Schopenhauer and Judeo-Christian Life-Denial, Part 1
Vitam impendere vero (“Dedicate one’s life to truth.”)
—Juvenal, Satire IV, 91
Every movement needs its icons, the alt-right no less than any other social-political ideology. Any icon—a term deriving from the Greek eikôn, meaning a likeness or image—serves to embody key elements or aspects of a particular outlook, or to encapsulate certain key values. Within Christianity, the image of a crucified Jesus serves this purpose, as does an empty cross, which signifies his alleged resurrection. Within the alt-right, we have our own secular heroes, often drawn from among the great philosophers and intellectual figures of Western history, among whom I would include Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle; French thinkers like Rousseau, Diderot, and Voltaire; and leading German intellectuals like Kant, Goethe, and Nietzsche. All have contributed seminal and indispensable ideas to the Western project.
But special standing is reserved for Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860), a man of exceptional insight and courage. At once a brilliant metaphysician and a visionary social critic, Schopenhauer combined both aspects of his persona in his two main works, The World as Will and Representation (1818) and Parerga and Paralipomena (1851). It is worthwhile examining his views on life and death, Christianity, and the Jews. There are valuable lessons here for us all.
Metaphysics of the Will
Let’s start with the big metaphysical picture. In its broad outline, Schopenhauer’s worldview consists of a universe of struggle, strife, and conflict—of tension and opposition which is only ever temporarily relieved, except to resume once more later on, in new and more potent forms. We see this clearly, he said, in the human realm, in the guise of war, oppression, and criminality. We see it in the mundane struggles of daily life, for money, friends, influence, power. We see it in countless minor actions and decisions that we all make, every day, aiming at something new, something better, something more. Every human action, even the most trivial, is a manifestation of a want, a desire, an urging, a striving—in short, of the will. As such, all social conflict reduces, ultimately, to a battle of wills.
But this situation is not limited to humans. We see a comparable picture in the animal kingdom, in the struggle for existence, for mates, for food, and for survival. We see it in plants, in their battle for sunlight and water, and for nutrients in the soil. And we see it even in inanimate nature, via such forces as gravitation, magnetism, and electrostatics. All the world, said Schopenhauer, is comprised, in its essence, of struggle, strife, frustration, and opposition; all the world is a manifestation of the will. The metaphysics here are fascinating and strikingly original, but I won’t elaborate for now. Here, we are most concerned with the social realm and the far-reaching implications of seeing “the world as will.”
For we humans, as mentioned, our daily life is a constant expression of our will. We want: want food, want drink, want material goods, want sex, want prestige, want power. Different people express their wills differently, but the essential nature of all people is the same: a constant striving or desiring for something. This has two important consequences. First, since we all are constantly striving—often for the same limited things—we are thereby engaged in an endless competition with others. As in any competition, there are (a few) winners and (many) losers. The losers become frustrated, disappointed, depressed, perhaps angry, perhaps aggressive. They either vow to try harder next time, or they give up altogether. Even the winners—and we all do win, from time to time—are not really satisfied. After a short-lived sense of relief or satisfaction, we immediately settle into a new sense of desiring and wanting. The sweetness of victory is fleeting. Soon we are either fending off jealous rivals, or we are constructing new, higher desires that we hope to fulfill. At best, we are simply bored.
Hence the second consequence: the basic reality of human life is a condition of unsatisfied want, endless craving, relentless competition, and unfulfilled desire—in other words, of suffering. Our lot in life is a constant striving for things that we can never really possess, least of all ‘happiness,’ and therefore the tangible reality of life is pain, suffering, and want. ‘Happiness’ or ‘satisfaction’ are merely temporary releases from such pain; therefore, happiness and pleasure are negative in their nature, and pain and suffering are the positive realities of the world.
Thus we arrive at Schopenhauer’s infamous pessimism. Life is a task, a chore, indeed, a punishment. We are all condemned to lives of greater or lesser suffering, sometimes physical, sometimes psychological, sometimes intense, sometimes mild—but ever-present and always looming greater in the future. The end of this life of suffering comes only with the ‘great suffering’ of physical death, which we all dread, and which therefore weighs upon our heads as yet more suffering. It would have been better, he concludes, if we had never been born.
What to do? Such a depressing picture almost inclines one to suicide. And yet Schopenhauer masterfully turns the picture around for us, finding a way through the morass of existence. First, he says, we are strangely fortunate that the world is as it is. Were it otherwise—if we somehow attained fulfillment and satisfaction on a regular basis, life would become truly pointless. We would either be driven insane by boredom, or would create artificial conflicts and struggles, wars and mass atrocities, simply to have a reason for being. Failing these, we might simply end our own lives—ironic, that the suicidal person is the one who has all his desires satisfied, not the one, like us, condemned to a life of struggle and pain. Suffering, said Schopenhauer, was like the ballast of a ship; it keeps us on the straight-and-narrow, keeps us focused, and drives us forward. Paradoxically, we ought to be grateful for our condition; if nothing else, it leads us to the ultimate metaphysical truths about the world.
Be that as it may, we still need to live our lives, preferably with a minimum of suffering. Hence we are faced with a profound dilemma: Life is desire, and desire leads to the very suffering that we seek to avoid. On the one hand, then, we ought logically to minimize or reduce (“deny”) our desires. But this is tantamount to denying life. This may be a theoretical possibility for a saint or a god, but it is an unworkable plan for the real world. At its worst, a ‘life of life-denial’ is an incoherent and self-annihilating concept, one appropriate only for a pathological individual.
Therefore, to live, we must accept the struggle and pain of life, keep our expectations low, press ahead, and hope for the best. This is the only practical conclusion. Yes, we ought to minimize our desires where possible: avoid a fixation on money, material things, status—all those things that Jews, for example, obsess about, and thus foist upon the public mind as the ultimate goals in life. We should not be too concerned about a nebulous and facile goal like ‘happiness,’ which in any case is virtually impossible in a world of perpetual strife. We ought not expect that things will necessarily turn out well, and therefore not be disappointed when they don’t. Life goes on, the struggle goes on—such it is.
It’s a striking moral picture that Schopenhauer paints for us, one that is hard to refute. I think we all can relate to such thinking in our everyday experience. Much of this rings true, and yet we rarely follow the logic out to the full implications.
If it all sounds vaguely Buddhist, that’s because it is. One of Schopenhauer’s great surprises, and greatest satisfactions, was his discovery of Buddhist philosophy in the 1830s, well after he had written volume one of his monumental work, World as Will and Representation. There are many obvious affinities, and Schopenhauer viewed himself as independently coming to the same eternal truths as the Buddha but from an entirely different route, and with a much firmer philosophical foundation. Their prescriptions were essentially the same: end suffering via an elimination of desire and attachment, which is the source of that suffering. But Buddhism was entangled in a mythological schema involving samsara or a cycle of endless reincarnation and rebirth, and of nirvana, conceived as an end to that cycle. Schopenhauer had no patience for such mythology but he respected the metaphysical insight, and placed it, in his mind, on a superior rational footing.
‘One True Christian’
But it wasn’t only Buddhism that Schopenhauer found affinity with; it was also there, to a surprising degree, in Christianity. In fact, his alignment with ‘original’ or ‘true’ Christianity was so strong that Schopenhauer considered himself the ‘one true Christian,’ and the only such person in all of modern history: “my teaching could be called Christian philosophy proper, paradoxical as this may seem to those who do not go to the root of the matter, but stick merely to the surface.” This astonishing conclusion demands some examination.
Consider, he says, the basic creation myths of the major religions. In Hinduism, the god Brahma is said to have created the world “through a kind of original sin”—a mistake or error, one in which Brahma himself must atone for. (Schopenhauer adds with emphasis: “This is quite a good idea!”) Buddhism, for its part, sees the world as coming into being “in consequence of an inexplicable disturbance in the crystal clearness of the blessed…state of Nirvana.” (“An excellent idea!”) The ancient Greeks saw the formation of the cosmos as an act of “unfathomable necessity,” that which simply had to be. This too was reasonable. All such views saw the act of cosmic creation as a negation, as a failing—an error, a mistake, or an unfortunate necessity.
But the Judaic view was altogether different. There, the Jewish god Jehovah creates this world “of misery and woe,” stands back on the seventh day, and declares it “all good”—what is this? Utter nonsense, declares Schopenhauer, and in fact “something intolerable.” Recall the key passage from Genesis 1:31: “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” Schopenhauer repeatedly mocks this idea, drawing from and paraphrasing the Greek Septuagint version by use of the phrase πάντα καλὰ λίαν (pánta kalá lían), “all was very good.” This was pure nonsense, utterly disproven by common sense, philosophical insight, and even a modicum of a realist view of the world. Indeed, says Schopenhauer elsewhere, the world could hardly be any worse than it is. To proclaim the opposite is sheer stupidity.
As a putative religion, however, Judaism is even worse. There is a god in it, of course, but this deity is merely a brutal enforcer of the Law. He praises and cajoles his “chosen” and smites their enemies, nothing more. In this metaphysical system there is no immortal soul, no real afterlife, no heaven, no hell; all such things are utterly lacking in the Old Testament. Schopenhauer concludes,
And so in this respect, we see the religion of the Jews occupy the lowest place among the dogmas of the civilized world, which is wholly in keeping with the fact that it is also the only religion that has absolutely no doctrine of immortality, nor has it even any trace thereof.
Not that Schopenhauer endorsed the concept of an immortal soul; far from it. But he realized that any honest religion must include some such doctrine. Judaism, as we will see, evidently served a different purpose.
Nor did he accept anything like a moral, omnipotent, all-good god. “Such a view…is too flagrantly contradicted by the misery and wretchedness that fill the world, on the one hand, and by the obvious imperfection and even burlesque distortion of the most ‘perfect’ phenomenon…of man.” The evil inherent in worldly existence, and the many failings of humanity, decisively disprove the existence of any such god. In fact, the great suffering of the world is proof of the opposite, namely, that it came into being in “sin,” as the other religions have it. There remains a trace of this original sin, of course, in the Bible, in the myth of the Fall, of Adam and Eve—which stands as the only philosophically valid insight in Judaism: “it is only the story of the Fall of Man that reconciles me to the Old Testament. In fact, in my eyes, it is the only metaphysical truth that appears in the book.”
Schopenhauer next turns to a central issue: the view of earthly life in the various religions. For emphasis, he contrasts the ancient Greek view with that of Christianity. Consider first the distinction between Greek and Christian views of death, as seen in images engraved on ancient sarcophagi. For the Greeks, the dead man’s life is depicted in happy, optimistic terms: his birth, family, marriage, occupation, and so on. It is, says Schopenhauer, an essentially positive, life-affirming outlook; life is good, life is to be lived to its fullest, and people can indeed attain happiness. Then look at the Christian coffin: draped in black, and topped by the cross, the symbol of ultimate suffering and death. This, he said, is an essentially life-denying outlook. But it is fitting: for the Christian, this temporal life of sin and suffering is superseded by eternal life in heaven. What is life for a Christian, after all, but a test, a burden, indeed, a “cross to bear”?
From the perspective of a modern-day secular philosopher, one looks at this distinction and says: “Of course, the Greeks were right; you have one life, it can be good, so live it to the fullest. Those foolish Christians, with their mindless belief in an afterlife, disavow the value of earthly existence. They are always looking ahead, to heaven, never to the here and now.” But Schopenhauer again turns the tables on us:
Between the spirit of Graeco-Roman paganism and that of Christianity is the proper contrast of the affirmation and denial of the will-to-live, according to which, in the last resort, Christianity is fundamentally right.
(I note here parenthetically that he frequently clarified his concept of the will as, more specifically, the will-to-live [der Wille zum Leben].) Christianity is “right” in the sense that the world is suffering, it is ‘sin’—not for Christian reasons, of course, but because that is the nature of a world of pure willing. Even more, the Christian ‘solution’ is nearly the same as Schopenhauer’s: deny the will, be life-denying. Will is will-to-live, and thus to deny the will is to deny life. Deny your material desires, deny bodily pleasures. Become an ascetic. “Take up your cross and follow me.” This is the path of redemption.
Hence Schopenhauer sees his philosophical worldview as aligned with the Christian New Testament and its ‘pessimism’ about the world, whereas other philosophers are inherently more consistent with the ‘optimistic’ view of Judaism and the Old Testament:
My ethics is related to all the ethical systems of European philosophy as the New Testament to the Old, according to the ecclesiastical conception of this relation. Thus the Old Testament puts man under the authority of the Law [of Moses] which, however, does not lead to salvation. The New Testament, on the other hand, declares the Law to be inadequate, in fact repudiates it. On the contrary, it preaches the kingdom of grace which is attained by faith, love of one’s neighbor, and complete denial of oneself; this is the path to salvation from evil and the world. For in spite of all protestant-rationalistic distortions and misrepresentations, the ascetic spirit is assuredly and quite properly the soul of the New Testament. But this is just the denial of the will-to-live…
He then places his own outlook in historical context:
Now all the philosophical systems of ethics prior to mine have kept to the spirit of the Old Testament, with their absolute moral law and all their moral commandments and prohibitions, to which the commanding Jehovah is secretly added in thought. … My ethics, on the other hand, … frankly and sincerely admits the abominable nature of the world, and points to the denial of the will as the path to redemption therefrom. It is, accordingly, actually in the spirit of the New Testament, whereas all the others are in that of the Old, and thus theoretically amount to mere Judaism (plain despotic theism). In this sense, my teaching could be called Christian philosophy proper, paradoxical as this may seem to those who do not go to the root of the matter, but stick merely to the surface.
Thus he arrives back at the quotation I cited above. Judaism, with its pánta kalá lían, an all-good God, and a promise of material prosperity, is a pathetic form of optimism, utterly at odds with the real world. (Of course, for the Jews themselves over the past century at least, and excepting a few years during World War II, the world has been exceptionally good; it’s good to be king. I will return to this shortly.) Christianity, with its sufferings of the world, its sin and misery and death, and its “you will be hated by all,” is realistic pessimism—albeit, as with Schopenhauer, with an escape route, namely, denial of the will and the consequent asceticism. The analogy is imperfect but sufficient to allow for an instructive comparison. It permitted Schopenhauer to draw out some fascinating implications but it also blinded him to a likely deeper truth about Christianity.
 Opening quotation in Schopenhauer’s Parerga and Paralipomena (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1851/1974; E. F. J. Payne, trans.). Original from Juvenal, circa 110 AD.
 World as Will and Representation (New York: Dover, 1969; E. F. J. Payne, trans.) The German title is also rendered in English as The World as Will and Idea, owing to the ambiguity of the word Vorstellung.
 A ‘parergon’ is a supplement or addition, and a ‘paralipomenon’ is something omitted or overlooked. Hence this book comprises a number of essays and aphorisms on a variety of topics that are supplemental to Schopenhauer’s main work. As an aside, I note that some of Schopenhauer’s other “books,” such as Essays and Aphorisms and On the Suffering of the World, are just extracts from Parerga and Paralipomena.
 Nietzsche recognized and acknowledged this very point: “For an ascetic, life is a self-contradiction. … [For such a man,] life somehow turns against itself, denies itself” (Genealogy of Morals III, sec. 11). And again: “Morality, as it has so far been understood—as it has in the end been formulated once more by Schopenhauer, as ‘negation of the will to live’—is the very instinct of decadence, which makes an imperative of itself. It says: ‘Perish!’” (Twilight of the Idols V, sec. 5).
 Putting an end to personal desires and attachment to material things was in fact the third of the Buddha’s “four noble truths”.
 Parerga and Paralipomena (hereafter, P&P), vol. 2, p. 315.
 P&P, vol. 2, p. 300.
 The full phrase in Genesis is: kaí eíden o theós tá pánta ósa epoíisen kaí idoú kalá lían kaí egéneto espéra kaí egéneto proí iméra ékti.
 “Now this world is arranged as it had to be, if it were to be capable of continuing with great difficulty to exist; if it were a little worse, it would no longer be capable of continuing to exist. Consequently, since a worse world could not continue to exist, it is absolutely impossible; and so this world itself is the worst of all possible worlds. … Consequently, the world is as bad as it can possibly be, if it is to exist at all.” (WWR, vol. 2, pp. 583-584).
 P&P, vol. 2, p. 301.
 P&P, vol. 2, p. 314.
 Mark 8:34; Matthew 16:24.
 P&P, vol. 2, p. 314.
 Matthew 10:22, Luke 6:22, John 15:19.
“As a putative religion, however, Judaism is even worse. There is a god in it, of course, but this deity is merely a brutal enforcer of the Law. He praises and cajoles his “chosen” and smites their enemies, nothing more. In this metaphysical system there is no immortal soul, no real afterlife, no heaven, no hell; all such things are utterly lacking in the Old Testament. Schopenhauer concludes”
Sometimes he advocates the killing of his Chosen, when they engage in earthly supernatural thinking and acting, as in the story of the Golden Calf. A supernatural being penalizing them for believing in the supernatural powers of money and materialism? That’s the point where Judaism was founded. So a Jew would believe in the supernatural, but not in the supernatural power of money. There are very few Jews alive today, but a lot of bull-worshiping Hebrews. There are very few Christians alive today, but a lot of bull-worshiping fake-“Christians,” etc.
If life is all about the cold realism of material existence, then Marxism should inherit the earth, and it will be a bleak, law of the concrete jungle existence governed by a superficial claque of frauds and parasites.
Ten Commandments Judaism and later Christianity was too sublime for the Hebrews, and so the covenant went to the Christians and the West. But then the fake Christians and Hebrews took over, and now they’re trying to finish Christianity off for good.
The Golden Bull gang could almost taste victory. It must have seemed so close… but soon they’ll have nothing. Less than nothing.
Amazon banned my book on April 19, 2020; it had been available via Amazon since March 21, 2008:
Kyle, feel for you. It pains me to see so much censorship in the USA. Organizations that ban decent thoughts simply becuz such is not as they desire, are pristine evil. What’s worst is the absolute fact that they get away with it. My heart truly comprehends your righty suffering over that. Once, while leaving the USSR all my film was destroyed …
Thank you for your comment. I’m sorry to hear about your film. All totalitarian systems of thought perceive any potential exposure to truth as a menace and an enemy.
I am very disappointed that Amazon banned my book. It shouldn’t matter, but for the sake of the argument, my book did not cross any conventional, normie red lines. It pushed some of them, but it did cross any of them. I made certain of that. Indeed, my book received a positive review from Midwest Book Review:
“The seed of the universe is the big bang, says Kyle McDermott in “The Declaration of White Independence: The Founding Documents of Transudationism”. An explanation of this view which holds that all of current humanity and life on Earth today was intentionally set in motion all those billions of years ago, “The Declaration of White Independence” probes matters of cosmological significance with straightforward candor and accessibility. Featuring intriguing concepts and ideas, “The Declaration of White Independence” is highly recommended for metaphysical studies shelves.”
My blog is here:
I invested a lot of energy, time and thought into book, which Amazon banned. However, I know that I am not unique. Many other White patriots have been banned / censored. And I have no regrets. But I had hoped, among other things, that our People would have been more spiritually prepared for what ZOG is now doing to us. I think we all had a vague awareness that some kind of “corona virus” post-reality world was coming. Things couldn’t have gone as they were. And I don’t think it’s unreasonable to now believe that our People’s existence is in mortal danger.
I always thought censorship was the mark of a loser: your opponents can’t beat you, so they silence you. But today, snitches and censors are celebrated as heroes:
People of course can agree or disagree with what I or anyone else has to say. I’m certainly not important. But my right to speak and be heard is important. And Amazon has shamelessly, efficiently and successfully banned my book. But who is Amazon to ban my book from the post-modern public square? My book went on sale via Amazon on March 21, 2008, and remained that way until Amazon banned it on April 19, 2020. Why did Amazon suddenly ban it? I don’t know. Amazon did not provide me with the courtesy of an explanation.
But I do know this. Two weeks before my book was banned by Amazon, my book was mentioned, by name, in a hit piece co-published by the Atlantic and ProPublica:
“White Supremacy’s Gateway to the American Mind: Amazon’s self-publishing arm gives extremists and neo-Nazis banned from other platforms unprecedented access to a mass audience”:
Two weeks after the above-linked article is published – after over 12 consecutive years of my book being for sale via Amazon – I get a “f*ck you” email from Amazon informing me that my book, effective immediately, now violates its “Content Guidelines”. So, I can no longer sell my self-published book on Amazon.
I know Amazon will never reverse itself and un-ban my book. But at any rate, as a matter of principle, for anyone interested, the banned Declaration is available in its entirety at the following link:
Please disseminate as desired. IMHO, the global Zionist-plutocracy is in the midst of making its first naked, open and ruthless world-historical power grab since its military victory in World War II: Brown v. Board of Education and 9/11 were mere steppingstones to the forces that the global Zionist-plutocracy is now preparing to unleash upon us. The internment camps and re-education facilities – along with concomitant land and wealth redistribution – are right around the corner. North American Whites are going to get the South African treatment. Stacey Abrams, Julius Malema and their ilk will see to that. And the Anti-Defamation League, the New York Times, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, bought politicians, inter alia, have got their backs. The Zionists’ next trick will be to fund, manufacture, unveil, and publicize the “sudden, spontaneous emergence” of a North American version of the “African National Congress”. Today, Joe Biden says he’s just a “placeholder”. But you know how the story ends.
All this is of course only my opinion. But I let my banned Declaration speak for itself. It comes from a much higher power.
PS: Occidental Observer, if you see fit to post this, thank you.
An interesting & informative read, t/y.
I’m willfully ignorant of most things religious – not to mention philosophical – but this TOO contribution so well written – words smithery on parade – pulled me all the way though; and thank you for it.
I’d heard of Schopenhauer but never any of his views.
I think that Schopenhauer’s world view is quite sensible.
Also that Judaism posits no “hereafter.”
The idea of an afterlife is, understandably, discounted by deep thinkers, yet it does, I believe, help build better men.
Shia Islam tends to illuminate that idea. Hezbollah. the late Qassem Sulemani, these are truly MEN.
Whether the afterlife IS or not it inspires men to be MEN.
Sulemani taught that death is not the end of life but rather the beginning.
There were three types of Christians in the very early days. The marriage and family Christians took the path of moderation. The ascetics took one life denying extreme (like the gnostic Essenes/Qumran sects before them had) and Simon Magus started the hedonistic type of Gnostics. The ancient Egyptians and the Mandaeans had a “Hail, Lord of Life” viewpoint. Jews, pretty much the same and that would trace back to ancient bull gods of fertility, I believe. Sampson/Shamash, the sun god betrayed by a woman and eyeless in Gaza, working as a slave, suddenly comes to mind. Need to read that chapter in Hamlet’s Mill, again. One more thing – the homeless, the ill and the poor soul in rehab often cling to Jesus as their only friend. He keeps them going through life. I have seen it.
We are all unique sparks of life.
We set our own goals.
You wanna be the best chef in the world go for it… Tallent and hsrd work. Or you wanna run a great local restaurant also FUN and fullfilling.
Is there competition between individuals some cultures races ethnical groups shure
Is there a darwian struggle to get the best mate to have children n a family with. But alot of my friends dont even ho go for the hottedt women dont want em too hot, cant handle it? Out of their league? And many og them are successfull.
The better you are something the more resistance you get
If youre a genious be packed stand your ground guns and violence. If youre 100 % white ( including white jewish ) alot if racually mixed white lookin folks will come for you so will tge other races, ethnical groups…
They will steal murder corrupt and use the other races against you, using corruptio within secret services and so on….
So its a jungle out there fellow whitey don’t be naive….
And if you are ethnocentric woke on race or whatever alot of people will be against you cause they want the western lifestyle moneys education … And if the ethnically mixed or other race they fear awake euite folks peoples…
Howdy yee ha…
What should I get for a revolver: colt, freedom arms or ruger? Any input appreciated.
Also in this day and age with the racial struggle we need to be our best.
Paint a great painting or the best in the world sofar.
Write a great book or the best ever.
Take risk support fellow whites carpe diem grab oppurtunities.
Wanna be in finance you could help build white companies and innovation and make moneys… Venture capital!
You could be the best builder of housing low cost n luxuru for whites houses housing…
You can make great crafted things.
If you aint got money save save save. Collective solutions. You wanna make films share the cost for a camera with others who also wanna…
Anarchistic solutions ( i.e. not in leftie commie way but just folks with simular ideas getting together to start things to save money and learn…).
So collective anarchy kapitalism. Live cheap build your own house cheap car public transport. Cheap education can sometimes be better search and find.
Collectivly owned businesses and individually owned shareholders companies solid legal ground…
Go bonkers go mental crush all competition…
Schopenhauer is my favorite philosopher. His metaphysics remain the best explanation of the world I’ve read. I read “Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung”
when I was in my early twenties and it has been my anchor ever since.
There is a distinct gulf between Schopenhauer and conventional “Rightist” philosophy; the latter glorifies the Will, embraces struggle as a raison d’etre, and, more in the spirit of Nietzsche, elevates the conquering spirit as an ideal (though N’s idea of overcoming isn’t quite what the average materialist may have in mind).
So, I fully expect to see more ambivalence about Schopenhauer expressed in the instalment to follow.
By the way, Schopenhauer did see a way out of the frustration of living in a world of desire and struggle, at least in the form of a temporary respite. He believed that the contemplation of art (perhaps especially music) gave us surcease from the torments of the will, while we are in the process of partaking of them.
“But Buddhism was entangled in a mythological schema involving samsara or a cycle of endless reincarnation and rebirth, and of nirvana, conceived as an end to that cycle.”
This is a rather convoluted way of writing. How can a ‘cycle’ be endless if there is in fact an ‘end’ to it?
To talk about Buddhist doctrine is fraught with difficulty, since its goal is to ‘go beyond’ the limits or confines of discursive thought itself. Strictly speaking, the ‘idea’ or ‘conception’ of nirvana is no idea at all. In fine, it is the absence of discursive thoughts/images. In the practice (and it is a practice, not a theoretical exposition), one overcomes (or becomes ‘detached’ from) all ideas or thoughts, which are necessarily conditioned, the goal being to experience the unconditioned.
Compare the Vajrachedika Prajnaparamita (Diamond) Sutra. The text clearly states that all beings will be brought to the end of samsaric existence via the doctrine. So samsaric existence cannot be said to be ‘endless’.
Myth? The doctrine is not ‘mythological’ but consists rather of practical work on oneself. The various demons and gods one encounters in some of Buddhism’s formal expressions (including temples) are viewed as psychological states of the individual practitioners. This is well discussed, for instance, in English translations and commentaries on the more ‘abstract’ teachings, such as Bardo Thodol, where the so-called peaceful and wrathful deities encountered are said to be of the dying person’s inner self.
Anent Schopenhauer and his philosophy, Gotama was a happy sort, joked around, and laughed. Not pessimistic at all. For interested ‘alt-right’ types, a decent exploration of this all can be found in Julius Evola’s ‘Doctrine of Awakening’.
The Jews are not defined by a religion. The Jews are a obligate parasite, a virus. Mankind’s civilization their host. Judaism, the religion, is only an obfuscation of the Jews as an organism of plunder and destruction.
Jesus came with an explicit message, love God with all your heart, and an implicit message: The Jews are mankind’s chief problem, not Rome or the like.
The Jews are a virus, not a religion, and the source of the disease that is the condition of the world today.
Fascinating article, you have given me a perspective that has helped me negotiate some thorny spiritual issues.
Looking forward to the second part….
A very good article. I just saw that 2 part was posted and I’m excited to read it. This is a great website!
Buddhists have got their work cut out for them.
This idea that the Christian life is supposed to be one of self-sacrifice, a denial of the will and such is not biblical. The secret to happiness is “contentment” found in these simple words:
Hebrews 13:15 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
1 Timothy 6:6-8 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
Philippians 4:11-13 11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:10
Further to this is the idea that life is about struggle, strife, and conflict is missing an important ingredient in that one cannot have anything without giving something away! It’s takes 2 to make a child, it takes 2 of everything to make again something. Even plants have to receive something from somewhere to create more! God is a giving God and He created everything to be the same. Planet Earth is a life giving mechanism. Mankind however turned this entire affair backwards. Rape is the word isn’t it?
As for the will I think this Schopenhauer got it wrong because everything begins and ends in the heart and its passions meaning ultimately what is it that you are in love with!!!!!!
God is love and love was in the air at creation. The world and everything in it was full of love and the will comes out of that? When the bible talks about self sacrifice and such it is about not fulfilling the passions of the evil desires which is what brings death and suffering.
It is talking about getting back to the way life is supposed to be lived! Is it any wonder then why God said to the prophet and to the Jews:
Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
If you want to know why the life of God and His miraculous power is so little among us today look no further than your own heart for it is what comes out of it that determines so much. God wants your undivided attention and of course deserves it totally and completely. That is why if we saw things from God’s perspective and watched as He does the unbelievable effort that man’s puts into getting a Ph. D for example and yet pay Him a pittance of attention and yet thinks we deserve to be blessed by Him is deceiving oneself. God knows He is man’s greatest reward par excellence and for Christ to sacrifice himself for our salvation and we pay him what a song or 2 on Sunday and a few prayers while the rest of the week its keeping up with the Joneses is ludicrous if not insanity! There was a reason why St. Paul said: that any gain I counted in this life is just trash really compared to knowing Christ and the more the better. It wasn’t his will that was causing such action but the passion of the heart that affected the will.
Everything begins and ends in the heart. And we do not live in a world that fosters love, peace, gentleness, kindness, forgiveness, giving, mercy, loving kindness, no!!! We live in a world that fosters hatreds, bitter envy, maliciousness, greed and every other sorted of sin.
“Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860), a man of exceptional insight and courage.” Sorry I call bullcarp on that one sir!
In my view Nietzsche was closer to the mark than Schopenhauer when Nietzsche remarked that if we humans have a why we can endure any how. To say it less poetically, we are meaning-seeking animals above all else – above the will to pleasure, or power, or wealth. Meaning does involve competition and often suffering, so Schopenhauer was right there. But he seems to have agreed with the Buddha that the absence of suffering should be our goal. We should not seek suffering, for sure, but we should not turn away from noble goals merely because they are likely to entail suffering.
The key question, which Nietzsche asked, is what are noble goals? Not sure I agree with Nietzsche’s answers so strongly as I once did, but I admire him for asking the right question.
It would be one thing to argue that special standing ought to be reserved for Schopenhauer, but it takes no small amount of arrogance to claim that this is already the case, since anyone with even a passing familiarity with alt right/WN/whatever could tell you that the quantity and quality of references to Nietzsche dwarf references to Schopenhauer. Moreover, it’s something of a rookie error to build a case for the one right religion or the one right philosophy, the embrace of which would catapult WN to political ascendancy.
For my part, I don’t see that Schopenhauer has any great value to add to the movement. I find his observations generally banal and often absurd, and trashing the bible is old hat. (However impressive the latter may have been when Schopenhauer was writing, today a cheeky teen with an internet account can quickly reduce a prelate to a defensive, blithering idiot.)
At best? I wonder if this is something Dalton actually believes, or just something he hastily penned. Because taken at face value, it would mean that someone who sets for himself a bold new goal is worse off than someone moping about in boredom. Personally, I would much rather embark on an undertaking which might see me grow into something more than I previously was, even if I know the satisfaction I feel from the achievement won’t be permanent, than to endure boredom out of fear of experiencing further “suffering.”
And what is it with the failure to distinguish between degrees (or perhaps “types”) of suffering? Clearly all suffering is not created equal. Is a man waiting to rendezvous with his lover at 9pm when it’s only 6pm “suffering”? As exciting as the anticipation might be, he’d almost surely prefer to be in her company sooner rather than later, so technically, according to Schopenhauer, he is suffering. Surely that strikes most of us as absurd, and given the prize that awaits us, it’s a “suffering” we’d eagerly contract. It just won’t do to use the same language to refer to such negligible “sufferings” as well as the extreme pain that accompanies, say, a serious illness or the death of a loved one.
The logician Raymond Smullyan was a fan of Eduard von Hartmann (1842 – 1906).
According to Smullyan (and I have not fact-checked his interpretation!), von Hartmann took pessimism to its ultimate and (pace Thomas Dalton) logical end when he argued that suicide is the only rational response to life.
Life’s a bitch so humanity should top itself.
He argued that the civilized races would eventually come to realize the truth of his analysis. The problem was that the aboriginal races were too far behind on the evolutionary path to see sense and so should be exterminated by we enlightened ones before we ourselves checked out.
But there was another problem: wouldn’t the evolutionary process mean that Nature would eventually give birth to new rational beings who were destined to suffer just like us?
Solution: destroy *all* life on Planet Earth.
But what of other worlds on other star systems? The final mind-blowing conclusion of von Hartmann was that we should make the best of the situation we find ourselves in until scientists have worked out a way to send the entire Universe back into nothingness.
So our final hope may be CERN’s Large Hadron Collider . . .
I wish philosophers would stop mentioning Christianity in their analyses because;
1. It is impossible to understand Christianity by means of the philosophers’ true Gods, Reason and Science; and
2. Christianity can only be understood through the Heart.
Naturally, many readers of this will scoff and say, “How rediculous. If things cannot be understood through Reason and Science, then they cannot be understood at all.” Christians know better. Once, we had Christendom, and though the times were “primitive”, we were a great people.
Look at the world today. Look at us today. What do you see? Not a pretty sight. The world of Science. My advice is to look to the next world, the world promised by Christ, and described by Him in the most beautiful and concise language possible.
That, my friends, is why more people have heard of Jesus Christ, who never wrote anything, than the “great” Arthur Schopenhauer.
Schopenhauer is one of the few philosophers that it is a pleasure to read. What he says about the will is instructive, but I would not elevate Will to a metaphysical principle. For me, philosophy is the attempt to grasp and understand reality to the greatest extent possible (but to accept that our understanding will be limited both by our own participation in reality (our subjectivity) and by the limited capacities of our sense organs).
Much of the work of philosophy has been taken over by science, but science is limited in its scope to empirically falsifiable propositions, and these — again — are limited, in turn, by our subjectivity and by the limited capacity of our sense organs — of which scientific instruments such as microscopes and telescopes are mere extensions.
That leaves a lot of room for speculation, which is always welcome.
Schopenhauer is a wise and witty commentator on people, societies, culture, religion, and so on. What he says about the Jews is important and true: They are best regarded as a nation — an international nation without any land of their own (at the time Schopenhauer was writing) — and a nation that pursues its own national interests in the midst of other nations.
For that reason alone, Schopenhauer said that no Jew should be allowed to govern another nation. You might as well open the gates of your city to a Trojan Horse.
As for Christianity: the god of the Jewish Torah (the first five books of the Christian Old Testament) is without question an evil god — a demon. He orders his chosen people to slaughter innocent people and leave nothing alive. This god cannot be reconciled with the personality of Jesus, who is God in human flesh.
My question to Schopenhauer if he were alive today would be similar to my question to Jesus: Shall we allow ourselves to be overrun by alien races and bred out of existence (and/or exterminated), or would we be right to defend ourselves and our people by whatever means necessary?
First of all jews aint a cohesive ethnical group.
There are jws who are 100% white atleast there used to be.
I dont know any traditional jews or folks fully in tgat cultural community.
Jesus asked ppl in jewish elite for help whem the roman appointed arabs ociupiers was gonna kill him and all …
Attempts at helping him was made. The religios leadership in effect the only jewish leadership didnt wanna listen. They were busy doin revolts. Some didnt want a religion for everyone. Against racemixing the maria is was a whore argument
They wanted the exclusiveness of bein gods chosen people still.
Due to living with arab neighbours n conversions there was racemixing. The bible of course forbids all racemixing between whites and nonewhites. It will cause like bad luck thorns gods punishment and all that (you have to check hebrew texts of bible yall, jews tryin to hide it from others).
When not accepting jesus and not havingva country racially mixed jews got controll over the religion and used it to introduce satanism into it inorder to try to racemix all jws and do pedophilia . Hence the snakesect thing which is prejewish…
Are there still 100% white jews. No idea really…
It is quite funny how jew haters try to separate the first and 2nd testament. I mean jesus was the prophet described in the 1rst testament and he newer was against the first testament. It was an update yall version 2.0 so to speak. God changes his mind on whats best for his creation and the future… The refinement of christianity is shurely the base for white superiority and important in evolution. There is of course s judeo christian tradition and culture. The tribalism brutality factor of judeaism is certainly a problem edpecially for jews…
Are you able to edit your comments before you post them?
If so, I suggest you do just that.
I enjoyed reading this article immensely, including the erudite comments relating to Buddhism and the Oriental worldview that so influenced the thinking of Arthur Schopenhauer. This article, I must say, is a really refreshing change from Covid-19 and its woes.
If time is “unreal” and “the world is a dream”, ideas that Schopenhauer would have been thoroughly attuned to from his deep study of Vedanta and Buddhism, our current obsessions with coronavirus can then be seen as a mere bleeps against the background of eternity.
Having said this, however, it has to be admitted that reading Schopenhauer is not fun. Though it can provide high-octane intellectual stimulation. This is because Schopenhauer is the Ultimate Pessimist. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he had induced thousands of maladjusted young people to commit suicide. One of his essays I have in front of me now is entitled “On the Emptiness of Existence”. And the final essay in the book I have on my desk, as if to help the hapless reader on his way, is entitled: “On Suicide”.
Here the German philosopher argues that suicide is an excellent idea, universally approved of by the Ancients, and suggests that killing oneself might be a good way to solve the population problem!
I eagerly await Part 2.
I had the remarkable good fortune a few weeks ago (just before the Covid-19 lockdown) to stumble across an old book in an antiquarian bookshop. Published in 1915, the pages yellowed with time, the book was more than I could afford. But I bought it all the same. Title: “Essays of Schopenhauer”, anonymously translated from the German.
All these essays, I was to learn, had been originally published in 1851 under the daunting title of Parerga and Paralipomena. These were aphoristic thoughts jotted down in spare moments that were to be alluded to in Schopenhauer’s earlier masterpiece Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung, “The World as Will and Representation” (1819).
“Life is a difficult question,” the grim-faced young German told a friend when he was barely out of his teens, “I have decided to spend my life in thinking about it.” His friend advised him not to do so, hinting that there were healthier and more lucrative ways of spending his time. He ignored his friend’s advice, continuing doggedly on his dark, dismal, cantankerous and misogynistic way. The ultimate curmudgeon.
Goethe had his doubts about young Schopenhauer and confided in a letter of 1813 to a friend: “Young Schopenhauer is a remarkable and interesting man … I find him intellectual, but I am undecided about him as far as other things go.”
It appears that the olympian Goethe wasn’t too impressed by Schopenhauer’s dour demeanour. Schopenhauer emanated Weltschmerz (“world sorrow”). He was a mishmash of Plato and Kant seen through the prism of the Vedas and the pessimism that lies at the heart of Buddhism — All the world is suffering, and the only way to break free from the endless cycle of birth and rebirth is to achieve nirvana.
Reincarnation and karma are the underlying ideas in both Buddhism and Hinduism. Misguided Westerners, unable to believe in the triune God and afterlife in heaven promised by Orthodox Christianity, have flirted with the Oriental religions for the wrong reasons: they like the idea of reincarnation and meeting up with their loved ones, in new bodies and locations, beyond this vale of tears. Which is precisely what Gautama Buddha was dead against. The whole idea of Buddhism is to escape reincarnation, not to seek it out eagerly as a pleasant alternative to annihilation.
The trouble, as I understand it, is that there is still a heated ongoing disagreement among Buddhist scholars as to what “nirvana” actually means. Its definition is by no means certain. If the individual soul is akin to a candle flame which, once extinguished, is no more, then “nirvana” means total annihilation (“extinguishedness”). In short, a return to Nothingness after death. You might as well be an atheist if you adopt this worldview. Which is why Buddhism is often referred to as an “atheistic religion”, particularly suitable for Doubting Thomases and the spiritually deracinated — including Jews who have outgrown Judaism but shy away from militant atheism.
This is one way of looking at things: You came out of Nothing and you melt back into Nothing; and there’s absolutely no question of an omnipotent and omniscient Designer Deity presiding over the whole Shadow Show.
On the other hand, if “nirvana” means losing your personal identity and merging into an overarching “God Consciousness”, sometimes known as “the Absolute”, then there are grounds for hope that life could have a meaning and purpose. Which is? — To merge with the One, as the water drop merges with the Ocean and becomes an indistinguishable part of it.
All these thoughts, I suspect, had occurred to Nietzsche too and may have contributed to driving him round the bend. Obsessively gloomy thoughts do in fact induce chronic depression in those who have them, which in turn leads to organic changes in the brain. Yes, the frontal lobes and other parts of the brain can be seriously damaged by thinking abominable thoughts all the time. So it helps to be cheerful, transmitting cheerfulness to all those around you.
I can well understand what Nietzsche was getting at when he wrote: “A Yes, a No, a straight line, a goal!” I’m not sure what life meant to Schopenhauer, still less if he eventually found his “Yes” and his “No”. I see no “goal” at the end of his gloomy philosophy. All I see is a very crooked line leading into the impenetrable Forest of Words.
I believe some Roman writer said the ancient Celts believed in reincarnation and this caused them to not fear death in battle and to fight better.
There are emotions and there is the thinking function. Thinking is pretty tricky. If your temperment is sanguine, or if it is dour, the thinking function is hampered..
Thinking , per the Bible, is the original sin. I like, think, and you will go on thinking. Where does it end? Feeling is rooted in social life.
Not completely, but in social animals like us, social life is fundamental. Without social support…friends , family, and let us not forget….racial solidarity, we are endangered as individuals.
People die of loneliness . etc. A robust social life, hopefully with mostly positive social relations as well as effective ways of dealing with Enemies, guarantees not getting too bent out of shape by Waiting for Godot..reading .guys like Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, and Jewish subversion, and the slings and arrows generally.
“Think Good Thoughts about the pussycat…from Booth cartoons of the 50s and 60s easily pokes fun at New Agers, Liberals, etc.
Personally, I get along just fine without God, am ok with death, and hold Darwin close to my brain.
I also pay a lot of attention to my social life….and notice good feelings from positive social interactions. This is fundamental.
If one has a lousy social life, I guarantee that one will feel bad. Intellectual life under this kind of social experience, will queer what I would call a rational approach (realistic) to Life.
Nietzsche and Schopenhaurer, as in spending too much time reading them, calls out for a walk in Nature with a friend or lover.
Pet your dog…too. Dogs love, intellectuals don’t own dogs. etc.
Speaking of Waiting for Godot, when I first saw the play when I was about 19, it bothered me. Seeing it after I grew up, elicited gales of laughter. Speaking of laughter, Man Thinks, God Laughs. Some measure of anti-intellectualism is just dandy.