Hermann Hesse (b. July 2nd): “When dealing with the insane, pretend to be sane.”

2 Jul

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Hermann Hesse, born 2 July 1877, died 9 August 1962, was a German poet, novelist, and painter. His best-known works include SteppenwolfSiddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946.


  1. People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest.
  2. When dealing with the insane, the best method is to pretend to be sane.
  3. Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.
  4. Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity.
  5. If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.
  6. The mind is international and supra-national … it ought to serve not war and annihilation, but peace and reconciliation.
  7. Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish.
  8. Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, be fortified by it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.
  9. To study history 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. 
  10. To hold our tongues when everyone is gossiping, to smile without hostility at people and institutions, to compensate for the shortage of love in the world with more love in small, private matters; to be more faithful in our work, to show greater patience, to forgo the cheap revenge obtainable from mockery and criticism: all these are things we can do.


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