Good Life Essay- Change vs. Tradition

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Change verses Tradition Often times, we find ourselves not wanting to follow the norms of society. Ideally, following these norms leads to a life full of happiness and prosperity. But with the notion that we have to blindly follow what society says in order to be content with life, we do not take into consideration the other outcomes that might come out of conforming to change. In both Herman Hesse’s, Siddhartha and Dr. Martin Luther King’s, Letter From Birmingham Jail, the effects of choosing change over tradition and societal norms are illustrated through the journey of Siddhartha and the actions of Dr. Martin Luther King. In many cultures, such as the Hinduism, there is a huge emphasis on tradition. We can see this emphasis in Siddhartha. Raised in a strictly Brahmin family, Siddhartha was expected to follow his family’s footsteps and beliefs because that is what most Brahmins believed was the path to spirituality. Tensions arise between Siddhartha and his family when Siddhartha decides to pursue his own path to enlightenment instead of following his family’s path. When Siddhartha tells his father that he will go to the Samanas the next day with his permission, his father, “falls silent, and remains silent for so long that the stars in the small window wandered and changed their relative positions” (Hesse, 9). Old traditions and customs were so important that any hint of change causes apprehension to arise. Following these traditions for many was regarded as the safer path, and the path that would keep you out of difficulties. Siddhartha, all of the sudden deciding to change his path was a shock to his father and not something he obviously wanted to support. Throughout his path to enlightenment, Siddhartha sets himself apart from society. Whether it was his Brahmin family, the Samanas, or Gotama, he never followed the same path as others just because he saw

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