The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 2
eBook - ePub

The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 2

Arthur Schopenhauer

  1. 720 pagine
  2. English
  3. ePUB (disponibile sull'app)
  4. Disponibile su iOS e Android
eBook - ePub

The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 2

Arthur Schopenhauer

Dettagli del libro
Anteprima del libro
Indice dei contenuti

Informazioni sul libro

Volume 2 of the definitive English translation of one of the most important philosophical works of the 19th century, the basic statement in one important stream of post-Kantian thought. Corrects nearly 1,000 errors and omissions in the older Haldane-Kemp translation. For the first time, this edition translates and locates all quotes and provides full index.

Domande frequenti

Come faccio ad annullare l'abbonamento?
È semplicissimo: basta accedere alla sezione Account nelle Impostazioni e cliccare su "Annulla abbonamento". Dopo la cancellazione, l'abbonamento rimarrà attivo per il periodo rimanente già pagato. Per maggiori informazioni, clicca qui
È possibile scaricare libri? Se sì, come?
Al momento è possibile scaricare tramite l'app tutti i nostri libri ePub mobile-friendly. Anche la maggior parte dei nostri PDF è scaricabile e stiamo lavorando per rendere disponibile quanto prima il download di tutti gli altri file. Per maggiori informazioni, clicca qui
Che differenza c'è tra i piani?
Entrambi i piani ti danno accesso illimitato alla libreria e a tutte le funzionalità di Perlego. Le uniche differenze sono il prezzo e il periodo di abbonamento: con il piano annuale risparmierai circa il 30% rispetto a 12 rate con quello mensile.
Cos'è Perlego?
Perlego è un servizio di abbonamento a testi accademici, che ti permette di accedere a un'intera libreria online a un prezzo inferiore rispetto a quello che pagheresti per acquistare un singolo libro al mese. Con oltre 1 milione di testi suddivisi in più di 1.000 categorie, troverai sicuramente ciò che fa per te! Per maggiori informazioni, clicca qui.
Perlego supporta la sintesi vocale?
Cerca l'icona Sintesi vocale nel prossimo libro che leggerai per verificare se è possibile riprodurre l'audio. Questo strumento permette di leggere il testo a voce alta, evidenziandolo man mano che la lettura procede. Puoi aumentare o diminuire la velocità della sintesi vocale, oppure sospendere la riproduzione. Per maggiori informazioni, clicca qui.
The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 2 è disponibile online in formato PDF/ePub?
Sì, puoi accedere a The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 2 di Arthur Schopenhauer in formato PDF e/o ePub, così come ad altri libri molto apprezzati nelle sezioni relative a Philosophy e Free Will & Determinism in Philosophy. Scopri oltre 1 milione di libri disponibili nel nostro catalogo.




Tous les hommes désirent uniquement de se deélivrer de la mort: ils ne savent pas se délivrer de la vie.
Lao-tse, Tao-te-king, ed. Stanislas Julien, p. 184.

[“All men desire solely to free themselves from death; they do not know how to free themselves from life.”—Tr.]



The supplements to this fourth book would be very considerable, were it not that two of their principal subjects specially in need of a supplement, the freedom of the will and the foundation of morality, were fully discussed by me in the form of a monograph, and offered to the public in the year 1841 under the title The Two Fundamental Problems of Ethics, on the occasion of prize-questions set by two Scandinavian Academies. Accordingly I assume on the part of my readers an acquaintance with the work just mentioned, just as unconditionally as in the case of the supplements to Book II I assumed an acquaintance with the work On the Will in Nature. In general, I make the demand that whoever wishes to make himself acquainted with my philosophy shall read every line of me. For I am not a prolific writer, a fabricator of compendiums, an earner of fees, a person who aims with his writings at the approbation and assent of a minister; in a word, one whose pen is under the influence of personal ends. I aspire to nothing but the truth, and I write as the ancients wrote with the sole object of preserving my thoughts, so that they may one day benefit those who know how to meditate on them and appreciate them. I have therefore written little, but this little with reflection and at long intervals; accordingly, I have also confined within the smallest possible limits the repetitions, sometimes unavoidable in philosophical works on account of continuity and sequence, from which no single philosopher is free, so that most of what I have to say is to be found only in one place. Therefore, whoever wants to learn from me and to understand me must not leave unread anything that I have written. Yet without this people can criticize and condemn me, as experience has shown; and for this also I further wish them much pleasure.
However, the space gained in this fourth book of supplements by the aforesaid elimination of two main subjects will be welcome. For as those explanations which are above all close to man’s heart, and therefore form in every system, as ultimate results, the culminating point of its pyramid, are also concentrated in my last book, a larger space will gladly be granted to every more solid and positive proof, or to its more detailed discussion. Moreover, we have been able to introduce here a discussion which belongs to the doctrine of the “affirmation of the will-to-live,” and which was left untouched in our fourth book itself, just as it has been entirely neglected by all philosophers before me. This is the inner significance and real nature of sexual love, which sometimes rises to the most intense passion, a subject the taking up of which in the ethical part of philosophy would not be paradoxical, if its importance had been recognized.


On Death and Its Relation to the Indestructibility of Our Inner Nature

Death is the real inspiring genius or Musagetes of philosophy, and for this reason Socrates defined philosophy as
283 Indeed, without death there would hardly have been any philosophizing. It will therefore be quite in order for a special consideration of this subject to have its place here at the beginning of the last, most serious, and most important of our books.
The animal lives without any real knowledge of death; therefore the individual animal immediately enjoys the absolute imperishableness and immortality of the species, since it is conscious of itself only as endless. With man the terrifying certainty of death necessarily appeared along with the faculty of reason. But just as everywhere in nature a remedy, or at any rate a compensation, is given for every evil, so the same reflection that introduced the knowledge of death also assists us in obtaining metaphysical points of view. Such views console us concerning death, and the animal is neither in need of nor capable of them. All religions and philosophical systems are directed principally to this end, and are thus primarily the antidote to the certainty of death which reflecting reason produces from its own resources. The degree in which they attain this end is, however, very different, and one religion or philosophy will certainly enable man, far more than the others will, to look death calmly in the face. Brahmanism and Buddhism, which teach man to regard himself as Brahman, as the original being himself, to whom all arising and passing away are essentially foreign, will achieve much more in this respect than will those religions that represent man as being made out of nothing and as actually beginning at his birth the existence he has received from another. In keeping with this we find in India a confidence and a contempt for death of which we in Europe have no conception. It is indeed a ticklish business to force on man through early impression weak and untenable notions in this important respect, and thus to render him for ever incapable of adopting more correct and stable views. For example, to teach him that he came but recently from nothing, that consequently he has been nothing throughout an eternity, and yet for the future is to be imperishable and immortal, is just like teaching him that, although he is through and through the work of another, he shall nevertheless be responsible to all eternity for his commissions and omissions. Thus if with a mature mind and with the appearance of reflection the untenable nature of such doctrines forces itself on him, he has nothing better to put in their place; in fact, he is no longer capable of understanding anything better, and in this way is deprived of the consolation that nature had provided for him as compensation for the certainty of death. In consequence of such a development, we now (1844) see in England the Socialists among the demoralized and corrupted factory workers, and in Germany the young Hegelians among the demoralized and corrupted students, sink to the absolutely physical viewpoint. This leads to the result: edite, bibite, post mortem nulla voluptas,284 and to this extent can be described as bestiality.
According, however, to all that has been taught about death, it cannot be denied that, at any rate in Europe, the opinion of men, often in fact even of the same individual, very frequently vacillates afresh between the conception of death as absolute annihilation and the assumption that we are, so to speak with skin and hair, immortal. Both are equally false, but we have not so much to find a correct mean as rather to gain the higher standpoint from which such views disappear of themselves.
With these considerations, I wish to start first of all from the entirely empirical viewpoint. Here we have primarily before us the undeniable fact that, according to natural consciousness, man not only fears death for his own person more than anything else, but also weeps violently over the death of his friends and relations. It is evident, indeed, that he does this not egoistically over his own loss, but out of sympathy for the great misfortune that has befallen them. He therefore censures as hard-hearted and unfeeling those who in such a case do not weep and show no grief. Parallel with this is the fact that, in its highest degrees, the thirst for revenge seeks the death of the adversary as the greatest evil that can be infiicted on him. Opinions change according to time and place, but the voice of nature remains always and everywhere the same, and is therefore to be heeded before everything else. Now here it seems clearly to assert that death is a great evil. In the language of nature, death signifies annihilation; and that death is a serious matter could already be inferred from the fact that, as everyone knows, life is no joke. Indeed we must not deserve anything better than these two.
The fear of death is, in fact, independent of all knowledge, for the animal has it, although it does not know death. Everything that is born already brings this fear into the world. Such fear of death, however, is a priori only the reverse side of the will-to-live, which indeed we all are. Therefore in every animal the fear of its own destruction, like the care for its maintenance, is inborn. Thus it is this fear of death, and not the mere avoidance of pain, that shows itself in the anxious care and caution with which the animal seeks to protect itself, and still more its brood, from everyone who might become dangerous. Why does the animal flee, tremble, and try to conceal. itself? Because it is simply the will-to-live, but as such it is forfeit to death and would like to gain time. By nature man is just the same. The greatest of evils, the worst thing that can threaten anywhere, is death; the greatest anxiety is the anxiety of death. Nothing excites us so irresistibly to the most lively interest as does danger to the lives of others; nothing is more dreadful than an execution. Now the boundless attachment to life which appears here cannot have sprung from knowledge and reflection. To these, on the contrary, it appears foolish, for the objective value of life is very uncertain, and it remains at least doubtful whether existence is to be preferred to non-existence; in fact, if experience and reflection have their say, non-existence must certainly win. If we knocked on the graves and asked the dead whether they would like to rise again, they would shake their heads. In Plato’s Apology this is also the opinion of Socrates, and even the cheerful and amiable Voltaire cannot help saying: On aime la vie; mais le néant ne laisse pas d’avoir du bon: and again: Je ne sais pas ce que c’est que la vie éternelle, mais celle-ci est une mauvaise plaisanterie.285 Moreover, in any case life must end soon, so that the few years which possibly we have still to exist vanish entirely before the endless time when we shall be no more. Accordingly, to reflection it appears even ludicrous for us to be so very anxious about this span of time, to tremble so much when our own life or another’s is endangered, and to write tragedies whose terrible aspect has as its main theme merely the fear of death. Consequently, this powerful attachment to life is irrational and blind; it can be explained only from the fact that our whole being-in-itself is the will-to-live, to which life therefore must appear as the highest good, however embittered, short, and uncertain it may be; and that that will is originally and in itself without knowledge and blind. Knowledge, on the contrary, far from being the origin of that attachment to life, even opposes it, since it discloses life’s worthlessness, and in this way combats the fear of death. When it is victorious, and man accordingly faces death courageously and calmly, this is honoured as great and noble. Therefore we then extol the triumph of knowledge over the blind will-to-live which is nevertheless the kernel of our own inner being. In the same way we despise him in whom knowledge is defeated in that conflict, who therefore clings unconditionally to life, struggles to the utmost against approaching death, and receives it with despair;286 yet in him is expressed only the original inner being of our own self and of nature. Incidentally, it may here be asked how the boundless love of life and the endeavour to maintain it in every way as long as possible could be regarded as base and contemptible, and likewise considered by the followers of every religion as unworthy thereof, if life were the gift of the good gods to be acknowledged with thanks. How then could it appear great and noble to treat it with contempt? Meanwhile, these considerations confirm for us: (1) that the will-to-live is the innermost essence of man; (2) that in itself the will is without knowledge and blind; (3) that knowledge is an adventitious principle, originally foreign to the will; (4) that knowledge conflicts with the will, and our judgement applauds the triumph of knowledge over the will.
If what makes death seem so terrible to us were the thought of non-existence, we should necessarily think with equal horror of the time when as yet we did not exist. For it is irrefutably certain that non-existence after death cannot be different from non-existence before birth, and is therefore no more deplorable than that is. An entire infinity ran its course when we did not yet exist, but this in no way disturbs us. On the other hand, we find it hard, and even unendurable, that after the momentary intermezzo of an ephemeral existence, a second infinity should follow in which we shall exist no longer. Now could this thirst for existence possibly have arisen through our having tasted it and found it so very delightful? As was briefly set forth above, certainly not; the experience gained would far rather have been capable of causing an infinite longing for the lost paradise of non-existence. To the hope of immortality of the soul there is always added that of a “better world”; an indication that the present world is not worth much. Notwithstanding all this, the question of our state after death has certainly been discussed verbally and in books ten thousand times more often than that of our state before birth. Theoretically, however, the one is a problem just as near at hand and just as legitimate as the other; moreover, he who answered the one would likewise be fully enlightened about the other. We have fine declamations about how shocking it would be to think that the mind of man, which embraces the world and has so many excellent ideas, should sink with him into the grave; but we hear nothing about this mind having allowed a whole infinity of time to elapse before it arose with these its qualities, and how for just as long a time the world had to manage without it. Yet to knowledge uncorrupted by the will no question presents itself more naturally than this, namely: An infinite time has run its course before my birth; what was I throughout all that time? Metaphysically, the answer might perhaps be: “I was always I; that is, all who throughout that time said I, were just I.” But let us turn away from this to our present entirely empirical point of view, and assume that I did not exist at all. But I can then console myself for the infinite time after my death when I shall not exist, with the infinite time when I did not as yet exist, as a quite customary and really very comfortable state. For the infinity a parte post287 without me cannot be any more fearful than the infinity a parte ante287 without me, since the two are not distinguished by anything except by the intervention of an ephemeral life-dream. All proofs of continued existence after death may also be applied just as well in partem ante, where they then demonstrate existence before life, in assuming which the Hindus and Buddhists therefore show themselves to be very consistent. Only Kant’s ideality of time solves all these riddles; but we are not discussing this at the moment. But this much follows from what has been said, namely that to mourn for the time when we shall no longer exist is just as absurd as it would be to mourn for the time when we did not as yet exist; for it is all the same whether the time our existence does not fill is related to that which it does fill as future or as past.
But quite apart even from these considerations of time, it is in and by itself absurd to regard non-existence as an evil; for every evil, like every good, presupposes existence, indeed even consciousness. But this ceases with life, as well as in sleep and in a fainting fit; therefore the absence of consciousness is well known and familiar to us as a state containing no evil at all; in any case, its occurrence is a matter of a moment. Epicurus considered death from this point of view, and therefore said quite rightly:
(Death does not concern us), with the explanation that when we are, death is not, and when death is, we are not (Diogenes Laërtius, x, 27). To have lost what cannot be missed is obviously no evil; therefore we ought to be just as little disturbed by the fact that we shall not exist as by the fact that we did not exist. Accordingly, from the standpoint of knowledge, there appears to be absolutely no ground for fearing death; but consciousness consists in knowing, and thus for consciousness death is no evil. Moreover, it is not really this knowing part of our ego that fears death, but fuga mortis comes simply and solely from the blind will, with which every living thing is filled. But, as already mentioned, this fuga mortis is essential to it, just because it is the will-to-live, whose whole inner nature consists in a...

Indice dei contenuti

  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Table of Contents
  5. To the First Book - First Half
  6. Second Half
  10. INDEX