Essays And Aphorisms

Paperback | May 30, 1973

byArthur SchopenhauerIntroduction byR. J. HollingdaleTranslated byR. J. Hollingdale

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This selection of thoughts on religion, ethics, politics, women, suicide, books, and much more is taken from Schopenhauer's last work, Parerga and Paralipo-mena, published in 1851.

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From the Publisher

This selection of thoughts on religion, ethics, politics, women, suicide, books, and much more is taken from Schopenhauer's last work, Parerga and Paralipo-mena, published in 1851.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin...

From the Jacket

This selection of thoughts on religion, ethics, politics, women, suicide, books, and much more is taken from Schopenhauer’s last work, Parerga and Paralipo-mena, published in 1851.

Arthur Schopenauer was born in Danzig in 1788, where his family, of Dutch origin, owned one of the most respected trading houses. In 1793 the business moved to Hamburg, and in 1805 Arthur, who was expected to inherit it, was apprenticed as a clerk to another Hamburg house. He hated the work, so in 1807, two years after his father’s sui...

other books by Arthur Schopenhauer

The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 1
The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 1

Paperback|Jun 1 1966

$20.41 online$25.95list price(save 21%)
see all books by Arthur Schopenhauer
Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 7.76 × 5.05 × 0.57 inPublished:May 30, 1973Publisher:Penguin Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140442278

ISBN - 13:9780140442274

Customer Reviews of Essays And Aphorisms

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Humanistic Pessimism from a Thorny Rose Imagine realizing that the Hobbesian "nasty, brutish, and short" state of nature is not just a concept or a nightmare but the world you actually live in. Schopenhauer is perhaps best known for his saturnine philosophical streak and the discovery of the "Will to live" (or, what he also terms as, "life force") which all living organism share and are subject to. Indeed, the titles of his two most famous essays which open the Penguin edition: "On the suffering of the world" and "On the vanity of existence" are rather self-explanatory, but it would be both erroneous and unjust to circumscribe this great thinker to these two categories and smugly move on to bigger (more exciting or influential) concepts and thinkers. The bad: Yes, according to Schopenhauer suffering is the “positive element” in our world (meaning: it is the norm) and what we refer to as happiness or joy is simply its temporary suspension or absence. In this sense, our world is not unlike “hell”, a “penal colony” of sorts (Schopenhauer’s terms) and “life is an expiation for the crime of being born”. This guilt-infused rhetoric may sound Kafkaesque, but unlike Kafka Schopenhauer seems to have found a way out of this existential quagmire. The good: Inasmuch as the “Will to live” and the suffering it propagates is something all living organisms share, Schopenhauer invites us to see our fellow creatures not as “hunger games” contenders fighting for limited resources in order to placate the Will, but as “fellow sufferers” for whom “tolerance, patience, forbearance and charity” should be the bases of all interactions. These pseudo-Christian ethical prescriptions may sound surprising coming from somber German who did not have much faith in humanity (nor any benevolent deity), but lest we think that they are an anomaly we should consider what he has to say about slavery and animals who share in our exile. Decades before the American Civil War, Schopenhauer inveighed against the “bigoted, church-going, Sabbath-keeping scoundrels” who treat their “innocent black brothers” as a personal possession to be used and abused at their will. And emphasizing the “eternal being” (the Will) we share with animals, he passionately condemned all who abuse or torture them for personal enjoyment (“schadenfreude”) or for scientific purposes. I must admit that apart from clarity and succinctness of his style it is this humanistic streak that I most admire about Schopenhauer – but Essay and Aphorisms is a veritable trove of goodies. For example, writing about suicide (which, in light of the ubiquity of suffering may seem logical if not appealing), he warns that our goal should be the conquest the Will rather than surrender to it (suicide). And one of the best way to rise above the fray is art. Indeed, the aphorisms on aesthetics, religion, and books (true philosopher thinks for himself, a professor of philosophy merely reads and regurgitates the thoughts of others) are as pithy as they are relevant, even by the 21st century standards. That stated, there is one subject in Schopenhauer’s writing that shows how flawed and ethically regressive genius can sometimes be. His thoughts on women can be summed up as antediluvian patriarchal diatribes (he sees women as grown children with very limited intellectual acumen) which not only question his precocious and panoptic moral sphere but cry out for (at minimum) ethical parity with the aforementioned slaves and animals. No, contemporary ethos or personal circumstances should never excuse misogyny, but as the flawed genius himself admits while there are “many a thorn without a rose…[there is] no rose with a thorn”. Thorns notwithstanding, my sincerest advice to any potential reader is to visit your local flower shop today, to pick up this imported rose, and to gift yourself with it. The aesthete in you will thank you. I guaranteed it!
Date published: 2015-07-01

Extra Content

Table of Contents

Essays and Aphorisms - Arthur Schopenhauer Selected and Translated with an Introduction by R. J. Hollingdale

Introduction
Essays
On the Suffering of the World
On the Vanity of Existence
On the Antithesis of Thing in Itself and Appearance
On Affirmation and Denial of the Will to Live
On the Indestructibility of our Essential Being by Death
On Suicide
On Women
On Thinking for Yourself
On Religion: A Dialogue
Aphorisms
On Philosophy and the Intellect
On Ethics
On Law and Politics
On Aesthetics
On Psychology
On Religion
On Books and Writing
On Various Subjects
List of Correspondences