JOURNAL TOPIC: (today's tunes: "Let the Day Begin" by The Call; "Where Do I Begin?" by Jill Sobule; "Begin the Begin" by R.E.M.)
Describe a thought or a feeling that you'd forgotten over break and experienced again when you walked back into this room. Describe how you will create the thoughts and feelings you want to experience in this room this semester.
3. Introduction to spring semester (part I)
4. Lit terms
1. Hack your education per our introductory conversation and post about it to your blog (title: HACKING MY EDUCATION)
2. Read the passage from Siddhartha (after the jump) and come to class prepared to discuss on Thursday, January 9.
deaf and stupid I have been, he thought, walking on quickly. When
anyone reads anything which he wishes to study, he does not despise the
letters and punctuation marks, and call them illusion, chance and
worthless shells, but he reads them, he studies and loves them, letter
by letter. But I, who wished to read the book of the world and the book
of my own nature, did presume to despise the letters and signs. Now it
is over; I have awakened. I have indeed awakened and have only been
But as these thoughts passed through Siddhartha's mind, he suddenly stood still, as if a snake lay in his path.
Then suddenly this was also clear to him; he, who was in fact like
one who had awakened or was newly born, must begin his life completely
afresh. When he left the Jetavana grove that morning, the grove of the
Illustrious One, already awakened, already on the way to himself, it was
his intention and it seemed the natural course for him after the years
of asceticism to return to his home and his father. Now, however, in
that moment as he stood still, as if a snake lay in his path, this
thought also came to him: I am no longer what I was, I am no longer an
ascetic, no longer a priest, no longer a Brahmin. What then shall I do
at home with my father? Study? Offer sacrifices? Practice
meditation? All this is over for me now.
Siddhartha stood still and for a moment an icy chill stole over him.
He shivered inwardly like a small animal, like a bird or a hare, when
he realized how alone he was. He had been homeless for years and had
not felt like this. Now he did feel it. Previously, when in deepest
meditation, he was still his father's son, he was a Brahmin of high
standing, a religious man. Now he was only Siddhartha, the awakened;
otherwise nothing else. He breathed in deeply and for a moment he
shuddered. Nobody was so alone as he. He was no nobleman, belonging to
any aristocracy, no artisan belonging to any guild and finding refuge
in it, sharing its life and language. He was no Brahmin, sharing the
life of the Brahmins, no ascetic belonging to the Samanas. Even the
most secluded hermit in the woods was not one and alone; he also
belonged to a class of people. Govinda had become a monk and thousands
of monks were his brothers, wore the same gown, shared his beliefs and
spoke his language. But he, Siddhartha, where did he belong? Whose
life would he share? Whose language would he speak?
At that moment, when the world around him melted away, when he stood
alone like a star in the heavens, he was overwhelmed by a feeling of icy
despair, but he was more firmly himself than ever. That was the last
shudder of awakening, the last pains of birth. Immediately he moved on
again and began to walk quickly and impatiently, no longer homewards, no
longer to his father, no longer looking backwards.
From Siddhartha by Herman Hesse (pp.33-34)