Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Extracts from Book3 of The World as Will and Representation

Considering how much Schopenhauer loved Hegel:

"The height of audacity in serving up pure nonsense, in stringing together senseless and extravagant mazes of words, such as had been only previously known in madhouses, was finally reached in Hegel, and became the instrument of the most barefaced, general mystification that has ever taken place, with a result which will appear fabulous to posterity, as a monument to German stupidity."

Im going to put some of his thoughts on the positioning of aesthetic perception right next to Hegel's :0)

If I can figure out how to make links-as-words, be sure to click one and read up a little on the Principle of Sifficiant Reason.

Chapter 34
Raised up by the power of the mind, we relinquish the ordinary way of considering things, and cease to follow under the guidance of the forms of the principle of sufficient reason merely their relations to one another, whose final goal is always the relation to our own will. Thus we no longer consider the where, the when, the why, and the whither in things, but simply and solely the what. Further, we do not let abstract thought, the concepts of reason, take possession of our consciousness, but, instead of all this, devote the whole power of our mind to perception, sink ourselves completely therein, and let our whole consciousness be filled by the calm contemplation of the natural object actually present, whether it be a landscape, a tree, a rock, a crag, a building, or anything else. We lose ourselves entirely in this object, to use a pregnant expression; in other words, we forget our individuality, our will, and continue to exist only as pure subject, as clear mirror of the object, so that it is as if the object alone existed without anyone to perceive it, and thus we are no longer able to separate the perceiver from the perception, but the two have become one, since the entire consciousness is filled and occupied by a single image of perception. If, therefore, the object has to such an extent passed out of all relation to something outside it, and the subject has passed out of all relation to the will, what is thus known is no longer the individual thing as such, but the Idea, the eternal form, the immediate objectivity of the will at this grade. Thus at the same time, the person who is involved in this perception is no longer an individual, for in such perception the individual has lost himself; his is pure will-less, painless, timeless subject of knowledge.

Chapter 36
Whilst science, following the restless and unstable stream of the fourfold forms of reason or grounds and consequents, is with every end it attains again and again directed farther, and can never find an ultimate goal or complete satisfaction, any more than by running we can reach the point where the clouds touch the horizon; art, on the contrary, is everywhere at its goal. For it plucks the object of its contemplation from the stream of the world’s course, and holds it isolated before it. This particular thing, which in that stream was an infinitesimal part, becomes for art a representative of the whole, an equivalent of the infinitely many in space and time. It therefore pauses at this particular thing; it stops the wheel of time; for it the relations vanish; its object is only the essential, the Idea. We can therefore define it accurately as the way of considering things independently of the principle of sufficient reason, in contrast to the way of considering them which proceeds in exact accordance with this principle, and is the way of science and experience. This latter method of consideration can be compared to an endless line running horizontally, and the former to a vertical line cutting the horizontal at any point.


Whereas to the ordinary man his faculty of knowledge is a lamp that lights his path, to the man of genius [Schopenhauer here refers to a specific definition of genius as the inclination towards the apprehension of pure, ungrounded knowledge described above] it is the sun that reveals the world.

He [the poet] knows the Ideas perfectly, but not the individuals. Therefore it has been observed that a poet may know man profoundly and thoroughly, but men very badly; he is easily duped, and is a plaything in the hands of the cunning and crafty.

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