Arthur Schopenhauer: The Guru of Grief

Born today was Schopenhauer

Whose world view was downright sour.

An endless circle of desire

Until  in turn we all expire.

"Where contemporaries such as Hegel saw will as a positive force, Schopenhauer sees humanity at the mercy of a mindless, aimless universal Will. It lies behind our most basic urges, he insists, and is what causes us to live lives of constant disappointment and frustration as we attempt to relieve our cravings. for Schopenhauer, the world is neither good nor bad, but meaningless, and humans who struggle to find happiness achieve at best gratification and at worst pain and suffering."  [The "DK Philosophy Book" Various Contributors, p. 188]

"Schopenhauer believed that life only produces grief, because it is guided mainly by will, which makes us desire constantly. If we do not achieve our desires, we are miserable, and if we do, we are bored. We will have to object that to feel misery one needs to feel joy (to know how to compare), and vice versa: One will enjoy more the more he/she has suffered. We know that we are suffering only when we have had pleasures, and vice versa. We would say that the balance between joy and grief is always the same, but the amplitude is the only one which varies, depending on the will of the individuals. The higher will, the life will be more intense, feeling more grief AND more joy. If the will is not strong, there will be not so much deceptions, but also not so much desires, falling into a lethargic life." [Carlos Gershenson]


Leave a comment
  • Wow, AW, this is heavy stuff. Yet, you have managed to make it fun. Well-done!

    I do know his writings are very influential to many western thinkers.
    Do you think there are some similarities to Buddhist teachings?

  • Someone posted in the fitness center a quotation from another German [at least name] Philosopher, Groucho Marx to the effect that today is the only day and I have the power to be happy in it (full version).

    While sometimes I have the feeling that everyone is crapping on me [including myself when I hit the wrong button and lost 3 hours of work], and the death rate is certainly 100%, I still vote for Groucho over Schopenhauer.

  • Jack, I share your Marxist leanings.

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    Be careful, WG. A little leaning is a dangerous thing.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Your clever rhyme on Shopenhauer
    Had me laughing for an hour.

    Thanks again

  • A little leaning IS a dangerous thing, but a little typo (?) can be hilarious! Thanks, all!

Leave a comment