It is the origin of the infinite diversity of phenomena, since phenomena and matter are merely objectifications of it. Again, this would fly in the face of the personal experience of countless people who have felt happy at some point in their lives. We are never given in advance the choice whether to exist or not but, if we were, it would be irrational to choose to exist in a world where we can’t profit from life but only lose. When we realize how tragic that is, we end up thinking that it could all be a travesty of some sort. As early as his second semester, however, he transferred to the humanities, concentrating first on the study of Plato and Immanuel Kant. It is through aesthetic perception that the transcendence of ego can manifest itself, for with aesthetics (that is any object, person, or artform) we can evaluate an idea beyond our earthly interpretation of reality. Suite 310 San Diego, CA, 92111. For more on emotions and the history of ideas, visit Aeon’s sister site Psyche, our new digital magazine that seeks to illuminate the human condition through three prisms: mental health; the perennial question of ‘how to live’; and the artistic and transcendent facets of life. This pessimistic outlook towards life is observed all over his narrative, and it was because of this tone that many refer to him as the Philosopher of Pessimism. According to him, happiness is no more than the absence of pain and suffering; the moment of relief occasionally felt between the fulfilment of one desire and the pursuit of the next. At the end, however, stands death, the great reproof that the will-to-live receives, posing the question to each single person: Have you had enough? … “For if anything in the world is desirable, so desirable that even the dull and uneducated herd in its more reflective moments would value it more than silver and gold, it is that a ray of light should fall on the obscurity of our existence, and that we should obtain some information about this enigmatical life of ours, in which nothing is clear except its misery and vanity.”. Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling in more mystical terms described the world (Nature) as materialised Spirit, constantly evolving and striving for self-awareness which is reached in its highest forms in Man, especially in the creative arts. I thought that Nietzsche has said everything that needs to be said and that I should veer my attention towards other disciplines in order to expand my cognitive repertoire. The world is only the mirror of this willing ; and all finitude, all suffering, all miseries, which it contains, belong to the expression of that which the will wills, are as they are because the will so wills. Schopenhauer's concept … He was a pessimist but also a pragmatist. Daniel currently studies history, philosophy, egyptology and western esotericism at Uppsala Universitet. . bk. (T)his demands a complete forgetting of our own person.”. In 1793, his family decided to move to Hamburg, after opposing Prussia’s invasion to Danzig. Thus the will to live everywhere preys upon itself, and in different forms is its own nourishment, till finally the human race, because it subdues all the others, regards nature as a manufactory for its use. Schopenhauer finished his treatise Über das Sehn und die Farben (1816; “On Vision and Colours”), supporting Goethe against Isaac Newton. It is only comprehensible with the aid of the constructs of man’s intellect—space, time, and causality. The world in and of itself is full of contradictions and we should all just embrace the absurdity of that fact. The Buddhists have a word for this suffering, dukkha, which is acknowledged in the first of its Four Noble Truths. Although the two never met,Wagnerwas profoundly influenced by the German philosopher Schopenhauer. In my academic writings in Uppsala I’ve previously written on the similarities and differences between the concept of ‘will to life’ by Schopenhauer and some philosophical aspects of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. We will try and respond to your request as soon as reasonably practical. This Email Newsletter Privacy Statement pertains to the personally identifying information you voluntarily submit in the form of your email address to receive our email newsletters. Will is the thing – in – itself, the inner content, the essence of the world. Later on, he attended a school in Wimbledon where he came to despise the strictness and pretentiousness of the British educational system. He attempted to lecture in the university Berlin, but unsuccessfully. He was a great admirer of Kantian philosophy and more specifically his ideas about the thing-in-itself and transcendental idealism. In my first introduction to him, he made me a pessimist. Its message – that suffering was caused by insatiable craving and longing, overweening egotism and the cruelty of others – chimed with Wagner, whose disorderly life was rent with penury, failure, frustrated ambition and an unhappy marriage. We are also bound to feel resentment towards the obstacles that stand between us and the happiness we feel entitled to. von Goethe and Christoph Martin Wieland (often called the German Voltaire). He defended himself against loneliness with the belief that solitude is the only fitting condition for a philosopher: ‘Were I a King,’ he said, ‘my prime command would be – Leave me alone.’ The subject of happiness, then, is not normally associated with Schopenhauer, neither as a person nor as a philosopher. - Heiayoho! Arthur Schopenhauer was born in 1788 in the city of Danzig (present-day Gdańsk in Poland). In the beast we see the will to live more naked, as it were, than in the man, in whom it is clothed with so much knowledge, and is, moreover, so veiled through the capacity for dissimulation, that it is almost only by chance, and here and there, that its true nature becomes apparent. Life isn’t just an abstract concept for us. We can instead reflect on all the suffering that was merely possible for us.