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Schopenhauer on the Vanity of Existence

Discuss deep philosophical topics and questions.

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Winston
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Schopenhauer on the Vanity of Existence

Post by Winston » October 31st, 2013, 9:35 am

Here also is a reading of Arthur Schopenhauer's essay about the vanity of existence and the truth about the human condition. It's pretty sad, but deep and true. A lot of what he says about human suffering is similar to Buddhism. Not surprisingly, he studied Buddhism and Eastern Philosophy too. If you are an optimist, you will not like this one.

The more you listen to him, the more it seems like pessimism contains a lot more truth about life than optimism, and that optimism is just an illusion that people need to go on living and have hope. He says that hope is mostly an illusion that helps people cope with the emptiness of life. I love what he says about how people are always living for future reward or long for the past, and always see the present as an interim. So true.

Last edited by Winston on January 17th, 2014, 1:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Wolfeye » January 16th, 2014, 7:14 am

There's a few things that occur in philosophy. Take that question "What is the meaning of life?" It occurs to me that the question is perhaps a bit incongruent to the situation. It implies that life is a task to be accomplished, but it isn't. So now it's a "carrot on a stick" situation- someone keeps looking for the answer to a question that doesn't apply.

After that there is the problem of ratiocination. Whenever someone says "life isn"t ___" someone else always says "Well, then what is it?" It's like they're trying to find something to mindlessly follow, instead of actively engaging in living & making situational decisions.

Another point is that something doesn't nesessarily have be articulated to be grasped.

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Post by Winston » January 17th, 2014, 1:33 am

Here is a reading of Schopenhauer's "On The Sufferings of the World". Again, it's very deep and philosophical but pessimistic. If you are looking for something "feel good" and positive, you may want to avoid this.

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Re: Schopenhauer on the Vanity of Existence

Post by Winston » May 27th, 2016, 3:49 pm

The great pessimistic German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer, wrote about how most people never enjoy the present moment, or "the now" as Eckhart Tolle popularized in "The Power of Now".

"We look upon the present as something to be put up with while it lasts, and serving only as the way towards our goal. Hence most people, if they glance back when they come to the end of life, will find that all along they have been living ad interim: they will be surprised to find that the very thing they disregarded and let slip by unenjoyed, was just the life in the expectation of which they passed all their time."
- Arthur Schopenhauer, "The Wisdom of Life"

"Optimism is truly a wicked way of thinking, for it mocks the unspeakable suffering of humanity."
- Arthur Schopenhauer, "The World as Will and Idea"

Schopenhauer's general view is summed up thus: Life is hell. Try to find a room furthest from the flames.
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Re: Schopenhauer on the Vanity of Existence

Post by Wolfeye » May 27th, 2016, 9:56 pm

The first quote was good & I partially agree with the second. The idea at the end seems a bit Hobbsian & I don't agree with that- just because there IS adversity & death doesn't make it the "rhythm of reality." Seems even the cynics aren't big on accuracy, they prefer a "wind-up toy" style when it comes to philosophical/ontological assessments- they just go in the opposite direction of the optimists.

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Re: Schopenhauer on the Vanity of Existence

Post by Adama » May 27th, 2016, 11:08 pm

I think the Book of Ecclesiastes would come in handy here.
A good man is above pettiness. He is better than that.

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Re: Schopenhauer on the Vanity of Existence

Post by Eric » May 27th, 2016, 11:49 pm

Adama wrote:I think the Book of Ecclesiastes would come in handy here.

I was going to say something like that. Nice one. :wink:
Misery and happiness are only states of mind.

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