed and enduring form (this, in spite of suspicions to the contrary on the part of their wise men, was the ideal of the ancients). He is much more an experiment and a transition. He is nothing else than the narrow and perilous bridge between nature and spirit. His innermost destiny drives him on to the spirit and to God. His innermost longing draws him back to nature, the mother. Between the two forces his life hangs tremulous and irresolute. “Man,” whatever people think of him, is never anything more than a temporary bourgeois compromise.”

“Seriousness, young man, is an accident of time. It consists, I don’t mind telling you in confidence, in putting too high a value on time.”

“You’re dying just for the lack of a push to throw you into the water and bring you to life again.”

“It’s a poor fellow who can’t take his pleasure without asking other people’s permission.”

“Look at an animal, a cat, a dog, or a bird, or one of those beautiful great beasts in the zoo, a puma or a giraffe. You can’t help seeing that all of them are right. They’re never in any embarrassment. They always know what to do and how to behave themselves. They don’t flatter and they don’t intrude. They don’t pretend. They are as they are, like stones or flowers or stars in the sky.”

“We have fallen out of nature and hang suspended in space.”

“You have a picture of life within you, a faith, a challenge, and you were ready for deeds and sufferings and sacrifices, and then you became aware by degrees that the world asked no deeds and no sacrifices of you whatever, and that life is no poem of heroism with heroic parts to play and so on, but a comfortable room where people are quite content with eating and drinking, coffee and knitting, cards and wireless.”

“True humor begins when a man ceases to take himself seriously.”

— Hermann Hesse

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