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Hermann Hesse quotes (showing 1-30 of 1,062)

“Learn what is to be taken seriously and laugh at the rest.”
Hermann Hesse
“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one's suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”
Hermann Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte
“If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us.”
Hermann Hesse, Demian: Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend
“Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours.”
Hermann Hesse
“Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish.”
Hermann Hesse
“I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.”
Hermann Hesse, Demian: Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend
“Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity.”
Hermann Hesse
“If I know what love is, it is because of you.”
Hermann Hesse
tags: love
“That is where my dearest and brightest dreams have ranged — to hear for the duration of a heartbeat the universe and the totality of life in its mysterious, innate harmony.”
Hermann Hesse, Gertrude
“Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else ... Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
“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
“Some of us think holding on makes us strong but sometimes it is letting go”
Hermann Hesse
“To hold our tongues when everyone is gossiping, to smile without hostility at people and institutions, to compensate for the shortage of love in the world with more love in small, private matters; to be more faithful in our work, to show greater patience, to forgo the cheap revenge obtainable from mockery and criticism: all these are things we can do. ”
Hermann Hesse
“When someone seeks," said Siddhartha, "then it easily happens that his eyes see only the thing that he seeks, and he is able to find nothing, to take in nothing because he always thinks only about the thing he is seeking, because he has one goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal.”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
“I live in my dreams — that's what you sense. Other people live in dreams, but not in their own. That's the difference.”
Hermann Hesse, Demian: Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend
“Oh, love isn't there to make us happy. I believe it exists to show us how much we can endure.”
Hermann Hesse, Wer lieben kann, ist glücklich. Über die Liebe
tags: love
“We are sun and moon, dear friend; we are sea and land. It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is: each the other's opposite and complement.”
Hermann Hesse, Narcissus and Goldmund
“Often it is the most deserving people who cannot help loving those who destroy them.”
Hermann Hesse
tags: love
“There is no escape. You can't be a vagabond and an artist and still be a solid citizen, a wholesome, upstanding man. You want to get drunk, so you have to accept the hangover. You say yes to the sunlight and pure fantasies, so you have to say yes to the filth and the nausea. Everything is within you, gold and mud, happiness and pain, the laughter of childhood and the apprehension of death. Say yes to everything, shirk nothing. Don't try to lie to yourself. You are not a solid citizen. You are not a Greek. You are not harmonious, or the master of yourself. You are a bird in the storm. Let it storm! Let it drive you! How much have you lied! A thousand times, even in your poems and books, you have played the harmonious man, the wise man, the happy, the enlightened man. In the same way, men attacking in war have played heroes, while their bowels twitched. My God, what a poor ape, what a fencer in the mirror man is- particularly the artist- particularly myself!”
Hermann Hesse
“It is not for me to judge another man's life. I must judge, I must choose, I must spurn, purely for myself. For myself, alone.”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
“What could I say to you that would be of value, except that perhaps you seek too much, that as a result of your seeking you cannot find.”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
“When you like someone, you like them in spite of their faults. When you love someone, you love them with their faults.”
Hermann Hesse, Wer lieben kann, ist glücklich. Über die Liebe
tags: love
“Love must not entreat,' she added, 'or demand. Love must have the strength to become certain within itself. Then it ceases merely to be attracted and begins to attract.”
Hermann Hesse, Demian: Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend
“You are willing to die, you coward, but not to live.”
Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf
“People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest.”
Hermann Hesse
“It may be important to great thinkers to examine the world, to explain and despise it. But I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it, not for us to hate each other, but to be able to regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration and respect.”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
“We are not going in circles, we are going upwards. The path is a spiral; we have already climbed many steps.”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
“Perhaps people like us cannot love. Ordinary people can - that is their secret. ”
Hermann Hesse
tags: love
“Solitude is independence. It had been my wish and with the years I had attained it. It was cold. Oh, cold enough! But it was also still, wonderfully still and vast like the cold stillness of space in which the stars revolve.”
Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf
“Every man is more than just himself; he also represents the unique, the very special and always significant and remarkable point at which the world's phenomena intersect, only once in this way, and never again. That is why every man's story is important, eternal, sacred; that is why every man, as long as he lives and fulfills the will of nature, is wondrous, and worthy of consideration. In each individual the spirit has become flesh, in each man the creation suffers, within each one a redeemer is nailed to the cross.”
Hermann Hesse, Demian: Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend

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