“Studies in Pessimism” de Arthur Schopenhauer

Pentru ceva timp, citind “Studies in Pessimism” de Arthur Schopenhauer, am crezut pe bune că am descoperit un filozof ale cărui idei le împărtășesc și susțin. Dezamăgirea amară, însă, a apărut citind despre părerea acestuia cu privire la femeie: rolul ei în societate, rolul ei în relație, capacitățile intelectuale, sinceritatea morală, etc.

Nu am rămas decât într-o confuzie totală citindu-i lucrarea și-s exact pe punctul de a spune că am nevoie să continui să-l citesc pentru a-l înțelege mai bine. Poate că nu-mi doresc decât să-l cunosc mai bine, pentru că în anumite aspecte mă regăsesc cutremurător de tare. Dar confuzia apare grație contradicțiilor în privința altor aspecte.

Interesant e faptul cum Schopenhauer vorbește despre moralitatea sinuciderii – ca act absolut agreabil într-o societate în care oamenii au dreptul de a face o alegere, ca act de atitudine. Interesant e și faptul că, din biografia acestuia, am aflat că tatăl său s-a sinucis și că Arthur S. a trecut cu greu peste acest eveniment. Faptul că acesta a scris despre sinucidere ca atare nu relatează decât, cred eu, că acesta a înțeles  și acceptat decizia tatălui său.

Si, in general, majoritatea idelor expuse de autor par mult gandite si indelung construite in constiinta acestuia. Ai impresia ca un astfel de om te-ar face bucati daca te-ai pune cu el intr-o dezbatere. Astfel, oricare alte idei decat cele expuse the Schopenhauer par expresie de lasitate doar, nimic mai mult. Impresia respectiva nu se creaza, insa, pentru ca toate punctele de vedere vor coincide intre cititorul obisnuit si autor, ci pentru ca Schopenhauer pare, in opinia mea, un om cu principii cioplite in piatra.

The Essays of Arthur Schopenhauer; Studies in Pessimism (Arthur Schopenhauer)

“It is the good which is negative; in other words, happiness and satisfaction always imply some desire fulfilled, some state of pain brought to an end.”

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“[…] we generally find pleasure to be not nearly so pleasant as we expected, and pain very much more painful. The pleasure in this world, it has been said, outweighs the pain; or, at any rate, there is an even balance between the two. If the reader wishes to see shortly whether this statement is true, let him compare the respective feelings of two animals, one of which is engaged in eating the other.”

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“The best consolation in misfortune or affliction of any kind will be the thought of other people who are in a still worse plight than yourself; and this is a form of consolation open to every one.”

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“But if all wishes were fulfilled as soon as they arose, how would men occupy their lives? what would they do with their time? If the world were a paradise of luxury and ease, a land flowing with milk and honey, where every Jack obtained his Jill at once and without any difficulty, men would either die of boredom or hang themselves; or there would be wars, massacres, and murders; so that in the end mankind would inflict more suffering on itself than it has now to accept at the hands of Nature.”

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“Your University professors are bound to preach optimism; and it is an easy and agreeable task to upset their theories.”

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“[…] that the happiness of any given life is to be measured, not by its joys and pleasures, but by the extent to which it has been free from suffering—from positive evil.”

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“[…] the pains of life are made much worse for man by the fact that death is something very real to him.”

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“If you want a safe compass to guide you through life, and to banish all doubt as to the right way of looking at it, you cannot do better than accustom yourself to regard this world as a penitentiary, a sort of a penal colony, or [Greek: ergastaerion] as the earliest philosopher called it.[1]”

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“And true Christianity—using the word in its right sense—also regards our existence as the consequence of sin and error.”

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“[…] in continual Becoming without ever Being; in constant wishing and never being satisfied.”

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“Of every event in our life we can say only for one moment that it is; for ever after, that it was. Every evening we are poorer by a day.”

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“We are like a man running downhill, who cannot keep on his legs unless he runs on, and will inevitably fall if he stops; or, again, like a pole balanced on the tip of one’s finger; or like a planet, which would fall into its sun the moment it ceased to hurry forward on its way. Unrest is the mark of existence.”

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“[…] a man never is happy, but spends his whole life in striving after something which he thinks will make him so.”

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“The scenes of our life are like pictures done in rough mosaic. Looked at close, they produce no effect. There is nothing beautiful to be found in them, unless you stand some distance off. So, to gain anything we have longed for is only to discover how vain and empty it is; and even though we are always living in expectation of better things, at the same time we often repent and long to have the past back again.”

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“Human life must be some kind of mistake. The truth of this will be sufficiently obvious if we only remember that man is a compound of needs and necessities hard to satisfy; and that even when they are satisfied, all he obtains is a state of painlessness, where nothing remains to him but abandonment to boredom. This is direct proof that existence has no real value in itself; for what is boredom but the feeling of the emptiness of life?”

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“It is only in the microscope that our life looks so big.”

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“As far as I know, none but the votaries of monotheistic, that is to say, Jewish religions, look upon suicide as a crime.”

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“Now let the reader’s own moral feelings decide as to whether or not suicide is a criminal act. Think of the impression that would be made upon you by the news that some one you know had committed the crime, say, of murder or theft, or been guilty of some act of cruelty or deception; and compare it with your feelings when you hear that he has met a voluntary death. While in the one case a lively sense of indignation and extreme resentment will be aroused, and you will call loudly for punishment or revenge, in the other you will be moved to grief and sympathy.”

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“If the law punishes people for trying to commit suicide, it is punishing the want of skill that makes the attempt a failure.”

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“Not even to God are all things possible; for he could not compass his own death, if he willed to die, and yet in all the miseries of our earthly life, this is the best of his gifts to man.”

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“[…] we find that the Stoics actually praised suicide as a noble and heroic action, as hundreds of passages show; above all in the works of Seneca, who expresses the strongest approval of it. As is well known, the Hindoos look upon suicide as a religious act, especially when it takes the form of self-immolation by widows.”

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“In my chief work I have explained the only valid reason existing against suicide on the score of mortality. It is this: that suicide thwarts the attainment of the highest moral aim by the fact that, for a real release from this world of misery, it substitutes one that is merely apparent. But from a mistake to a crime is a far cry; and it is as a crime that the clergy of Christendom wish us to regard suicide.”

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“If we are in great bodily pain, or the pain lasts a long time, we become indifferent to other troubles; all we think about is to get well. In the same way great mental suffering makes us insensible to bodily pain; we despise it; nay, if it should outweigh the other, it distracts our thoughts, and we welcome it as a pause in mental suffering. It is this feeling that makes suicide easy; for the bodily pain that accompanies it loses all significance in the eyes of one who is tortured by an excess of mental suffering.”

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“Suicide may also be regarded as an experiment—a question which man puts to Nature, trying to force her to an answer.”

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“Don’t you see that my individuality, be it what it may, is my very self? To me it is the most important thing in the world. For God is God and I am I. I want to exist, I, I. That’s the main thing. I don’t care about an existence which has to be proved to be mine, before I can believe it.”

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“[…] individuality is not a form of perfection, but rather of limitation; and so to be freed from it is not loss but gain.”

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“The real meaning of persona is a mask, such as actors were accustomed to wear on the ancient stage; and it is quite true that no one shows himself as he is, but wears his mask and plays his part.”

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“Hatred comes from the heart; contempt from the head; and neither feeling is quite within our control. For we cannot alter our heart; its basis is determined by motives; and our head deals with objective facts, and applies to them rules which are immutable. Any given individual is the union of a particular heart with a particular head.”

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“[…] every man who wants to achieve something, whether in practical life, in literature, or in art, must follow the rules without knowing them.”

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“No one knows what capacities for doing and suffering he has in himself, until something comes to rouse them to activity: just as in a pond of still water, lying there like a mirror, there is no sign of the roar and thunder with which it can leap from the precipice, and yet remain what it is; or again, rise high in the air as a fountain.”

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“Why is it that, in spite of all the mirrors in the world, no one really knows what he looks like?”

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“A man may call to mind the face of his friend, but not his own.”

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“A man cannot look upon his own reflection as though the person presented there were a stranger to him; and yet this is necessary if he is to take an objective view.”

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“People of very brilliant ability think little of admitting their errors and weaknesses, or of letting others see them. They look upon them as something for which they have duly paid; and instead of fancying that these weaknesses are a disgrace to them, they consider they are doing them an honor. This is especially the case when the errors are of the kind that hang together with their qualities—conditiones sine quibus non—or, as George Sand said, les défauts de ses vertus.”

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“For a man may have the most excellent judgment in all other matters, and yet go wrong in those which concern himself; because here the will comes in and deranges the intellect at once. Therefore let a man take counsel of a friend. A doctor can cure everyone but himself; if he falls ill, he sends for a colleague.”

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“Indeed, it may be said that religion is the chef d’oeuvre of the art of training, because it trains people in the way they shall think: and, as is well known, you cannot begin the process too early.”

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“[…] we find that imagination is active just in proportion as our senses are not excited by external objects. A long period of solitude, whether in prison or in a sick room; quiet, twilight, darkness—these are the things that promote its activity; and under their influence it comes into play of itself.”

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“The little incidents and accidents of every day fill us with emotion, anxiety, annoyance, passion, as long as they are close to us, when they appear so big, so important, so serious; but as soon as they are borne down the restless stream of time, they lose what significance they had; we think no more of them and soon forget them altogether. They were big only because they were near.”

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“We may say, then, that whilst intoxication enhances the memory for what is past, it allows it to remember little of the present.”

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“Men need some kind of external activity, because they are inactive within. Contrarily, if they are active within, they do not care to be dragged out of themselves; it disturbs and impedes their thoughts in a way that is often most ruinous to them.”

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“The lower animals never laugh, either alone or in company.”

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“No idea should ever be established in a child’s mind otherwise than by what the child can see for itself, or at any rate it should be verified by the same means; and the result of this would be that the child’s ideas, if few, would be well-grounded and accurate.”

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“For the practical man the most needful thing is to acquire an accurate and profound knowledge of the ways of the world.”

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“[…] the woman lives more in the present than the man, and that, if the present is at all tolerable, she enjoys it more eagerly.”

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“And since women exist in the main solely for the propagation of the species, and are not destined for anything else, they live, as a rule, more for the species than for the individual, and in their hearts take the affairs of the species more seriously than those of the individual.”

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“A man tries to acquire direct mastery over things, either by understanding them, or by forcing them to do his will. But a woman is always and everywhere reduced to obtaining this mastery indirectly, namely, through a man; and whatever direct mastery she may have is entirely confined to him.”

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“In Europe the lady, strictly so-called, is a being who should not exist at all; she should be either a housewife or a girl who hopes to become one; and she should be brought up, not to be arrogant, but to be thrifty and submissive. It is just because there are such people as ladies in Europe that the women of the lower classes, that is to say, the great majority of the sex, are much more unhappy than they are in the East.”

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“In our part of the world where monogamy is the rule, to marry means to halve one’s rights and double one’s duties.”

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“In London alone there are 80,000 prostitutes. What are they but the women, who, under the institution of monogamy have come off worse? Theirs is a dreadful fate: they are human sacrifices offered up on the altar of monogamy.”

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“Polygamy is therefore a real benefit to the female sex if it is taken as a whole. And, from another point of view, there is no true reason why a man whose wife suffers from chronic illness, or remains barren, or has gradually become too old for him, should not take a second.”

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“And so, since every man needs many women, there is nothing fairer than to allow him, nay, to make it incumbent upon him, to provide for many women.”

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“In my opinion, the best arrangement would be that by which women, whether widows or daughters, should never receive anything beyond the interest for life on property secured by mortgage, and in no case the property itself, or the capital, except where all male descendants fail.”

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“The people who make money are men, not women; and it follows from this that women are neither justified in having unconditional possession of it, nor fit persons to be entrusted with its administration.”

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“That woman is by nature meant to obey may be seen by the fact that every woman who is placed in the unnatural position of complete independence, immediately attaches herself to some man, by whom she allows herself to be guided and ruled. It is because she needs a lord and master. If she is young, it will be a lover; if she is old, a priest.”

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“If you cut up a large diamond into little bits, it will entirely lose the value it had as a whole; and an army divided up into small bodies of soldiers, loses all its strength.”

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“The most sensible and intelligent of all nations in Europe lays down the rule, Never Interrupt! as the eleventh commandment.”

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“Your estimation of a man’s size will be affected by the distance at which you stand from him, but in two entirely opposite ways according as it is his physical or his mental stature that you are considering. The one will seem smaller, the farther off you move; the other, greater.”

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4 comments

  1. Sunt curios de ce ai lasat citatul incomplet,

    Suicide may also be looked upon as an experiment, as a question which man puts to Nature and compels her to answer. It asks, what change a man’s existence and knowledge of things experience through death? It is an awkward experiment to make; for it destroys the very consciousness that awaits the answer.

    In Observatii Psihologice am gasit Every parting gives a foretaste of death; every coming together again a foretaste of the resurrection. This is why even people who were indifferent to each other, rejoice so much if they come together again after twenty or thirty years’ separation. ca idee interesanta.

    Poate te intereseaza operele complete: http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/s/schopenhauer/arthur/index.html

    Like

    1. V, daca as fi sa citez toate gandurile care-mi plan la Schopenhauer, ar trebui sa incerc sa ma limitez la pagini intregi. Dar, ai dreptate, am taiat din citat un gand interesant.

      Si, desigur, multumesc pentru link-ul cu operele complete. Eu continuu sa-l citesc pe Schopenhauer…

      Like

  2. guillermo · · Reply

    De acord cu Shopenhauer, dar nu cel din textul tradus şi prezentat aici, mai ales că marele filosof german era şi admiratul unui mare admirator al Femeii, poetul Mihai Eminescu!

    Like

  3. Anthony Anderson · · Reply

    Rareori, ca profesoară, mi-am făcut timp să mă gândesc cât îi ia unui elev să-și facă temele la obiectul meu, la celelalte, și mai rar. Parcă aș zice că n-am depășit măsura. Asta o spun acum , după ce văd ce fac alții.

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