Episode 90, Arthur Schopenhauer (Part IV - Suffering, Aesthetics, and Ethics)

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Introduction

I am Ixion, strapped to the burning wheel of fire in the underworld that is my life. A bleak assessment to be sure, but I put it to you that it is the truth. For what is life if not an ever-swinging pendulum of pain and boredom, kept in motion by the insatiable will? I constantly strive for the things that I want, but what I want is never enough; long-term satisfaction is tedium elegantly veiled. This alone is a cruel trick to the individual, but in a world of many, it is the ultimate tragedy.

The wills of the multitude cannot avoid the inevitable conflict, as one will’s ends treats another as its means. The tiger feasts on the wild dog, who feasts on the baby turtle, all to propagate life so that future generations can play out this tragic scene ad infinitum. In human life - save rare moments of true compassion - we are little better. Yet, there is a hint of salvation.

What if we all realised that, at our core, we are the same will? What if we could make the wheel of Ixion stand still, if only for a moment? Would it be possible to see beauty? Would it be possible to see to fellow sufferers rather than fellow egos? I suspect it might, but I am afraid that I, and many others, are easily fooled. ‘The Will’ will do as it pleases, and not what pleases us.

Contents

Part I. The Life of Arthur Schopenhauer

Part II. The World as Representation

Part III. The World as Will

Part IV. Suffering, Aesthetics, and Ethics

Part V. Further Analysis and Discussion

Links

Bernardo Kastrup, Decoding Schopenhauer’s Metaphysics (book)

Christopher Janaway, Schopenhauer: A Very Short Introduction (book)

Bryan Magee, The Philosophy of Schopenhauer (book)

Arthur Schopenhauer, Essay and Aphorisms (book)

Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation — Vol. 1 (book)

Arthur Schopenhauer, The Two Fundamental Problems of Ethics (book)

Arthur Schopenhauer, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason and Other Writings (book)

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Arthur Schopenhauer (online)

Intern Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Arthur Schopenhauer (online)

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