I just finished reading Siddartha, by Herman Hesse. It’s about the enlightenment of an Indian man who drifts through life as a ascetic, a rich man, a lover and finally a ferryman on a river.
Toward the end of the book, Siddartha speaks to his friend Govinda about seeking your path in life. He discusses his experiences and his choices. One of those choices ended up with an illegitimate son.
That’s how it always is isn’t it? The lone enlightenment warriors go through life, have these life-altering experiences like multiple lovers, cleansing destitution and spiritual epiphanies. None of it is rooted in a real life.
Apparently no one can reach some form of actualization unless we forge the journey on our own. Even Jesus told his apostles to leave their wives and children to follow him.
Why is that? I’m married. I have a young daughter. But I don’t feel any the less intellectually enriched. I’ve experienced a lot as a journalist. Presidential elections, corrupt judges, execution, murder confessions, inspiring children, a hurricane, house fires— it’s all in my clip file.
But I was dating, married and living a normal life otherwise. My minor in college was philosophy so before I was a journalist, I’d been immersed in Kant, Rosseau, Plato, Hegel, Wittgenstein and others. The influence made for quite a perspective when I covered murder trials and fatal car wrecks.
You don’t have to be the loner to gain personal edification.