A Quest Seeking Wisdom

Life has no meaning, unless one gives a purpose to himself. According to Sartre, man feels alien in a world without meaning. Therefore, we must have a life long quest for our purpose. It is essential to have a quest, and any quest is a quest for wisdom. A person must always undergo a quest to find wisdom.

Siddhartha exhibits this need to find wisdom when he went on a path to self- discovery. “He learned to walk away from the I. He walked the path of self- distancing through pain, through volunteering, enduring of suffering and vanquishing of pain, hunger, of thirst, of exhaustion.” (page 15) Siddhartha found wisdom through “self- distancing.” Suffering is a part of any discovery, and Siddhartha went through this to fully experience the world. He needed to fully experience the world in order to truly understand himself. Siddhartha acquired the wisdom of the world by experiencing suffering, and later, joy.

Vasudeva exemplified another form of wisdom. As Siddhartha told Vasudeva his story, with all of his joys and suffering, he was also admiring Vasudeva’s wisdom of listening. “Among all the ferryman’s virtues this was one of the greatest: he understood how to listen as very few did. Vasudeva spoke not a word himself, and yet the speaker sensed how he allowed the speaker’s words to enter him, with tranquility, openly, waiting, how he lost not a one, waiting without impatience, without praise or blame, simply listening. Siddhartha felt what a joy it is to tell everything, to sink one’s own life, one’s own seeking, one’s own suffering into such a listener’s heart.” (page …) Vasudeva later explained that his wisdom comes from listening to the river and he later shows Siddhartha this wisdom. When he listens to the river, it is within his constant quest for wisdom.

When Siddhartha leaves Govinda for self discovery, he realizes that he must always be on the quest to find wisdom. “Blue was blue, river was river, and if the one and the divine also lay concealed in the blue and in the river and in Siddhartha, it was just the nature and meaning of the divine to be yellow here, blue here, there sky, there forest, and here Siddhartha. Meaning and essence were not somewhere behind things, they were inside things, in everything.” (page 35) Siddhartha recognized that the quest for wisdom is constant, because wisdom (as he says “meaning and essence”) is in everything.

In this book, Siddhartha is clearly constantly on a quest to find wisdom. Most people today, or even back then, do not live the lifestyle he lived: Solely dedicated to the quest to find wisdom. However, even if we are not on his same path, we must always be on a quest to find wisdom, no matter what kind of wisdom we seek.

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