Arthur Schopenhauer and German Philosophy
With this story we open a cycle of features on German philosophy. It
will be a door to understanding the modern German line of policy in the
world, and an opportunity for everyone to learn more about the most famous
thinkers of the past.
Today we will talk about Arthur Schopenhauer, one of the greatest philosophers
of the 19th century, known for his philosophy of Pessimism and for his
emphasis on the Will. Arthur Schopenhauer is the author of famous sayings
"I have long held the opinion that the amount of noise that anyone
can bear undisturbed stands in inverse proportion to his mental capacity
and therefore be regarded as pretty fair measure of it."
"There is no more mistaken path to happiness than worldliness, revelry,
--Schopenhauer, Essays, Our Relation to Ourselves, sec. 24
"The two foes of human happiness are pain and boredom."
--Schopenhauer, Essays, Personality; or What a Man Is.
"To marry is to halve your rights and double your duties."
"Through what we do we learn what we are."
He had a very strong impact on philosophy, literature and human minds
of that time. Written in a simple language unusual for philosophy, his
works reflected concerns and tragedies of the real life, not just usual
empyreal problems all philosophers used to deal with. He was the first
European thinker to study the Upanishads, Indian teachings, and
Buddhism, which deeply influenced his thought together with the works
of Plato and Immanuel
Kant. Like the majority of philosophers, Shopenhauer was up to build
a proper philosophy of representation. He made an attempt to do it in
1819 in his famous work The World as Will and Idea, where he
characterized the Will as a non-rational force driving the ultimately
meaningless struggle for existence. Even if we were able to satisfy all
of the Will's demands, we would still be unhappy; because everything ends
in disappointment and, finally, in death. In his view, reality is a representation
of the Will, not God. He was the first to speak of life as suffering,
and his own life was full of it.
Schopenhauer's works influenced those of Nietzsche,
and Richard Wagner.