12 Sep The look was much more sad than ironic… (HERMAN HESSE)
Steppenwolf threw me quite a quick look, a look critical of these words and the whole person of the speaker, oh, an unforgettable and terrible look. about which a whole book could he written! The look criticized not only the speaker and annihilated the celebrated man through its compelling, although gentle, irony; that was the least of it. The look was much more sad than ironic; it was abysmally and hopelessly sad indeed; a silent despair, already become form and habit, so to speak, comprised the content of this look. Its despairing brightness shone through not only the person of the vain speaker, ironizing and disposing of the momentary situation, the mood and expectation of the public, the somewhat pretentious title under which the lecture was announced — no, the Steppenwolf look penetrated our whole era, the whole rat-race striving, the whole vanity, the whole superficial play of shallow, conceited intellectuality — alas, and unfortunately the look went much deeper, much further even than merely the defects and hopelessness of our age, our intellectuality, our culture. It went right to the heart of all mankind, it spoke eloquently in a single second of a thinker’s despair, of one who possibly knew the value, the meaning of human life in general. This look said: -Look what monkeys we arid Look. such is mane And all celebrity, all cleverness, all intellectual achievement, all attempts at illustriousness, greatness, and lastingness in things human collapsed and were a monkey show!