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"The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 3, Years of Freedom 
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Post "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 3, Years of Freedom
The Glass Bead Game
Hermann Hesse

Chapter 3
YEARS OF FREEDOM



Mon May 16, 2011 11:03 pm
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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 3, Years of Freedom
You have all commented, and rightly so, on the narrator's motives and intentions. Please consider this: This is Hesse's mastery of the irony that encompasses this world . The narrator has no idea of the breadth of Knecht's genius, and thoroughly lacks the insight necessary to question his own roll of narrator .... :lol:

Chapter 3's monologue gives you an explicit insight into Joseph Knecht's world, taken from his own words.....


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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 3, Years of Freedom
The narrotor's account of the Order and of Knecht is an historical one: He relies on hearsay, occasional letters, and legend. Is it his task to rewrite the history of the Order? To eulogize Joseph Knecht? He seems to be the unwitting keeper of the flame, and because he does not question the Order's authority he does so with full credibility. He is a "spin doctor," of sorts.
In Chapter 2 Plinio mentions that Knecht is not what he appears, that he is not the Order's poster child as he seems. This has been a recurring theme to this point, and it continues to be made in Chapter 3: Knecht is passively defiant in his stylistic "Lives" exercises. I have heard that to know your ruling passions you must examine your castles in the air. Perhaps whatever Knecht visited during these exercises concerned the teachers: Their painstakingly crafted work--Knecht--entertained thoughts and dreams beyond their ken.
Indded, Knecht has begun to deomstrate his genius. He has other plans; he is aware the GBG might not be the Truth he first believed.
Knecht understands that his fund of knowledge is actually from a carefully planned menu: His education has been edited and censored. It has been reduced to a synthesis in the guise of the GBG. Knecht's research occurs in plain view under the cloak of disorganization, i. e. not "Order"?, as he plans to deconstruct this melding of disciplines, to examine each in isolation, and challenge accepted intellectual standards. It seems that he suspects "decay" at the core.
DL Hesse: Your input has been valuable. Your subtle prompts have me seeing things I might otherwise have missed.
I find the mention of reincarnation interesting: On the one hand Hesse seems to point out the stagnation of this cloistered society. The men do not marry, do not reproduce. Their endeavors are laughably shallow and without intellectual merit. Yet they seem to recycle the same tired information, resisting the introduction of anything new. Knecht observes a natural cycle-of-life: Growth, decay, death....but preserved in memory.



Sun Jun 12, 2011 4:31 pm
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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 3, Years of Freedom
Quote:
Knecht's research occurs in plain view under the cloak of disorganization, i. e. not "Order"?, as he plans to deconstruct this melding of disciplines, to examine each in isolation, and challenge accepted intellectual standards. It seems that he suspects "decay" at the core.


Good stuff!

I particularly like the response to Hesse's second letter, sent to the Music Master, in which the Master chides Knecht's 'esoteric' beliefs...

"A Game Master or teacher who was primarily concerned with being close enough to the 'innermost meaning' would be a very bad teacher. To be candid, I myself, for example, have never in my life said a word on the 'meaning' of music, if there is one. On the other I have always made a great point of having my pupils count their eighths and sixteenths nicely. Whatever you become, teacher, scholar or musician, have respect for the 'meaning',but do not imagine that it can be taught."


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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 3, Years of Freedom
It seems that the Masters are more concerned with form than content. To Knecht, it seems, the GBG has decayed to the point that it is little more than a parlor game, a by-rote exercise. As with everything else at Castalia, it seems the GBG has grown stale. Knecht has begun to resist. He distances himself from Waldzell, perhaps because he does not want to become what is expected of him. It seems that he wants to pursue objective scholarship, uncontaminated by the subjective views of those who have come before. The narrator presumes to know what Knecht is thinking, and I expect that Knecht would be offended.



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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 3, Years of Freedom
Murrill, you are going to be so stoked as you read this book....you obviously 'get it'...... :toast:


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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 3, Years of Freedom
Hesse,
I'm already "stoked," I think. The author's POV is very consistent with mine. I can't believe I never discovered this novel since I minored in English in college. Of course, I had a preference for British literature at the time. I like to think I have matured, and life circumstances have insisted that I broaden my spiritual scavenger hunt.



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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 3, Years of Freedom
I have finished Chapter 3. Clearly aware of what is expected of him, cognizant of which courses of study are deemed acceptable, Knecht surreptitously pursues whatever interests him. His curriculum vitae was noted to "zigzag." Certainly, he seems to be charting his own course. I think he is up to something, but I'm not sure what that is. He shed his resistance to returning to Waldzell; perhaps he had become more anchored by then...or maybe he had resigned himself to Castalia. The narrator--who cannot be trusted--describes Knecht as being unaffected by public opinion of him. He is conflicted, but for all his insight into the Order's nature he seems to have become even more immersed. Consider the distance between Knecht & Plinio after years apart from each other: They no longer spoke the same language. It is the GBG that lures him, and his circuitous academic route is in pursuit of its mastery.
So what of the Elder Brother who, once a promising scholar, opted for reclusivity? He refused to acknowledge the hierarchy at the Order, but he allowed Knecht to study with him unless "...he importunes, I give no knowledge." (pg 131) Knecht approached the Elder with an agenda: To learn the I Ching and incorporate it into the GBG. The Elder's reply is cryptic, and perhaps indicative of his scorn for the GBG:
Quote:
You'll see how it turns out. Anyone can create a pretty little bamboo garden in the world. But I doubt that the gardener would succeed in incorporating the world in his bamboo grove. (pg 132)

Whatever happened to Knecht during his time in the Bamboo Grove, the narrator describes the period as the beginning of an awakening. He has become comfortable with antimonies, understanding the necessity of them:
Quote:
He had already learned by experience that faith and doubt belong together, that they govern each other like inhaling and exhaling.... (pg 134)
He is very complex, and he seems aware that he has only begun to discover his purpose. There were times I wondered if he had surrendered to the Order, if his ambition had the same Faustian flaws of less talented young men. To his credit he is aware of the temptation, that with each upwardly mobile event he relinquishes yet more of his freedom.
I am disappointed that the experience with the Elder Brother seems to have ended. And why did the Elder not even respond to Knecht's invitation to give a course at Waldzell? Perhaps the invitation was an inportunity.....



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Robert Tulip
Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:04 pm
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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 3, Years of Freedom
Quote:
I am disappointed that the experience with the Elder Brother seems to have ended. And why did the Elder not even respond to Knecht's invitation to give a course at Waldzell? Perhaps the invitation was an inportunity.....


Please consider this: Knecht's experience with Elder Brother will never end.....that experience will live and germinate in Knecht's mind for eternity, as he was at one with the cosmos the whole time he was in the garden...as to why Elder Brother didn't respond, that was the appropriate response. Elder Brother had already chided Knecht's naivete about a gardener succeeding in "incorporating the world into his bamboo grove". Elder Brother's non-response to Knecht is tantamount to telling him "Been there. Done that. Bought the T-shirt Grasshopper" :D

Say something once, why say it again.....


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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 3, Years of Freedom
I see your point--and concur. Perhaps I should have written that I missed the presence of the Elder in the story. But you are correct that he remains. With your reply I was remiinded of my own attachment, aware that I have given credence to the illusion that at-one-ment is transitory. To be honest I was a little surprised that Knecht issued the invitation at all: It would have been out of character for the Elder to accept, which was the point I was trying to make (poorly, I realize), which he explained in their early meeting.
This short chapter seemed to raise many possibilities, many questions. I sense that Knecht is on something of a precipice & that he will soon face more changes.



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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 3, Years of Freedom
Quote:
To be honest I was a little surprised that Knecht issued the invitation at all


Hold that thought, at the end of the book we should discuss this and other concerns....notice the narrator doesn't cite the source of this information...and it certainly seems incongruous....


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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 3, Years of Freedom
I've begun to realize that I should question the narrator's reports. I think we had discussed earlier that he might be something of a sychophant--the PR guy, if you will. Did I mention how much I appreciate your input?



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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 3, Years of Freedom
Thanks Murrill!

I took the weekend off, how are we doing with the book???? Everyone through Chapter 3???

I realize this is not exactly 'light summer reading'..... :lol:


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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 3, Years of Freedom
Knecht was actually almost physically ill during his debates with Plinio. Now, in chapter 3 he listens passively to the teachings of the isolated Elder brother. However, it seems that these two emotionally different experiences are actually very similar. Knecht is being exposed to outside influences and varying opinions of the world other than the teachings of Castalia. How this will play out in his thoughts and actions should be interesting. I'm sensing some drama to come.



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Post Re: "The Glass Bead Game", Chapter 3, Years of Freedom
Hey Linda, nice to see you.....yes, the drama is really just beginning....


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Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:32 pm
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