- 12 Mar 2018
Wilhelm Schmid gets candid about his books, creative process, and the ideology of ageing
A man of words, wisdom, and serenity. Wilhelm Schmid, author of the book What We Gain as We Grow Older – On Gelassenheit, talks about topics such as happiness, love, meaning of life, and balanced living – to name a few in his literary work, creates a philosophy of the art of living. In his said work, he talks about developing a pragmatic art of dealing with growing older. He was awarded with the German Prize for Outstanding Services in Conveying Philosophy to the Public in 2012 and the Swiss Prize for his Philosophical Contribution to the Art of Living in 2013.
In an exclusive chat with FWD, Wilhelm Schmid got candid about his trip to India, the ideology behind his book and much more.
What is your book about?
This book is about finding the serenity as we grow older. The modern society thinks that we have to be forever young to live a real life and it was my part in the game to tell people that it is not true at all. It is wonderful to be young and I was enthusiastically young once, but it was a time and it’s over. And, it is about the energy that one needs to tackle the situation of ageing and this book is all about that. An anecdote to the fact that everyone grows older and that it doesn’t stop there.
How did you come about with the idea?
I touched the age of 60 five years ago and it was shocking. It means that most of my life is behind me. Theoretically I knew this, but now I have the practical experience that this is painful for the very first moment. I told myself that I can’t live like this and I asked myself what do I need – I needed more serenity and how do I get that? I looked around and found ten points which I worked with, and as a result I got serenity.
Then I decided to write this down and give this to the public. It was a huge success and the public received it enthusiastically.
What do you want your readers to experience from your What We Gain as We Grow Older – On Gelassenheit?
I want my readers know the importance of touch. When you are touched, you get serenity. Touch can be in the form of a hug or embracement and it is one of the most beautiful experiences. Touch, and you will never forget it.
How is India different now from when you visited 40 years ago?
I was here in India for three months with my friends. And at that time, 40 years ago, there were no technological advances to get in touch with my family, but now I’m in contact with my family back home always. 40 years early, it was difficult to get from one place to the other in the city but now there are different modes of transport to get from one place to the other, locally. But on the other hand, ecologically, there has been a lot of destruction. 40 years ago, it was clean and serene but now, though it seems serene, it is not like how it was at that time.
Are you here in Kerala for the first time? How do you feel?
Yes, I’m here for the first time along with my wife. I have been in India for a couple of weeks now and Kerala is beautiful. It is a paradise indeed.
What is your writing process like?
As a writer, ideas can strike at any point of time and when it happens, I jot that down in my notebook. After researching the idea or contemplating on it, I develop the idea by giving it a structure. Once the manuscript is ready, I give it to my wife to read and take suggestions from her. After her, I give the manuscript to around seven to eight friends of mine and take suggestions from them as well. Once all the suggestions are taken into consideration and the manuscript is rewritten according to it, then it goes to my editor.
While his next manuscript is on his table ready to hit the market, we wish him love and success for his future endeavours.
Text Credits: Roshan D Image Credits: Vishnu Thilak