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10 thoughts on “Krieg und Frieden: Betrachtungen zu Krieg und Politik

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    One of my favorite passages indeed every man of insight, every awakened and enlightened one, every true knower and teacher of mankind, has taught this one thing namely, that man should not wish for greatness or happiness, for heroism or sweet peace, that he should wish for nothing at all but the pure and wakeful mind, the brave heart and faithful, knowing patience that will enable him to endure happiness as well as suffering, tumult as well as silence.Let us wish for these good gifts They all have the same source They come from God, they are nothing other than the divine spark in each one of us We do not perceive the spark every day often we go a long time without perceiving it, but a single moment can bring it back to us, a moment of terror and despair, or a moment of blissful quietness a glance into the mystery of a flower, or into the trusting eyes of a child, the sound of a few measures of music At such moments, moments of extreme affliction or of quiet openness, each one of us knows, even if he cannot say it in words, the secret of all knowledge and all happiness, the secret of unity The one God lives in us all, every parcel of the earth is our home, every man is our kinsman and brother that is the knowledge to which we return when dire affliction or sweet rapture opens our ears and makes our hearts capable of love And this knowledge of diving unity exposes all separation into races, nations, rich and poor, religions and parties as a delusion and a snare.May this inner peace come to us and to all men

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    If the War Goes On is a collection of essays chosen by Herman Hesse that span over the 40 year period between World War I and the end of the Second World War The majority of the essays are taken up with the former but there are also some universal truths explored that are applicable to the latter as well The main theme that runs throughout the book is that of a rejection of nationalism and of groupthink in general Hesse, as he often reminds us, is not a pacifist, but views war and nationalism as corroding individualism It is individualism of each man women are not considered here and his ability to live to his ultimate potential unfettered by oppression that makes the world beautiful Hesse insists that trying to better the world around you is a futile endeavor Making yourself better is the only way to make the world better The world wasn t made to be bettered Nor were you made to be bettered You were made to be yourselves You were made to enrich the world with a sound, a tone, a shadow Be yourself, then the world will be rich and beautiful Be other than yourself, be a liar and a coward, then the world will be poor and seem in need of betterment In theory the idea that unleashing our inner potential is the key to tranquility, if not world peace which Hesse does not believe possible is a nice thought but Hesse s seeming rejection of cooperation left me feeling cold While Hesse was undoubtedly a marvelous writer I annotated this book like few others in recent memory I also wonder about his own complicity in the Second World War in particular Hesse is critical of those who joined the Nazi party to save their livelihoods and families and yet seems to be defensive about his decision to flee Germany and see out the war in a Swiss villa I couldn t help feeling that while Hesse is critical of those who made this particular choice, he didn t take into account that others perhaps didn t have the means or connections to get out like he did He is critical of all the letters he gets postwar asking him to lend his name to help those in trouble, saying that he doesn t believe his fame would help and that they should essentially find another way Yet in this, what was to me, callous disregard of people in need he forgets that it is precisely this fame he belittles which helped him escape the worst of the Nazi regime Most troubling for me is Hesse s prickliness at being criticized for sitting out the war Hesse seems to believe he suffered just as much as anyone in Germany because his works were banned and his livelihood destroyed I have a hard time with this equivalency or sympathizing with him while men and women were being tortured and killed in his absence Hesse writes For instance, there are all the old acquaintances who had written to me for years but stopped when they found out that I was under close surveillance and that corresponding with me could have very unpleasant consequences Now they inform me that they are still in the land of the living, that they have always thought of me with affection and envied my good fortune at living in the paradise of Switzerland, and that, as I must be well aware, they had never sympathised with those damned Nazis But many of these old acquaintances were party members for years Now they tell me how they had one foot in the concentration camp all those years, and I am obliged to reply that the only anti Nazis I can take seriously are those who had both feet in a camp, not one in a camp and the other in the party In fairness, Hesse did lose family members in the war and I do not mean to belittle his loss However he personally risked little and despite his protestations to the contrary, abdicates some moral authority when he criticizes the life and death choices of those who stayed behind This lack of moral authority and hypocrisy hurt his arguments and at least for me, were difficult to overlook despite the wonderful writing.

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    Growing up during the Cold War and the U.S invasions of Southeast Asia, on the one hand, and the civil rights movement, on the other, politics was almost inescapable Older friends were being drafted, going underground, fleeing to Canada Black and Hispanic friends were confronted by identity politics My sympathies went naturally to the oppressed, so much so that I stirred to the nationalists resisting by force of arms what they identified as American imperialism, so much so that I gave the benefit of the doubt to even the successionists in the black, Hispanic, Native American etc communities.Yet, just as much as I naturally sympathized with the oppressed, so too I found physical violence repugnant Clearly, there was a contradiction here and much of my reading during the last years of high school and first years of college was of pacifists of various stripes and of militant leftists as well.Among the thinkers I found most helpful were Albert Camus, Gandhi, Tolstoy, David McReynolds, the Berrigan brothers and Hermann Hesse, many of whose political writings are collected in this volume.

One Of The Most Astonishing Aspects Of Hesse S Career Is The Clear Sightedness And Consistency Of His Political Views, His Passionate Espousal Of Pacifism And Internationism From The Start Of World War I To The End Of His Life The Earliest Essay In This Book Was Written In September,And Was Followed By A Stream Of Letters, Essays, And Pamphlets That Reached Its Hight Point With Zarathustra S Return Published Anonymously In , The Year That Also Saw The Publication Of Demian , In Which Hesse Exhorted German Youth To Shake Off The False Gods Of Nationalism And Militarism That Had Led Their Country Into The Abyss Such Views Earned Him The Labels Traitor And Viper In Germany, But After World War II He Was Moved To Reiterate His Beliefs In Another Series Of Essays And Letters Hesse Arranged His Anti War Writings For Publication In One Volume InAn Amplified Edition Appeared NAnd That Text Has Been Followed For This First Engish Language Edition