Yesterday, I read Hermann Hesse’s “Siddhartha.” The short novel is about a young man, Siddartha, in search of purpose. Siddartha begins the story as an academic, gives that life up for one of self-denial and contemplation, which he gives up for one of wealth and luxury, which he gives up to be a ferry-man on a river.
The lesson the reader is supposed to take is that one should eschew specific doctrine in favor of love. Not, Hesse makes clear, a romantic love, but a deep respect for our world and all beings.
This lesson was well-timed for me. I also finished Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” yesterday which filled me with anger and despair. Reading “Siddartha” afterward helped to put our current political struggles into perspective. Donald Trump and his administration can’t keep me from loving this world, this life and every being in it.