Thursday, September 16, 2010

"Within and Wishout." Hermann Hesse

Frederick, the man who worships reason and logic and science meets an old friend, Erwin, who believes in magic. That magic is summarized with the words “For what is without is within.” Erwin gives Frederick a parting gift, a glazed idol. He tells Frederick when that idol is no longer without but within, come back to tell him.

Frederick hates the idol. Tries to put it out of his way. A maid eventually smashes it. Frederick is glad it is gone, but it is not gone. It still bothers him. One night Frederick wakes up at 3 A.M. and knows that the idol is within him, a part of his inner mental state. Erwin says to him: “Until today you have been the slave of the within. Learn to be its master. That is magic.” The within and the without are now interchangeable.

Comment: I don’t think I completely understand this story. I guess it’s a balance between thought and emotion. RayS.

Fifty Great European Short Stories. Ed. Edward and Elizabeth Huberman. New York: Bantam Books. 1971.

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