Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Literary Portrait of a Sigma

"During these years Goldmund had gradually lost the rest of the adolescent grace and boyishness that had pleased so many. He had become a beautiful, strong man, much desired by women, little popular with men. His mind, his inner face, had greatly changed as well since the days Narcissus awakened him from the happy sleep of his cloister years. World and wandering had molded him. From the pretty, gentle, pious, willing cloister student whom everybody liked, another being had emerged. Narcissus had awakened him, women had made him aware, the wandering had brushed the down from him. He had no friends; his heart belonged to women. They could win him easily: one longing look was enough. He found it hard to resist a woman and responded to the slightest hint. In spite of his strong sense of beauty, of his preference for the very young in the bloom of spring, he'd let himself be moved and seduced by women of little beauty who were no longer young. On the dance floor he'd sometimes end up with a discouraged elderly girl whom no one wanted, who'd win him by the pity he felt for her, and not pity alone, but also a constantly vigilant curiosity. As soon as he gave himself to a woman—whether it lasted weeks or just hours—she became beautiful to him, and he gave himself completely. Experience taught him that every woman was beautiful and able to bring joy, that a mousy creature whom men ignored was capable of extraordinary fire and devotion, that the wilted had a more maternal, mourningly sweet tenderness, that each woman had her secrets and her charms, and to unlock these made him happy. In that respect, all women were alike. Lack of youth or beauty was always balanced by some special gesture. But not every woman could hold him equally long. He was just as loving and grateful toward the ugly as toward the youngest and prettiest; he never loved halfway. But some women tied him to them more strongly after three or ten nights of love; others were exhausted after the first time and forgotten.

"Love and ecstasy were to him the only truly warming things that gave life its value. Ambition was unknown to him; he did not distinguish between bishop and beggar. Acquisition and ownership had no hold over him; he felt contempt for them. Never would he have made the smallest sacrifice for them; he was earning ample money and thought nothing of it. Women, the game of the sexes, came first on his list, and his frequent accesses of melancholy and disgust grew out of the knowledge that desire was a transitory, fleeting experience. The rapid, soaring, blissful burning of desire, its brief, longing flame, its rapid extinction—this seemed to him to contain the kernel of all experience, became to him the image of all the joys and sufferings of life. He could give in to this melancholy and shudder at all things transitory with the same abandonment with which he gave in to love. This melancholy was also a form of love, of desire. As ecstasy, at the peak of blissful tension, is certain that it must vanish and die with the next breath, his innermost loneliness and abandonment to melancholy was certain that it would suddenly be swallowed by desire, by new abandonment to the light side of life. Death and ecstasy were one."

- from Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse


tilikum said...

my favorite book ever

Feather Blade said...

I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
and this was the reward for all my toil.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.

swiftfoxmark2 said...

Portrait of a Gamma in video games: Eddie Gluskin of Outlast: Whistleblower.

Conscientia Republicae said...

Pretty intense.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...


JCclimber said...

I prefer not to think of myself as sigma, but that description (second paragraph especially) resonated with me over a period of about 2 years (more than 15 years ago). I even expressed to my close friends that i was becoming cynical because women were so easy yet the satisfaction of the chase was fading (surplus mentality?). My childhood schooling in the wisdom of Solomon's writings in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes told me that it was a fool's endeavor to find meaning in the above.

I thank the Lord that I returned to my childhood Savior and He saved me from nihilism.

Another result is that I am finding that to achieve my missions and forward my visions, I have to finally embrace leadership and accept those roles when the need arises. Which is becoming often. For all those out there who aren't extraverted (luckily I already was), keep in my mind that God can equip you for any task that He calls you to perform. And when you align to His purpose and become willing to be used, He can do more than add to your skills, He can help you delight in the tasks and leadership roles.

Game has helped in managing the petty crap that comes with leadership, the politics, the gossip, the passive-aggressive subterfuge that you have to confront and de-fang. Helps your relationships with women, too, especially your wife.

swiftfoxmark2 said...

What's the Greek letter for the middle finger?

GG said...

That's quite beautiful.

Ever Light said...

Great poetic quotes from a great book. Vox, it's been a while. I hope everything's been going good around the 'sphere.

I have a new blog up in the works called "Ghost of Alpha's Past": ghostofalphaspast.blogspot.com.

I'll be around.

Iowahine said...

Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm;
for love is as strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave;
The coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it;
If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would be utterly condemned.

Life on the planet never satisfies, but arouses in the flesh fierce distraction.

Yohami said...

my favourite author

Doom said...

And you wonder why vampires are so popular? Just a stylistic form, one of the other. Sucking the love from a woman, only to find her finally empty, discarding the husk of what had been vigor, beauty, and life. They drain so quickly and rarely provide children, on the real side of things.

What you are suggesting is that Sigmas are not tribal. Bastards of breed, of birth, or many, perhaps all, things, cannot be tribal. Can't afford it, especially toward the edges of it. Lethal, and that ought to be known. Most learn it young, one way or another. Little quips by the various tribes, of which there is some claim, dark portents about the other tribes and war. Being in the middle... purity is death.

Daniel said...

Did this passage directly influence Sunyata or is the harmonic nature merely coincidental?

Marissa said...

Is this supposed to be a good thing? Sounds like a loser.

Iowahine said...

Marissa - I'd say neither, just is. But, it's beautifully written, so may trigger a different response based on the reader.

His Lordship said...

How commendable and beautiful it is to see the apex of this "hierarchy" is a pretty dildo, indeed--an object, with no purpose but to pleasure women, no ambition but to be used in any and every woman's pursuit of validation, no needs that any woman feels compelled to consider. He gives all and everything, and yet nothing, for he gives himself and that self is empty and void. He feels but does not think, takes from others and creates nothing, befuddles himself rather than reflect upon eternal verities, and pretends that his mindless urge to rut with any female that will have him is "love".

What is not praiseworthy in that, I ask you?

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