Spiritual Insurrection

Occupy Death

Holding open a door to the divine.

The world does not give us very much now; it often seems to consist of nothing but noise and fear, and yet grass and trees still grow. And if one day the whole world should be covered with concrete boxes, the clouds will still be playing up above, and here and there people will still, with the help of art, be holding open a door to the divine.

I have come from the city, where after a long absence I was once more among people, and I have sat in a train, seen pictures and sculptures and heard wonderful new songs by Othmar Schoeck. Now the joyful breeze brushes my face just as it caresses the nodding anemones, but as it whirls up a swarm of memories in me like a dust cloud, a reminder of pain and transience rises from my blood into my conscious mind. Stone on the path, you are stronger than me! Tree in the meadow, you will outlast me, and perhaps so will you, little raspberry bush, and perhaps even you, rose-scented anemone.

For a single breath I sense more profoundly than ever the transience of my form, and I feel drawn into transformation – to the stone, the earth, the raspberry bush, the tree root. My thirst is for the signs of passing, for the earth, the water and the withering of the leaves. Tomorrow, the day after, soon, soon I shall be you, I shall be leaves, I shall be earth, I shall be roots, I shall write no more words on paper, I shall no longer smell the regal wallflower, I shall no longer carry the dentist’s bill around in my pocket, I shall no longer be pestered by menacing officials demanding proof of citizenship, and so – swim cloud in the blue, flow water in the brook, bud leaf on the bough, I have sunk into oblivion and into my thousand-times-longed-for transformation.

Ten and a hundred times more you will grasp me, enchant me and imprison me, world of words, world of opinions, world of people, world of increasing pleasure and feverish fear. A thousand times you will delight me and terrify me, with songs sung at the piano, with newspapers, with telegrams, with obituaries, with registration forms and with all your crazy odds and ends, you, world full of pleasure and fear, sweet opera full of melodic nonsense. But never more, may God grant, will you be completely lost to me, devotion to transience, passionate music of change, readiness for death, desire for rebirth. Easter will always return, pleasure will always become fear, fear will always become redemption, and the song of the past will accompany me on my way without grief, filled with affirmation, filled with readiness, filled with hope.

Hermann Hesse is the famed author of Siddhartha, a novel he described as a “biography of the soul.” Hesse died in 1962 at the age of 85. His reflections on mortality are collected in Hymn to Old Age, published by Pushkin Press.

53 comments on the article “Occupy Death”

Displaying 1 - 10 of 53

Page 1 of 6

Anonymous

If Hesse never saw or pretended not to see that the Nazis of the Third Reich were folded into the U.S. Military after the war, then what good is he. Why should he matter with such poor observational skills or worse was too timid or comfortable with success to reveal this great and distressing fact? I liked reading The Glass Bead Game but it's the wrong manual to take into battle against murderers with a global reach. Wtf's wrong with you people.

Anonymous

Yes, Hesse recommends the cocoon to his readers and followers. But, when they emerge - if they emerge at all - they do so as butterflies. Too bad, because what they need to be are hornets if they are to be of any help at all.

Anonymous

Oh please they're not emerging as butterflies or anything else. Those who were really inspired by the movement didn't f**g live in a camp, they visited and then got on with things. They don't have time to piss around in cocoons contemplating the f**g daisies. They have lives and families and property to protect so they quietly did what real life 99%'s do and have always done, they rolled up their sleeves and got to the hard work while the children played tag with the police. The result is the following:

Oakland's Treasurer Recommends Terminating Goldman Sachs Deal

In a recent memo, Oakland's Treasury Manager Katano Kasaine advises that the city council approve a negotiating effort to terminate Oakland's costly interest rate swap deal with Goldman Sachs no later than the end of the next fiscal year. The swap currently costs Oakland taxpayers about $4 million per year and has put serious pressure on the city's budget. As such, Kasaine is recommending that the city attempt to terminate the swap "at a below market value cost."

Under interest rate swap agreements, a party seeking to terminate a deal on which they are losing money is contractually obliged to pay a hefty penalty, usually the "market value" of the swap. Market value corresponds to about what the party would be expected to pay over the full term of the agreement. In Oakland's case, the penalty is currently about $15 million, about the same amount Oakland would otherwise be forced to pay Goldman Sachs, spread out between now and 2021 when the swap expires.

Kasaine's memo, and the unusual "below market value" request it contains, ARE THE RESULT OF A GRASSROOTS EFFORT BY ACTIVISTS who revived the issue in early February after it had fallen of the council's agenda. Calling themselves the Coalition for Economic and Social Justice in Oakland, the group congealed after Reverend Daniel Buford of the Allen Temple Baptist Church convened meetings in early this year. The Coalition attended a February 21 meeting of the city council, packing the chambers with fifty constituents from churches, labor unions, and community organizations, all calling for an end to the deal with Goldman Sachs. They characterized the swap as "unjust," and explained how the financial crisis, and the reduction of variable interest rates in line with the Federal Reserve’s decisions since 2007 have transformed the once "prudent hedge" into a "toxic asset." Several members of the council responded affirmatively to the message, implying they would act on it.

WHAT A BUNCH OF WHINEY SPOILED OVER-PRIVILEGED CAN'T- WIPE -YOUR -OWN -ARSES BABIES YOU ARE CONTEMPLATING THE MOVEMENT! YOU CAN'T HAVE A MEANINGFUL MOVEMENT WHEN ALL YOU WANT TO DO IS SIT IN A F**G PARK ALL DAY. SHIT WILL GET DONE BY THE REAL 99% WHO LIVE IN REALITY AND NOT IN THEIR OWN BLOODY MINDS.

Arseholes.

Anonymous

In a police state playing tag with the police is excellent practice for the time being. All should be encouraged to do this. Otherwise, your comments seemed to go in three different directions. And, I'm not sure if you're not disoriented. Let me see if this works in finding out. If you were hungry without material prospect and I offer you either bread or a lotus blossom which would you choose? Hint: A person of sound mind would take the bread. However, if I truly had a lotus blossom and bread and you were truly hungry and like flowers both would be yours without asking.

Anonymous

Playing tag with police doesn't affect power at all. It gives the middle-class working cops extra pay at tax payers expense and alienates them to boot with all the name calling and all. In dismantling a police state you will eventually need people within the state apparatus to join the cause and I'd rather have a cop on my side than have his boot up my backside, after all they are not the enemy here. Those who are truly in power do not care what happens in the street, they don't care if you camp out, they don't have to see you. They don't care if you play tag with cops, it doesn't affect them. They don't even have to walk through the street to get to work so sitting in front of a wall street office isn't going to get you within their earshot. Playing tag with police didn't stop the Greek people from volunteering for more back-breaking austerity through the vote, in other words the radical street violence only frightened off those who still had something to lose. They have to lose money and their behaviour has to be criminalized. Power won't and the system doesn't respond to jazz, it may just respond to Glenn Gould, not as romantic I know but a lot more subtle. Its what Iceland did successfully and why they're able to put their prime minister on trial, tell the banks to stick the debt up their tukus as well as placing bankers in jail. We have a bloody corporate-state military-industrial complex to rein in and dismantle for christ sake and the secret to that is in the boring details not playing tiddly-winks while wearing a clown suit and then speaking as if ones on the f**g magical mystery tour.

You can eat the lotus blossom if you want to, I prefer the bread. The ancient Greeks referred to lotus-eaters as the Lotophagi, they lived on an island where they ate copious amounts of lotus flowers which acted as a sleeping agent, a narcotic.

So yeah the rational person would take the bread and would only allow his enemy to ingest the lotus. I don't need friends nor allies who are dreaming.

Anonymous

In Odyssey IX, Odysseus tells how adverse north winds blew him and his men off course as they were rounding Cape Malea, the southernmost tip of the Peloponnesus, headed westwards for Ithaca:
"I was driven thence by foul winds for a space of 9 days upon the sea, but on the tenth day we reached the land of the Lotus-eaters, who live on a food that comes from a kind of flower. Here we landed to take in fresh water, and our crews got their mid-day meal on the shore near the ships. When they had eaten and drunk I sent two of my company to see what manner of men the people of the place might be, and they had a third man under them. They started at once, and went about among the Lotus-eaters, who did them no hurt, but gave them to eat of the lotus, which was so delicious that those who ate of it left off caring about home, and did not even want to go back and say what had happened to them, but were for staying and munching lotus with the Lotus-eaters without thinking further of their return; nevertheless, though they wept bitterly I forced them back to the ships and made them fast under the benches. Then I told the rest to go on board at once, lest any of them should taste of the lotus and leave off wanting to get home, so they took their places and smote the grey sea with their oars."

Anonymous

Okay, I'm gonna go with disoriented but maybe just slightly. So, I'll take the time to correct you on one point. We, you, if you're not a pig yourself, have no greater enemy than the pig/Military. That is your gods' truth and our current reality.

Anonymous

Get a grip this isn't North Korea, what you are living within is a passive military state where the powers of open aggression are carried out abroad not at home. At home you have a passive but growing police state. So how do you combat that? You do so by dismantling the money nexus, you attack the corporate state, its the corporate state that fuels the military-industrial complex. Its the the separation of unregulated financial institutions having control over government that's created the present problem. If you focus on the military you will lose. And no I don't call the police nor even active duty soldiers "pigs", they're tools, they are simply trying to survive, in the case of a soldier they can even be victims. They're part of the 99% not the 1%, if you alienate them by shoving them with the 1% then you have no chance to turn the system on itself. Also you seem not to know the difference between the system and the people caught up in the system, that makes you unnecessarily potentially dangerous.

Pages

Add a new comment

Comments are closed.