Schopenhauer 1788 - 1860 (72)

Each day is a little life: every waking and rising a little birth, every fresh morning a little youth, every going to rest and sleep a little death.


The World

as Will..

“The life of every individual, viewed as a whole and in general, and when only its most significant features are emphasized, is really a tragedy; but gone through in detail it has the character of a comedy.”

Arthur Schopenhauer ( Gdansk, Poland, February 22, 1788 - Frankfurt, Germany, September 21, 1860) was a German philosopher known for his atheism and his pessimism. His father was a wealthy banker who wanted him to join the world of trade so he pushed him to learn many languages. For this purpose they traveled to Holland, Switzerland, Austria and England, and stayed for two years in France. Arthur’s childhood was difficult because of the oppressive conduct of his father and some health problems. As he later wrote, his worst period was in England, where he attended classes in a boarding Roman Catholic school, which created an aversion to religion. In 1805 his father died, leaving him a large fortune, so he won’t have to work. His mother, daughter of a Senator and Known writer, she left Hamburg and moved with her sister to the cosmopolitan Weimar, opening a literary salon where accepted some of the most famous intellectuals of the era, among them Johann Goethe. Arthur in 1809 he enrolled at the University of Göttingen; he started medicine school but he soon changed to philosophy. He continued his studies at the University of Berlin and in 1813 he submitted his thesis at the University of Jena and received his doctorate. From 1814 to 1818 he lived in Dresden, where he worked primarily with the expansion of his PhD, resulting in his most important book, "The world as will and representation" (1818). After one year’s vacation in various Italian cities, he became in 1820 a professor at the University of Berlin; his lesson coincide with those of Hegel, with the result only five students attending it, 6 months later was discontinued. In 1822, frustrated by the lack of recognition from the academic community, he left Berlin and traveled to Italy, and then he went to Munich. He lived then in Mannheim and Dresden before going in 1825 back to Berlin; he tried to find a teaching position but with no success. The following year he was confronted with the justice and forced to pay a fine to a woman whom he had hit for disturbing his study by talking loudly outside his door.

He left Berlin in 1831, mainly to avoid a cholera epidemic that was coming from Russia and which later killed his rival Hegel. In 1836, he wrote a small work entitled ‘On the will in nature’, where there are chapters on animal magnetism and magic, and in 1839, he completed an essay ‘On the freedom of the human will’, for which he won first prize in the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters. A year later he finished a second essay: "For the foundations of morality". From 1843 he lived for 27 years in Frankfurt, in an apartment on the banks of the river Main. He lived alone, with two small dogs and followed strictly the same daily routine. He would wake up in the morning, wash, study and play the flute at breaks, eat lunch in the English Court, an inn in the city center, rest, read and write again, walk and read the Times of London, sleep. In 1851, Schopenhauer wrote a fun collection of philosophical quotations entitled ‘Sideline and Asides’, after that he began to have an appeal to the public. He died in 1860 at the age of 72, in his sleep, from heart failure.

Schopenhauer was the chief representative of pessimism, according to Schopenhauer life is futile as there is only pain to it. The world does not exist objectively, outside us, it is not something tangible, real, but it is a creation of our own ego, is expressed exclusively through our will. We are miserable products of our own epistemological activity, we live in the world constructed by us and our destiny is to collide with other people constantly seeking to gain much more than we deserve. The world of everyday life is the essence of violent and prohibition, it is a world that will never be brought to a more quiescent phase, because of the very human existence.