Over time I’ve come to not expect a book to radically shift my worldview. When I posted that I’d be reading this book on Twitter every single person that replied said they loved the book. All that made me feel like I was on the brink of something special. And special it was. Perhaps because Siddhartha examines a universal human condition- the elusive and fleeting sense of satisfaction. The message of the book is to experience life for ourselves, to learn from our own mistakes, and not turn to other people (or things, books, etc) for a sense of “wholeness”. No philosopher including Hesse can provide that sense, they can only share their understanding of it and point in the direction they discovered it. The so-called “wisdom” or “secret” is personal and subjective, it cannot be communicated successfully.
To quote from the book, “Knowledge can be conveyed, but not wisdom. It can be found, it can be lived, it is possible to be carried by it, miracles can be performed with it, but it cannot be expressed in words and taught.”
“Look, my dear Govinda, this is one of my thoughts, which I have found: wisdom cannot be passed on. Wisdom which a wise man tries to pass on to someone always sounds like foolishness.”
I appreciate and agree with the message of the book. I rarely pick up the spirituality/philosophy genre, so Siddhartha is a nice starting point. This book required more patience than I was prepared to expend- patience with the writing style and repetitiveness- but it was worth it. I think there is something here for everyone to relate to, give thought to, and perhaps even be reminded of something forgotten.