The thing about metaphor is that it cannot ever be exact and well defined. What it can do is supply a waft, a tincture of another world and by its inhalation we learn; not in a direct bullet point way rather by an ephemeral coalescence. This has time both to its nascence and its growth. And out of the metaphor we emerge somehow changed and often more whole.
When I first came across Mariabronn, Narziss and Goldmund I found that which resonated so utterly. As you can see from the image previous the English version on my shelf has aged. It has aged simply by time but also by thumbing. Like Goldmund I too had to leave the cloister and explore beyond its confines, social structure and routine. And in that leaving I was partially rent. But my eyes yearned for a different aspect on life and to solve perhaps the riddle of my true natures. Thence to learn that I am neither Narziss or Goldmund but a superposition of these two.
I don’t know what it was, but that book, spoke to me like no other since. And along with Laurie Lee and Laurens van der Post, Hesse has been a travel companion on this strange journey of mine. That some people who I have never met have had such a profound effect is apt. There is no TripAdvisor, nor Lonely Planet Guide that can touch the Soul in a “you must see this” way. Because the Soul doesn’t do lists. It seeks a kind of resonance, a hint of chord and has an urge for harmonics. It seeks its place in the wider orchestra of the cosmos. It too is like a chestnut, a kernel, an abstract core that need not remain forever abstract. But it will not and can not be rushed. It seeks to integrate our being-ness which it does in fits and starts. Because the little self, it resists and judders.
Having cued this up:
Have I ever experienced a profound resonance?
What speaks direct my heart?
What touches my Soul?