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The Oceanic Feeling

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The Oceanic Feeling

In a previous post we talked about Hesse. How one person leads to another and one idea to another. For example - Hesse dedicated the first part of Siddhartha to Romain Rolland, a contemporary of his. I had not heard of Rolland before reading Siddhartha and not of Hesse before meeting Paul (see other post). So of course we checked out Rolland - a writer, humanist, mystic and an early Western explorer of Eastern thought; he coined an interesting phrase - "The Oceanic Feeling".

Rolland describes the "Oceanic Feeling" as the sensation of being one with everything, the feeling of the eternal. He coined it in a letter to S.Freud - "Mais j'aurais aimé à vous voir faire l'analyse du sentiment religieux spontané ou, plus exactement, de la sensation religieuse qui est...le fait simple et direct de la sensation de l'Eternel (qui peut très bien n'être pas éternel, mais simplement sans bornes perceptibles, et comme océanique)". 

He speaks of that ephemeral feeling of being limitless, of being one with the universe. 

The ocean forces us to stand still, to watch it, admire it; and by doing we stop for a moment or two, we think, we turn inwards. Hearing the crashing of the waves, the sounds of something so awesome (in the truest sense of the word), we feel at once insignificant and eternal. 

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