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Hermann Hesse

Like Ayn Rand or L. Ron Hubbard, Hermann Hesse is one of those writers whose work is often embraced as a holistic philosophy. Well, although I am not a Hessian (in fact, I can't even shoot a musket), I do enjoy his books and believe his philosophy of self-exploration is intriguing and insightful.

To my mind, the most definitive statement of Hesse's worldview is Siddhartha. The book tells the tale of a young Indian man of long ago who leaves his village in order to seek the truth. During his travels he tries on many coats - living variously as an ascetic, a Buddhist, a hedonist, a capitalist, and a boatman. Only near the end, after he has spent many years worshipping the river he crosses daily, does he discover the truth he has for so long sought. Brutally paraphrased, the journey is the reward -- one's own experience is the only road to Enlightenment.

Most of Hesse's other books are well-written variations on this basic theme. I note Damien in passing because one of my better college friends had, with his family, taken on Damien as his surname in honor of Hesse and his book. I could keep writing on Mr. Hesse, but, given his main idea, I think I had best let you try him yourself.

Follow the path toward Hermann Hesse.

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