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Hermann Hesse Quotes on Love, Life & Religion

Looking for thought-provoking Hermann Hesse quotes?

Hermann Karl Hesse was a German-born Swiss poet, novelist, and painter whose works explore the search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946.

Hermann Hesse quotes on love, life & religion

1. “Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.” – Hermann Hesse

2. “Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish.” – Hermann Hesse

3. “It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is.” – Hermann Hesse

4. “What could I say to you that would be of value, except that perhaps you seek too much, that as a result of your seeking you cannot find.” – Hermann Hesse

5. “I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.” – Hermann Hesse

6. “Learn what is to be taken seriously and laugh at the rest.” – Hermann Hesse

7. “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.” – Hermann Hesse

8. “There is no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people live such an unreal life. They take the images outside of them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself.” – Hermann Hesse

9. “Gaze into the fire, into the clouds, and as soon as the inner voices begin to speak… surrender to them. Don’t ask first whether it’s permitted, or would please your teachers or father or some god. You will ruin yourself if you do that.” – Hermann Hesse

10. “I have always been a great dreamer. In dreams I have always been more active than in my real life, and these shadows sapped me of my health and energy.” – Hermann Hesse

Hermann Hesse quotes about love and happiness

11. “Oh, love isn’t there to make us happy. I believe it exists to show us how much we can endure.” – Hermann Hesse

12. “But it matters little that you suffer, so long as you feel alive with a sense of the close bond that connects all living things, so long as love does not die!” – Hermann Hesse

13. “If what matters in a person’s existence is to accept the inevitable consciously, to taste the good and bad to the full and to make for oneself a more individual, unaccidental and inward destiny alongside one’s external fate, then my life has been neither empty nor worthless.” – Hermann Hesse

14. “All suicides have the responsibility of fighting against the temptation of suicide. Every one of them knows very well in some corner of his soul that suicide, though a way out, is rather a mean and shabby one, and that it is nobler and finer to be conquered by life than to fall by one’s own hand.” – Hermann Hesse

15. “In each individual the spirit is made flesh, in each one the whole of creation suffers, in each one a Savior is crucified.” – Hermann Hesse

16. “The mind is international and supra-national … it ought to serve not war and annihilation, but peace and reconciliation.” – Hermann Hesse

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17. “The only reality is the one we have inside us. What makes most people’s lives so artificial and unworthy is that they falsely regard outside images as reality and they never allow their own inner world to speak.” – Hermann Hesse

18. “Our mind is capable of passing beyond the dividing line we have drawn for it. Beyond the pairs of opposites of which the world consists, other, new insights begin.” – Hermann Hesse

19. “I wanted only to try to live in accord with the promptings which came from my true self. Why was that so very difficult?” – Hermann Hesse

20. “My real self wanders elsewhere, far away, wanders on and on invisibly and has nothing to do with my life.” – Hermann Hesse

Hermann Hesse quotes to elevate your mind

21. “What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday and our present thoughts build our life tomorrow. Our life is the creation of our mind.” – Hermann Hesse

22. “Now everything changed. My childhood world was breaking apart around me. My parents eyed me with a certain embarrassment. My sisters had become strangers to me. A disenchantment falsified and blunted my usual feelings and joys: the garden lacked fragrance, the woods held no attraction for me, the world stood around me like a clearance sale of last year’s secondhand goods, insipid, all its charm gone. Books were so much paper, music a grating noise. That is the way leaves fall around a tree in autumn, a tree unaware of the rain running down its sides, of the sun or the frost, and of life gradually retreating inward. The tree does not die. It waits.” – Hermann Hesse

23. “Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity.” – Hermann Hesse

24. “People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest.” – Hermann Hesse

25. “Everything becomes a little different as soon as it is spoken out loud.” – Hermann Hesse

26. “You are only afraid if you are not in harmony with yourself. People are afraid because they have never owned up to themselves.” – Hermann Hesse

27. “The man of power is ruined by power, the man of money by money, the submissive man by subservience, the pleasure seeker by pleasure.” – Hermann Hesse

28. “Happiness is a how, not a what: a talent, not an object.” – Hermann Hesse

29. “One never reaches home, but wherever friendly paths intersect the whole world looks like home for a time.” – Hermann Hesse

30. “There is, so I believe, in the essence of everything, something that we cannot call learning. There is, my friend, only a knowledge — that is everywhere.” – Hermann Hesse

Hermann Hesse quotes to inspire and teach

31. “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.” – Hermann Hesse

32. “You have to try the impossible to achieve the possible.” – Hermann Hesse

33. “We kill when we close our eyes to poverty, affliction, or infamy. We kill when, because it is easier, we countenance, or pretend to approve of atrophied social, political, educational, and religious institutions, instead of resolutely combating them.” – Hermann Hesse

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34. “Painting is marvelous; it makes you happier and more patient. Afterward, you do not have black fingers as with writing, but blue and red ones.” – Hermann Hesse

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35. “I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.” – Hermann Hesse

36. “Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” – Hermann Hesse

37. “But it’s a poor fellow who can’t take his pleasure without asking other people’s permission.” – Hermann Hesse

38. “In fear, I hurried this way and that. I had the taste of blood and chocolate in my mouth, the one as hateful as the other.” – Hermann Hesse

39. “There are always a few such people who demand the utmost of life and yet cannot come to terms with its stupidity and crudeness.” – Hermann Hesse

40. “Not in his speech, not in his thoughts, I see his greatness, only in his actions, in his life.” – Hermann Hesse

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Hermann Hesse quotes to live by

41. “A stone had been dropped into the well, the well was my youthful soul. And for a very long time this matter of Cain, the fratricide, and the ‘mark’ formed the point of departure for all my attempts at comprehension, my doubts and my criticism.” – Hermann Hesse

42. “You knew all along that your sanctioned world was only half the world and you tried to suppress the second half the way the priests and teachers do. You won’t succeed. No one succeeds in this once he has begun to think.” – Hermann Hesse

43. “We who bore the mark, felt no anxiety about the shape the future was to take. All of these faiths and teachings seemed to us already dead and useless. The only duty and destiny we acknowledged was that each one of us should become so completely himself, so utterly faithful to the active seed which nature planted within him, that in living out its growth he could be surprised by nothing unknown to come.” – Hermann Hesse

44. “A wild longing for strong emotions and sensations seethes in me, a rage against this loneliness, flat, normal and sterile life. I have a mad impulse to smash something, a warehouse perhaps, or a cathedral, or myself, to commit outrages.” – Hermann Hesse

45. “Every man is more than just himself; he also represents the unique, the very special and always significant and remarkable point at which the world’s phenomena intersect, only once in this way, and never again.” – Hermann Hesse

46. “All men are prepared to accomplish the incredible if their ideals are threatened.” – Hermann Hesse

47. “Animals are as sad as a rule. And when a man is sad – I don’t mean because he has a toothache or has lost money, but because he sees, for once in a way, how it all is with life and everything, and is sad in earnest- he always look a little like an animal. He looks not only sad, but more right and more beautiful than usual.” – Hermann Hesse

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48. “There’s no reality except the one contained within us. That’s why so many people live unreal life. They take images outside them for reality and never allow the world within them to assert itself.” – Hermann Hesse

49. “If man has nothing to eat, fasting is the most intelligent thing he can do.” – Hermann Hesse

50. “When you like someone, you like them in spite of their faults. When you love someone, you love them with their faults.” – Hermann Hesse

Hermann Hesse quotes that will challenge your perspective

51. “Within you there is a stillness and sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” – Hermann Hesse

52. “You must find your dream, then the way becomes easy.” – Hermann Hesse

53. “The true profession of a man is to find his way to himself.” – Hermann Hesse

54. “Life is waiting everywhere, the future is flowering everywhere, but we only see a small part of it and step on much of it with our feet.” – Hermann Hesse

55. “Love your suffering. Do not resist it, do not flee from it. It is only your aversion to it that hurts, nothing else.” – Hermann Hesse

56. “The truth has a million faces, but there is only one truth.” – Hermann Hesse

57. “The truth is lived, not taught.” – Hermann Hesse

58. “Because the world is so full of death and horror, I try again and again to console my heart and pick the flowers that grow in the midst of hell.” – Hermann Hesse

59. “Beauty does not bring happiness to the one who possesses it, but to the one who loves and admires it.” – Hermann Hesse

60. “Happiness is love, nothing else. A man who is capable of love is happy.” – Hermann Hesse

More Hermann Hesse quotes and sayings

61. “If I know what love is, it is because of you.” – Hermann Hesse

62. “We are not going in circles, we are going upwards. The path is a spiral; we have already climbed many steps.” – Hermann Hesse

63. “Often it is the most deserving people who cannot help loving those who destroy them.” – Herman Hesse

64. “Perhaps people like us cannot love. Ordinary people can – that is their secret.” – Hermann Hesse

65. “He had loved and he had found himself. Most people love to lose themselves.” – Herman Hesse

66. “The world is not imperfect or slowly evolving along a path to perfection. No, it is perfect at every moment, every sin already carries grace in it.” – Hermann Hesse

67. “The opposite of every truth is just as true.” – Hermann Hesse

68. “Life is always frightful. We cannot help it and we are responsible all the same. One’s born and at once one is guilty.” – Hermann Hesse

69. “Love is like death. It is fulfillment and an evening after which nothing more may follow.” – Hermann Hesse

70. “There are many ways in which the god can make us lonely and lead us to ourselves.” – Hermann Hesse

Which of these Hermann Hesse quotes resonated with you best?

Do you have any other Hermann Hesse quotes to add to the list? Let us know in the comment section below.

Norbert Juma, Lead Editor
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