Thursday, February 10, 2011

the three lives

... that people more readily accept affliction and outward penances than the task of changing themselves, or even examining themselves; that they believe more in formulas than experience. these are matters which in the several thousand years since his era have probably not changed so much as a good many history books claim. but he had also learned that a seeking, thoughtful man dare not forfeit love; that he must meet the wishes and follies of men halfway, not showing arrogance but also not truckling to them; that it is always only a single step from sage to charlatan, from priest to mountebank, from helpful brother to parasitic drone, and that the people would by far prefer to pay a swindler and be exploited by a quack than accept help given freely and unselfishly. they would much rather pay in money and goods than in trust and love. they cheat one another and expect to be cheated themselves. you had to learn to see man as a weak, selfish, and cowardly creature; you also had to realize how many of these evil traits and impulses you shared yourself; and nevertheless you allowed yourself to believe, and nourished your soul on faith, that man is also spirit and love, that something dwells in him which is at variance with his instincts and longs to refine them.

the rainmaker.
hermann hesse.

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