In one of those delicious synchronicities that life has in store for anyone of us who pays a little attention, at the time Eli announced Siddharta would be the starter in the Book Club’s menu, a new flatmate moved into my house. What he brought with him when he moved in, along with a selection of French delicacies and a jailable amount of duty-free tobacco, was a serious addiction to Funk. Groovy Funk. Dirty Funk. Kinky Funk.
One track he played in particular stuck to me like a vacuum-cleaner salesman to a well off widow. It is from Funkadelic and it goes like this:
Free your mind and you ass will follow
The kingdom of heaven is within
Open up your funky mind and you can fly
Free your mind and your ass will follow
The kingdom of heaven is within.
Now wait a minute, I know that the apparent similarity in the choice of words does not necessarily indicate a consistency in Hesse’s and George Clinton’s message, but it got me thinking. Especially since the bridge in the song goes like this:
“Freedom is free of the need to be free”
Now here we are. That’s where I draw the bunny out of the hat and the parallel with what Eli was pointing out in her previous post. Time is unreal, truth is relative and freedom is more of a surrender than a fight. That’s what Clinton says to me. And as I hear Clinton encouraging me to loosen the grip of my tiny fists on my precious idea of freedom, Hesse whispers in my ear that “knowing has no greater enemy that wanting to know”, and I’ve got to let go of yet another human attribute: systematic intellectualization. Pheeeew. So to reach enlightenment and the “heaven within”, so George and Herman say, I’ve got to stop fighting AND stop learning, two words that were so far occupying a prominent position on the black board of my minuscule existence. Tough one.
Now pardon my tendency to over-simplify, I know Siddharta/Hesse is not encouraging us to reach nirvana by becoming mindless, ball-scratching monkeys. But still, I find it hard to agree to let go of every sort of accumulation, especially the accumulation of knowledge. That seems like a high price to pay, even for enlightenment…