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June 29, 2010


My apology to Mr. Vonnegut... Kurt Vonnegut, the writer... for getting to him so late. I'm just getting around to acknowledge him, and the profound influence his novels had on me during my 20's, the 1970's... Hesse too.

I remember "Ice Nine" in particular, A story within the novel, "Cat's Cradle". The whole world turns to ice, due to a "stable polymorph" introduced into water. Everything dies... within hours, or minutes. And it happens, in Cat's Cradle. Can't help but compare it to the tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico - the "BP Spill".

Not exactly something to feel good about - stoned or not. In ICE NINE the world freezes completely. In the Gulf, everything turns to oil.


"Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (pronounced /ˈvɒnɨɡət/; November 11, 1922 – April 11, 2007) was an American novelist who wrote works blending satire, black comedy, and science fiction, such as Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), Cat's Cradle (1963), and Breakfast of Champions (1973). He was known for his humanist beliefs as well as being honorary president of theAmerican Humanist Association. He is widely considered one of the most influential American writers of the 20th century."

Vonnegut speaking in 2004

One of the effects of Vonnegut's books are how they blend together.. I've read and reread his novels, "Slaughterhouse five", for example, a novel with a very personal view of WWII. What gets me stoned is not because I have a rush reading Vonnegut, but rather... a connection - a high from connecting and living the stories. Like an out of body experience.

My mentor during the 1970's, Professor DS,  suggested that not only should I reserve some books for when I'm older -like over 50... but reread the ones that touched you when you were younger., back then in my 20's.

I can think of one novel in particular that I saved - by Hermann Hesse' , "The Glass bead Game"... I remember only that unlike his other novels, of which I read them all, "The Glass bead game" was mathematically challenging. I wasn't able to climb that peak, back then. But, soon... I will.

Authors like Vonnegut, Hesse, can heighten awareness, influence thoughts, change behavior. It's just like getting stoned on "marijuana". The only difference is that cannabis often provides a temporary, nitrous oxide effect (laughing gas), a rush of sorts... but then these novels do much the same... providing a high, and euphoria, as well as esoteric experiences.


Hermann Hesse... maybe not what you picture for a spiritual guide... but similar to Vonegut, they're masters.

Hermann Hesse in 1927

"Hermann Hesse (July 2, 1877 – August 9, 1962)...  was aGerman-born, Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. His best-known works include 'Steppenwolf', 'Siddhartha', 'Narcissus and Goldmund', and 'The Glass Bead Game(also known as Magister Ludi)'. Each explores an individual's search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality."

My own epiphany:
"What's that that makes us who we are? So elusive as to pay it no mind... you can ignore it, or embrace it. If you "embrace it", "IT has a right to BE too! You are not a god. You do not own it. If you ignore it, you ignore yourself, which in effect is taking your life for granted."

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