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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Arthur Schopenhauer and will


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons


Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) was a German philosopher best known for his philosophy of will and pessimistic orientation. Psychologist Carl Jung said,


"[Schopenhauer] was the first to speak of the suffering of the world, which visibly and glaringly surrounds us, and of confusion, passion, evil - all those things which the [other philosophers] hardly seemed to notice and always tried to resolve into all-embracing harmony and comprehensibility. Here at last was a philosopher who had the courage to see that all was not for the best in the fundamentals of the universe." (Memories, Dreams, Reflections, 1961)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Schopenhauer.




"Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills," (On the Freedom of the Will, 1839)


"My body and my will are one." (The World and Will as Representation, 1819)


"Spinoza says that if a stone which has been projected through the air, had consciousness, it would believe that it was moving of its own free will. I add this only, that the stone would be right. The impulse given it is for the stone what the motive is for me, and what in the case of the stone appears as cohesion, gravitation, rigidity, is in its inner nature the same as that which I recognize in myself as will, and what the stone also, if knowledge were given to it, would recognize as will." (The World and Will as Representation, 1819)




"For this perceptible and real world is obviously a phenomenon of the brain; and so in the assumption that the world as such might exist independently of all brains there lies a contradiction." (The World and Will as Representation, 1819)




"There are two things which make it impossible to believe that this world is the successful work of an all-wise, all-good, and, at the same tie, all-powerful Being; firstly the misery which abounds in it everywhere; and secondly the obvious imperfection of its highest product, man, who is a burlesque of what he should be." (On the Sufferings of the World, 1850)


"The chief objection I have to pantheism is that it says nothing. To call the world 'God' is not to explain it; it is only to enrich our language with a superflous synonym for the word 'world'." (On Pantheism)




"The fundament upon which all our knowledge and learning rests is inexplicable." (Counsels and Maxims, 1951)


"Reason is feminine in nature; it can only give after it has received. Of itself it has nothing but the empty forms of its operation... Concepts in general only exist after experience of ideas of perception, and as their whole nature consists in their relation to these, it is clear that they presuppose them." (The World and Will as Representation, 1819)


Independence of thought


"Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see." (The World and Will as Representation, 1819)


"Every true thinker for himself is so far like a monarch; he is absolute, and recognizes nobody above him. His judgments, like the decrees of a monarch, spring from his own sovereign power and proceed directly from himself. He takes as little notice of authority as a monarch does of a command; nothing is valid unless he has himself authorized it." (Parerga and Paralipomena, 1851)


"Reading is merely a surrogate for thinking for thinking for yourself; it means letting someone else direct your thought. Many books moreover, serve merely to show how many ways there are of being wrong, and how far astray you yourself would go if you followed their guidance." (Counsels and Maxims, 1951)


Bad writing


"From every page and every line, there speaks an endeavor to beguile and deceive the reader, first by producing an effort to dumbfound him, then by incomprehensible phrases and even sheer nonsense to stun and stupefy him, and again by audacity of assertion to puzzle him, in short, to throw dust in his eyes and mystify him as much as possible." (Parerga and Paralipomena, 1851)