Herman Hesse's Siddhartha

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In the novel Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse, a young son of a Brahman, Siddhartha, goes on a quest to become enlightened. He attempts to do this by conquering “the self”. He believes that conquering the “self” will bring him to a calming peace and evolve into a spiritual journey of self-discovery. Throughout his travels, Siddhartha learns that only his knowledge, beliefs, and discoveries will help him to conquer himself. Because of this, Siddhartha’s quest is an extremely egocentric one, but in order to conquer oneself in this way it is impossible for such a quest to be anything but egocentric. A consequence of this becomes antisocial behavior. In the context of this journey, antisocial behavior can be defined as an individual who isolates himself from others in an effort to complete a task. Conquering the “self” by emptying himself from thought, will, and desire is egotistically antisocial behavior but by no means does it show a negative attitude toward life.…show more content…
He goes through his journey determined to seek more knowledge without abiding by the rules or beliefs of others. In fact, he views the way that the Samanas seek to free themselves from the “self” physically for many years as silly and tedious. Siddhartha compares these actions to a drunk man’s when he says to Govinda that “What I've learned, being among the Samanas, up to this day, I could have learned […] In every tavern of that part of a town where the whorehouses are" (Hesse 9). As he continues to discover more about the “self” and his views, Siddhartha decides to continue his journey independently. He states that “I shall learn from myself, be a pupil of myself; I shall get to know myself, the mystery of Siddhartha”(Hesse 21). With this, Siddhartha means that he will no longer be influenced by the opinions of others. Although this makes Siddhartha egotistically antisocial, he is making the best decision for himself by abiding by his own

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