No matter if you’re a nerd or a dunce, a book-addicted or an anti-reader, you will surely recognize the face hidden behind the famous affirmation:
“Life swings like a pendulum backward and forward between pain and boredom.”
How could we forget about the father of Pessimism, the angriest intellectual of the XIX Century, the man who dared to insult Hegel considering his thought that of a charlatan?
Maybe, the reason why the German philosopher we are talking about is so appreciated among students has to be researched in his revolutionary beliefs. Let’s list some of them:
- Unlike the post-Kantian Idealists, who spent their whole life developing a perfect, God-blessed system in which everything was meant to be like that for a purpose, the realization of the Spirit, Schopenhauer conceived the world as an immensive, deceiving reality, which he called “Veil of Maya”. Nobody had ever taken the liberty of giving such a negative judgment of reality!
- As the premises were these, the only logic conclusion that followed was a pouring rain of pessimistic distruction of everything that makes people appreciate life: if our view of the world is fake, it means that there’s absolutely nothing real and truly good in everything we see, nor even love, friendship or the rare moments of happiness we live! In poor words, he was the forefather of our modern Emos!
- Actually, there’s a way to be freed of pain and to elevate ourselves above the misery of human condition, but it’s quite, uhm, unusual: we have to pass through the momentary perfection of Art, to take on our shoulders everybody’s sufferings through compassion, and finally to spend a long period of self-maceration and emotional estrangement. That’s the very last step, which the philosopher named ascesis, to reach a wonderful Nothing of peace and above all absence of suffering. Basically, Schopenhauer recommends everyone to become misanthropic individuals isolated on the top of some cold, solitary mountain. Fascinating, don’t you think?
Obviously, this is just an ironic and superficial interpretation of a great philosopher’s thought, but keep in mind that we’re trying to describe –and we did- the reaction of a typical high school student when he reads for the first time the most elegant, complex and structured way to show the world how difficult and crazy is life!
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