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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

SiddharthaSiddhartha by Hermann Hesse
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Siddhartha is Hermann Hesse novel exploring Eastern religion and philosophy, particular the teaching found in Buddhism. The book was written in the 1920s, but not translated into English until 1951 upon which it had a big influence on the Beats and hippies of the 50s and 60s.

I read books like this to gain what knowledge and wisdom I can find in them. In this book I gained a better understanding of Buddhism, and I appreciated one of the central themes of the book, the holiness of everything. However, I find that I can only go so far with that because for me there are actions and choices that are good and evil. Slavery is evil, always has been evil (even though there are verses in the Bible that seem to contradict this.) Justice is good; it is impossible for a society to be too just.

However, I do believe that our understanding of what is good and evil is limited because, as St. Paul stated, we carry our knowledge and judgement in "earthen vessels." Therefore, it is imperative that we gain as many different perspectives as we can to help us transcend our limitations.

That is the primary reason I like reading such a wide variety of ideas and opinions so that I can fill my vessel of understanding to capacity.

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