Sunday, February 24, 2008

"Wisdom is not communicable. The wisdom which a wise man tries to communicate always sounds foolish."
"Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, be fortified by it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it."

"Therefore, it seems to me that everything that exists is good--death as well as life, sin as well as holiness, wisdom as well as folly. Everything is necessary, everything needs only my agreement, my assent, my loving understanding; then all is well with me and nothing can harm me. I learned through my body and soul that it was necessary for me to sin, that I needed lust, that I had to strive for property and experience nausea and the depths of despair in order to learn not to resist them, in order to learn to love the world, and no longer compare it with some kind of desired imaginary world, some imaginary vision of perfection, but to leave it as it is, to love it and be glad to belong to it."

Hermann Hesse, from Siddhartha


At 2/24/2008 9:23 PM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Wow. I must have a case of the stupids because I can't think of a single comment.

At 2/25/2008 6:24 AM, Blogger Jeannie said...

Wisdom is indeed gained by experience but some people never learn. And I don't think it is necessary to "sin" - at least not all of them - to know better.

At 2/25/2008 9:21 AM, Blogger VV said...

That's awfully deep for me on a Monday morning. I think wisdom is a lot like common sense, it cannot be taught, but can be learned through trial and error and lots of experience.

At 2/25/2008 9:41 AM, Blogger Gardenia said...

I'll have to think about this. I'm rather afraid to embrace sin - the evil twin part of me wants to smack some skulls here and there.

At 2/25/2008 12:48 PM, Blogger Cherie said...


I particularly like the part about wisdom not being taught, but knowledge, yes. And even knowledge is more caught than taught.

The idea of sin being necessary for us to have the contrast of good and evil is one that makes people uncomfortable for sure. But really, if God is trying to teach us about goodness, the idea of badness is sort of necessary for a reference point. He puts it into the mix - though he is completely good. We aren't. The wise among us learn this. The foolish, well they just carry on in their ignorance - for a time. And we are all more foolish than we like to think. And more wise, too.

I like this. But you know me... ;)

At 2/25/2008 1:29 PM, Blogger Pam said...

And the older we get the more knowledge we have about how little we really know!

Seriously though, what a great quote. Wisdom is what we take away from life experiences... hopefully.

At 2/26/2008 12:31 AM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

I couldn't disagree more with this guy. Wisdom is communicable, if one is willing to listen. I've learned a lot of wisdom from listening to others. So have a lot of people.

With wisdom, sometimes you have to listen hard. Sometimes you have to listen twice, or three times.

There's an old saying that says "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink." That's said in frustration as one tries to teach another something wise and that person wasn't listening.

But sometimes people do listen. Sometimes they get it. I think this guy's a misanthrope.

As for sins, no, they're not always good. There are gradient levels for sin. Someone having a lustful thought, who cares? Someone getting pissed off at someone and wanting to kill them, but instead, going home and beating the crap out of a punching bag, who cares? Someone killing someone, well, then I care, and that's not a good thing.

At 2/26/2008 2:40 AM, Blogger Mike S said...

Real wisdom comes from learning how little we ever really know. The older I get, the more I find I must learn about life. Great reason for quietly thinking the day away as I watch the world pass hurriedly by going noplace:):)

At 2/26/2008 11:09 AM, Blogger Squirl said...

No wonder I like this, it's from Siddhartha!

It's hard to wrap your head around enjoying the experience whether it's what we term good or bad. As long as we live in a dualistic world we'll tend to see things that way. When, really, everything just IS.


At 2/26/2008 2:47 PM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Now that I think about it, I agree with ZS. Wisdom can and is communicated, but there has to be a (or several) receptors for it. I'm more interested in what led you to post this...just curious.

At 2/26/2008 6:07 PM, Blogger tweetey30 said...

Wow. Wisdom is indeed a need we all need and need to know. Amazing how many of us dont know what we are doing or talking about. I enjoyed this one. I have chapter 3 up if you are interested in reading it.

At 2/26/2008 7:10 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Bridg, this book was something I just had to absorb rather than read.

Jeannie, I don't think we personally need to commit all the sins. We learn a lot by observing the folly of others.

VV, common sense is my idea of wisdom too. I think it's something we live, rather than learn.

Gardenia, if sin wasn't there, we wouldn't rejoice in the good in life.

Cherie, yeah, I KNEW you'd like this.
"...knowledge is more caught than taught."
I LOVE this! A lot of knowledge has slid through my brain without catching.

Pam, EXACTLY! That's when we become wise; when we realize how little we actually know.

ZS, ach, it's all semantics! To me, wisdom is how we apply the knowledge we've learned to our lives.
I've known a lot of "educated idiots" who are full of knowledge, yet they can't balance their own checkbooks.

Knowing that sin surrounds us is what makes the good things in life that much sweeter.

Mike, that's exactly where Siddhartha's quest took him. You are a very wise man! ;)

Squirl, can you believe that this is the FIRST time of read Siddhartha?! Everybody read this when we were in high school, but I was never one to go along with the crowd. Maybe that's why I was reading Thoreau back then? ;)

Bridg, I just finished the book and wanted to share what I learned from it. It really hit home concerning what life's journey is really all about.

Tweets, that's another book I want to read.

At 2/28/2008 8:48 PM, Blogger SME said...

I gotta agree with ZS here...if wisdom isn't communicable, does that include the wisdom imparted in "Wisdom isn't communicable?"

Buddhists are so confusing!

At 2/29/2008 2:09 AM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

I've known a lot of "educated idiots" who are full of knowledge, yet they can't balance their own checkbooks.

That's why in Dungeons and Dragons, there are both Intelligence and Wisdom. One can have an 18 Intelligence, but a 5 Wisdom.

At 2/29/2008 10:23 AM, Blogger DirtCrashr said...

It seems to me like a very Germanic concept Hesse employs, to embrace the ugly and plumb the depths as an experiential necessity, of willpower in the face of Nature. He elevates Wisdom to a verb, an action.
It's still the concept of seeking perfection, just a redefinition of what perfection is.
Anyhow it's a good book despite all the German-Hindu-Buddhist crap. :-)

At 2/29/2008 4:56 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...


ZS, good system!

DC, Hesse's slant was a bit different than the other books I've read on this topic. I never thought of the German influence. Maybe that's why I could identify with it? We Germans do tend to make a verb out of everything. ;)


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