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Lyssa
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PostSubject: Schopenhauer Wed May 29, 2013 7:54 am

Schopenhauer as the precursor to Freud;

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Quote :
"following exposition of human nature is given in this very essay which explains why sexual love as well as the love of progeny is all important to human beings:

Although the will attains self-consciousness only in the individual, yet the deep-seated consciousness that it is really the species in which its true being objectifies itself appears in the fact that the affairs of the species as such, i.e. the relation of the sexes, the generation and nourishment of the offspring are to the individual of comparably greater important and consequence than anything else. [W, II, 510]
It may seem to us that our individual and selfish concerns are most important to us. In fact, the affairs of the species such as the generation and upbringing of the offspring as well as sexual selection and pursuits are far more important to human beings.3 In this respect, humans behave as instinctively as animals, albeit among humans, both sexual matters and parental love are “guided and directed by the faculty of reason [or] reflection” (W, II, 514), which enhances their sophistication but does not diminish their strength. Schopenhauer reiterates his insight that:

Sexual impulse is the kernel of the will-to-live and consequently the concentration of all willing. In the text [WWR] therefore I have called the genitals the focus of the will. Indeed it may be said that man is concrete sexual impulse, for his origin is an act of copulation ... It is true that the will-to-live manifests itself primarily as an effort to maintain the individual; yet this is only a stage towards the effort to maintain the species. [W, II, 514]

It is not hard to see here why Schopenhauer’s philosophy was influential in the development of Freud’s theories concerning human sexuality. Schopenhauer illustrates as well as explains the vehemence of the sexual impulse by tracing its origins in the all-important issue of the continuation of the species. There is then a connection between sexuality and immortality, or at least between it and a craving and a drive toward overcoming the terrible certainty of death. Schopenhauer brilliantly and graphically describes the omnipresence of this core of all willing:

This is the important role played by the sex-relation in the world of mankind, where it is really the invisible central point of all action and conduct, and peeps up everywhere, in spite of all the veils thrown over it. It is the cause of war and the aim and object of peace, the basis of the serious and the aim of the joke, the inexhaustible source of wit, the key to all hints and allusions, and the meaning of all secret signs and suggestions, all unexpressed proposals, and all stolen glances; it is the daily thought and desire of the young and often of the old as well, the hourly thought of the unchaste, and the constantly recurring reverie of the chaste against their will, the ever ready material for a joke, only because the profoundest seriousness lies at its root. [W, II, 513]

Schopenhauer expands on this connection between sexuality and the inner design of the will-to-live to perpetuate the species in his essay “The Metaphysics of Sexual Love,” which follows his highly speculative piece on “The Hereditary Nature of Qualities,” which in turn is based on his belief that one inherits intellect from one’s mother and will from one’s father. To posit and root human qualities and pre- dispositions in heredity is in accord with Schopenhauer’s tendency to de-emphasize the individual and the individual’s current existence and its experiences, and to assert the role of generation and the species. It is also in tune with the Buddhist belief that pre-dispositions (svabhava) are inherited on the basis of the karma of past lives rather than being an exclusive by-product of one’s current life and its experiences. In any case, Schopenhauer’s attribution of will to the father and intellect to the mother seems to be not only an oversimplification but also an outdated and scientifically unproven assertion."[Raj Singh; Death, Contemplation, and Schopenhauer]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*


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PostSubject: Re: Schopenhauer Wed May 29, 2013 7:57 am

Quote :
"Nature too, the inner being of which is will-to-live itself with all her force impels both man and animal to propagate. After this she has attained her end with the individual, and is quite indifferent to its destruction, for as the will-to-live she is concerned only with the preservation of the species; the individual is nothing to her. [W, I, 330]

This is why the denial of the will-to-live requires first and foremost, a closer study, control, regulation and even suppression of one’s sexual impulse. Schopenhauer treats such a suppression of sexuality as part and parcel of saying no to the will-to- live and seems to admire the sexual restraint of those who chose an ascetical and saintly way of life. As we shall see, this account of sexuality and of asceticism may be a glaring oversimplification. Whereas a close connection between the sexual impulse and the human being’s thoughtless worldliness cannot be denied, Schopenhauer certainly turns a blind eye to the middle course of moderation that is celebrated in ancient philosophical systems and religions alike. Schopenhauer traces a connection between “genitals” and “generation” to reaffirm his view of sexuality:

Far more than any other external member of the body the genitals are subject merely to the will and not at all to knowledge. Here, in fact, the will shows itself independent of knowledge as it does in those parts which, on the occasion of mere stimuli, serve vegetative life, reproduction, and in which the will operates blindly as it does in nature without knowledge. [W, I, 330]

The body itself is an objectification of willing and genitals more than any other parts represent this objectification. Thus, the relation between willing, worldliness and sexuality is insightfully traced by Schopenhauer. The importance of the unconscious and the omnipresence of sexuality in the psychical and the practical life of the human entity was recognized by Schopenhauer in no uncertain terms. These insights influenced several later thinkers and psychologists in the European tradition including Nietzsche, Freud, Thomas Mann and others. In a discussion of Schopenhauer’s possible influence on Freud, Bryan Magee writes:

In his analysis of the importance of sex in human life Schopenhauer was an intrepid pioneer who held ideas far ahead of his time. Jung was directly influenced by him, and two outstanding authorities on sex – Ellis and Bloch – admired him greatly and cited him frequently ... Freud was familiar with these ideas and considered them of great value ... Freud ... never, in his maturity equivocated over the fact that Schopenhauer had preceded him with his most fundamental ideas, but only over the directness or indirectness of his debt.

It is quite clear in Schopenhauer’s analysis that any denial of thoughtless and matter- of-course worldliness requires a denial or rejection or overcoming of the sexual drive which is but will’s most remarkable manifestation. If sexuality has intimately to do with denial, then it also has a deep-rooted connection with death and death- contemplation."[ib.]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Schopenhauer Wed May 29, 2013 7:59 am

Quote :
"We can regard our life as a uselessly disturbing episode in the blissful repose of nothingness. At all events even the man who has fared tolerably well, becomes more clearly aware, the longer he lives, that life on the whole is a disappointment, nay a cheat ... The world is just a “hell” and in it human beings are the tortured souls on the one hand, and devils on the other." [Schopenhauer, PP, II, 300]


Quote :
"Brahma produced the world through a kind of original sin, but himself remains in it to atone for this until he has redeemed himself from it. This is quite a good idea. In Buddhism the world comes into being in consequence of an inexplicable disturbance ... in the crystal clearness of the blessed and penitentially obtained state of nirvana and hence through a kind of fatality ... An excellent idea. To the Greeks the world and the gods were the work of an unfathomable necessity; this is fairly reasonable ... Ormuzd lives in conflict with Ahriman; this seems not unreasonable. But that a God Jehovah creates this world of misery and affliction ... and then applauds himself, this is something intolerable. [PP, II, 301]

By translating “life of samsara ought not to be” into “human existence ought not to be,” Schopenhauer presents another moral lesson in this regard. Since, as genuine Christianity endorses it, this existence is “a guilt, a false step,” and since “man is something that really ought not to be,” we must forbear each other and regard “troubles, vexations, sufferings, worries and miseries, great and small” as expected and normal. For, “everyone is punished for his existence and indeed each in his own way” (PP, II, 303). This thought is elaborated in the following footnote:
The correct standard for judging any man is to remember that he is really a being who should not exist at all, but who is atoning for his existence through many different forms of suffering and through death. What can we expect from such a being? We atone for our birth first by living and secondly by dying. This is also allegorized by original sin. [PP, II, 303]"[ib.]


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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Schopenhauer Wed May 29, 2013 8:09 am

Quote :
"Thus, according to Schopenhauer, the sublime human possibility of the denial of the will-to-live is exemplified by the saints and mystics of the Christians, Hindu and Buddhist faiths. He finds New Testament Christianity quite close in spirit to and even influenced by Hinduism. Old Testament Christianity, Judaism and Islam, he finds quite discordant with his favourite religions, for they are more this-worldly rather than other-worldly. Thus he carefully chooses his examples of will’s denial from later Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism. The life of one who lives the denial of will is blessed, for it has forever what true experience of art gives us for a few moments:

How blessed must be the life of a man whose will is silenced not from a few moments, as in the enjoyment of the beautiful, but forever, indeed completely extinguished, except for the last glimmering spark that maintains the body and is extinguished with it ... Nothing can distress or alarm him anymore; nothing can any longer move him; for he has cut all the thousand threads of willing which hold us bound to the world, and which as craving, fear, envy and anger drag us here and there in constant pain. [W, I, 390]

That such denial is nothing but what we have called “death-contemplation” is evident in the concluding words of the autobiography of Madame de Guyon, the “holy penitent” for whom Schopenhauer has the greatest reverence:

Everything is indifferent to me; I cannot will anything more; often I do not know whether I exist or not ... The noonday of glory; a day no longer followed by night; a life that no longer fears death, even in death itself, because death has overcome death, and because whoever has suffered the first death will no longer feel the second. [W, I, 391]"[ib.]

I see why N. picked on the metaphor of the Noonday in TSZ...


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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Schopenhauer Wed May 29, 2013 8:16 am

Quote :
"“As the individual thing is related to the Idea, so is suicide to the denial of the will. The suicide denies merely the individual, not the species” (W, I, 399).

Thus suicide is a reaction to individual or one’s own sufferings, whereas the denial comes from a realization of the inherent and possible sufferings of all who draw their breath. This, Schopenhauer explained in the beginning of his discussion of the denial of the will- to-live.

Suicide is also called the “masterpiece of Maya,” since it is “the most blatant expression of the contradiction of the will-to-live with itself.” We may conclude that whereas the denial is a free denial of itself based on the knowledge of itself, a distinct possibility in its human phenomenon only, suicide is will’s “blatant expression” or “self-contradiction” of another kind. It is not based on will’s knowledge of itself but a rash reaction prompted by will’s frustration in not realizing its ongoing desires and cravings. In the will’s highest form, that is, human existence, the conflict caused by will’s commands not only makes the individuals to be willing to exterminate each other but could also prompt “an individual to declare war on himself”:

Suicide is like a sick man who after the beginning of a painful operation that could completely cure him, will not allow it to be completed by prefers to retain his illness ... This is the reason why almost all ethical systems, philosophical as well as religious condemn suicide, though they themselves cannot state anything but strange and sophistical arguments for so doing. [W, I, 399]

Will-to-live is not a stuff that can be broken by force: “The will-to-live cannot be abolished by anything except knowledge. Therefore the only path to salvation is that will should appear freely and without hinderance, in order that it can recognize or know its own inner nature in this phenomenon” (W, I, 400).

This means that suicide obviously involves violence, whereas the denial is the path of non-violence rooted in a superior and fundamental knowledge."[ib.]


Quote :
"The knowledge that is requisite for the denial of the will-to-live must be independent of anything like free choice; “That denial of willing, that entrance into freedom, is not to be forcibly arrived at by intention or design, but comes from the innermost relation of knowing and willing in man” (W, I, 404). This fundamental change in one’s inner nature is not a matter of intention, design, or deliberate choice, but “comes suddenly, as if flying from without. Therefore the church calls it the effect of grace.”

In Section 70, Schopenhauer examines the relevant Christian concepts like grace, being born again, original sin, and so on. Not only that, he finds his own philosophy, especially its final moments as described in Book IV of the WWR, in accord with the spirit of Christianity, but showing an impact of Hindu thought on his peculiar version of Christianity.
Although the concept of God is conspicuous by its absence, his own concepts seem to be secularized versions of some important Christian concepts:

The doctrine of original sin (affirmation of the will) and of salvation (denial of the will) is really the great truth which constitutes the kernel of Christianity, while the rest is in the main only clothing and covering, or something accessory.”

Schopenhauer has a special fascination for the doctrine of the original sin, which he finds in accord with the Hindu and Buddhist theory of karma. The connection between karma (action) and jnana (knowledge) is again visible in the following “Christian” interpretation of the will’s denial:

“Thus we see that genuine virtue and saintliness of disposition have their first origin not in deliberate free choice (works) but in knowledge (faith), precisely as we developed it” (W, I, 407).

That we abhor nothingness so much is simply another way of saying that we will live so much, that we are nothing but his will and know nothing but it alone.
[But] by contemplating the life and the conduct of the saints, to meet with whom is of course rarely granted to us ... but who are brought to our notice by their recorded history

...we have to banish the dark impression of that nothingness, which as the final goal hovers behind all virtue and holiness.
We freely acknowledge that what remains after the complete abolition of the will is, for all who are still full of the will, assuredly nothing. But also conversely, to those in whom the will has turned and denied itself, this very real world of ours with all its suns and galaxies is – nothing. [Footnote: “This is also the Prajna-paramita of the Buddhists, the ‘beyond all knowledge’ ... where subject and object no longer exist.”] [W, I, 412]"[ib.]

From there, Wagner carries on the Torch...

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Schopenhauer Sat Nov 12, 2016 2:15 pm

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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