Nobody really knew anything. People lived; they went here and there about the earth and rode through forests; so much seemed to challenge or to promise, and so many sights to stir our longing: an evening star, a blue harebell, a lake half-covered in green reeds, the eyes of beasts and human eyes; and always it was as though something would happen, something never seen and yet sighed for, as though a veil would be pulled back off the world; till the feeling passed, and there had been nothing.
~ Hermann Hesse (Narcissus and Goldmund, 1930)
God” is often clinically paranoiac because the shaman’s “supernatural helper” is the projection of the shaman himself. The personality of Yahweh, so to speak, exactly fits the irascible personality of the sheikh-shaman Moses; the voices of Yahweh and Moses are indistinguishable. Of course, shamans do not always have an easy time of it. If the dereistic dreamer arouses too much anxiety, people call him crazy, just as people must put themselves at a psychological distance from the frightening and uncanny schizophrenic. But if the dreamer largely allays anxiety in the society, then he is the shaman-savior. Thus it is that outsiders to the society cannot tell the difference between a psychotic and a vatic personality. Only the society itself can distinguish between its psychotics and its shaman-saviors.
~ Weston La Barre, “Hallucinogens and the Shamanic Origins of Religion”, Flesh of the Gods (1972)
I have no quarrel with the student of history who brings to his work a touchingly childish, innocent faith in the power of our minds and our methods to order reality; but first and foremost he must respect the incomprehensible truth, reality, and uniqueness of events. Studying history, my friend, is no joke and no irresponsible game. To study history one must know in advance that one is attempting something fundamentally impossible, yet necessary and highly important. To study history [life; to live] means submitting to chaos and nevertheless retaining faith in order and meaning. It is a very serious task, young man, and possibly a tragic one.
~Hermann Hesse, The Glass Bead Game
Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.
~ Kurt Vonnegut