.

We always define the limits of our personality too narrowly.

In general, we count as part of our personality only that which we can recognize as being an individual trait or as diverging from the norm.

But we consist of everything the world consists of, each of us, and just as our body contains the genealogical table of evolution as far back as the fish and even much further, so we bear everything in our soul that once was alive in the soul of men.

Every god and devil that ever existed, be it among the Greeks, Chinese, or Zulus, are within us, exist as latent possibilities, as wishes, as alternatives.

If the human race were to vanish from the face of the earth save for one halfway talented child that had received no education, this child would rediscover the entire course of evolution, it would be capable of producing everything once more, gods and demons, paradises, commandments, the Old and New Testament.

Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair’s Youth

Hermann Hesse (1877 – 1962) was a German-born Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. His best-known works include Demian, Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game, each of which explores an individual’s search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality.

In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair’s Youth is a Bildungsroman by him, first published in 1919; a prologue was added in 1960.

Demian was first published under the pseudonym „Emil Sinclair“, the name of the narrator of the story, but Hesse was later revealed to be the author.

Since at least 1914, if not 1909, Hesse had been encountering the newly growing field of psychoanalysis as it moved through the German intellectual circles.

During the 1910s, Hesse felt that his psychological difficulties by which he experienced torment since youth needed to be dealt with through psychotherapy.

In 1916–17 he underwent treatment through psychoanalysis with Josef Lang, a disciple of Carl Jung.

Through his contact with Lang and later, in 1921, from having psychoanalysis done by Jung, Hesse became very interested in Jungian analysis and interpretation.

Demian is replete with both Jungian archetypes and Jungian symbolism.

In addition, psychoanalysis helped Hesse identify psychological problems which he had experienced in his youth, including internal tension caused by a conflict between his own carnal instincts and the strict moralism of his parents.

Such themes appear throughout Demian as semi-autobiographical reflections upon Hesse‘s own exploration of Jungian philosophy.