Jul 24, 2009

moving on

Although it is easy to fit any given segment of the past neatly and intelligibly into the patterns of world history, contemporaries are never able to see their own place in the patterns. ... He no longer felt that he was among equals in his school and his town. He was no longer in the right place. Everything he had known has become permeated by a hidden death, a solvent of unreality, a sense of belonging to the past. It has all become a makeshift, like worn-out clothing that no longer fitted. And as the end of his stay at the Latin school approached, this slow outgrowing of a beloved and harmonious home town, this shedding of a way of life no longer right for him, this living on the verge of departure--interspersed though the mood of parting was by moments of supreme rejoicing and radiant self-assurance--became a terrible torment to him, an almost intolerable pressure and suffering. For everything was slipping from him without his being sure that it was not really himself who was abandoning everything. He could not say whether he should not be blaming himself for this perishing and estrangement of his dear and accustomed world. Perhaps he had killed it by ambition, by arrogance, by pride, by disloyalty and lack of love. Among the pangs inherent in a genuine vocation, these are the bitterest. One who has received the call takes, in accepting it, not only a gift and a commandment, but also something akin to guilt.
hermann hesse, the glass bead game

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