Two years ago, while reading a philosophy textbook, Ive learned that for German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz, our world is the best of all possible worlds. But I didnt study Schopenhauer immediately after I read about him. And yet, as my life slowly got screwed up, as I started to make mistakes that I normally dont, as I got disillusioned with everything I believed onparticularly with myselfI sometimes said privately that perhaps this Schopenhauer guy is correct, that we live in the worst of all possible worlds. My first formal meeting with him was through Will Durants The Story of Philosophy, and the first thing Ive read from Schopenhauer was his infamous essay On Women. I was used to reading complicated and boring philosophers, but when Ive read passages from Schopenhauer, I realized philosophy could also be interesting and relaxing, like literature, while keeping its profundity. Although I didnt like the novels ending, I nevertheless got its pointthat Schopenhauer was a cure for those who are disillusioned, destroyed, and nearly-defeated. * After reading The Schopenhauer Cure, I read articles and books about Schopenhauer to know more about him. But I only started to read his chief work The World as Will and Representation six months later. Perhaps it was because I was very busy last school year, and I was rather occupied this summer, so I only had the time to read his chief work during the start of the new school year last June. I just pressured myself to read the book because by that time I only had less than a year to write my thesis. I needed to read The World as Will and Representation already, even if I would read it slowly and a few pages at a time. Reading articles about him helps, reading his essays eases the pain, but I know that their curative effects are nothing compared to the cure itself that I could acquire only from reading The World as Will and Representation. If you really want to know Schopenhauer, you got to read the four books of The World as Will and Representationtheres no shortcut, no easier way, no other way. And so, when the semester has started, whenever Im free, I read ten and sometimes twenty pages at a time from the book. But there are days when I failed to read from the book, particularly when Im busy with school and occupied reading other books or doing other things, so I didnt finish the 400-paged book in a short period of time. But last 13 November 2013, while I was on our universitys library, alone, waiting for a meeting, I read from Schopenhauer that for those in whom the will has turned and negated itself, this world of ours which is so very real with all its suns and galaxies isnothing. Of course there was still the appendix which contained Schopenhauers critique to Kantian philosophy, and his supplements for the four books of The World as Will and Representation, but for my current purposes what I read was already enough. But right now, I had already read what I needed, I had already acquired a decent understanding of Schopenhauers philosophy, and more than those, I had already consumed the curative Schopenhauerian pessimism. From the first book, Ive learned that the world is divided between will (Wille), the thing in itself, and representation (Vorstellung), the appearance of the thing in itself. Because when we deny the will, we would lose our egos, our individuation from the world, and we would now see everyone as our fellow-sufferer and everything in the world as fellow-manifestations of the same will. * I couldnt express how Schopenhauers philosophy is a cure. Nevertheless, to truly feel Schopenhauers curative philosophy, you must read his chief work. You must read The World as Will and Representation, the four books of it, and you must not read Schopenhauers chief work critically, academically, and philosophicallybecause you will not get Schopenhauers point through that. To appreciate the curative effects of Schopenhauers philosophy, you must read him innocently, romantically, and aesthetically. You must let Schopenhauers prose carry you away from the web of my (illusion) and into the bliss of nirva (enlightenment)thats the only way for you to appreciate Schopenhauers philosophy. All that evil and suffering and boredom exists only in my world, in my perspective.
It is fair to suggest that Schopenhauer recorded the first and still unsurpassed critigue of human nature.
Suffering has a central place in his philosophy, and his ethics (Deny the will-to-live) deal directly with this aspect of living. Most importantly, on a personal note, this book is changing the direction i want to take my philosophy studies.
Critique of Pure Kantianism Dont mistake Schopenhauers alternation between acclaim: the most important phenomenon which has appeared in philosophy for two thousand years, and criticism: the apparent depth of thought and difficulty of the discussion merely serve to conceal from the reader the fact that its content remains an entirely undemonstrable and merely arbitrary assumption, of the Kantian philosophy as anything but the consequence of said devotion to the truth. In my all-too-limited estimation, it is always an impoverishment of the spirit of philosophy when its participants pervert its purpose into a sport of originality; as if, as long as a certain threshold of truth-seeming is met, history should set its worshipping eye on s/he whom has accomplished it most contrastingly against the theretofore prevailing dogma. Indeed, even before acquiring the sense to follow suit ourselves, many of us have benefited for such minds as Campbell, Jung, Borges, Wittgenstein, Nietzsche, Mann, Einstein having found their way to Schopenhauer. So Ill just leave you with a few samples, and to what they may provoke you: no truth is more certain, more independent of all others, and less in need of proof than this, namely that everything that exists for knowledge, and hence the whole of this world, is only object in relation to the subject, perception of the perceiver, in a word, representation. This world is the succession of the representations of this consciousness, the form of its knowing, and apart from this loses all meaning, and is nothing at all. This will constitutes what is most immediate in his (mans) consciousness, but as such it has not wholly entered into the form of representation, in which object and subject stand over against each other; on the contrary, it makes itself known in a immediate way in which subject and object are not quite clearly distinguished, Therefore, in a certain sense, it can also be said that the will is knowledge a priori of the body, and that the body is knowledge a posterior of the will. But against such a ghost of our own nothingness, against such a lying impossibility, there arises the immediate consciousness that all these worlds exist only in our representation, only as modifications of the eternal subject of pure knowing. Now since the real, knowable world will never fail to afford material and reality to our ethical observations any more than it will to our previous observations, nothing will be less necessary than for us to take refuge in negative concepts devoid of content, and then somehow to make even ourselves believe that we were saying something when we spoke with raised eyebrows about the absolute, the infinite, the supersensuous and whatever other mere negations of the sort there may be.