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Title: Schopenhauer
Author: Whittaker, Thomas
Language: English
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Internet Archive)



PHILOSOPHIES ANCIENT AND MODERN

SCHOPENHAUER



NOTE


As a consequence of the success of the series of _Religions Ancient and
Modern_, Messrs. CONSTABLE have decided to issue a set of similar
primers, with brief introductions, lists of dates, and selected
authorities, presenting to the wider public the salient features of the
_Philosophies_ of Greece and Rome and of the Middle Ages, as well as of
modern Europe. They will appear in the same handy Shilling volumes, with
neat cloth bindings and paper envelopes, which have proved so attractive
in the case of the _Religions_. The writing in each case will be
confided to an eminent authority, and one who has already proved himself
capable of scholarly yet popular exposition within a small compass.

Among the first volumes to appear will be:--

  =Early Greek Philosophy.= By A. W. BENN, author of _The Philosophy
    of Greece, Rationalism in the Nineteenth Century_.

  =Stoicism.= By Professor ST. GEORGE STOCK, author of _Deductive
    Logic_, editor of the _Apology of Plato_, etc.

  =Plato.= By Professor A. E. TAYLOR, St. Andrews University, author
    of _The Problem of Conduct_.

  =Scholasticism.= By Father RICKABY, S.J.

  =Hobbes.= By Professor A. E. TAYLOR.

  =Locke.= By Professor ALEXANDER, of Owens College.

  =Comte and Mill.= By T. WHITTAKER, author of _The Neoplatonists,
    Apollonius of Tyana and other Essays_.

  =Herbert Spencer.= By W. H. HUDSON, author of _An Introduction to
    Spencer's Philosophy_.

  =Schopenhauer.= By T. WHITTAKER.

  =Berkeley.= By Professor CAMPBELL FRASER, D.C.L., LL.D.

  =Bergsen.= By Father TYRRELL.



SCHOPENHAUER


By

THOMAS WHITTAKER

AUTHOR OF 'COMTE AND MILL,' ETC.


LONDON

ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE & CO LTD

1909



CONTENTS


  CHAP.                             PAGE

  I.   LIFE AND WRITINGS,              1
  II.  THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE,           15
  III. METAPHYSICS OF THE WILL,       29
  IV.  ÆSTHETICS,                     49
  V.   ETHICS,                        65
  VI.  HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE,       86
       SELECTED WORKS,                93



SCHOPENHAUER



CHAPTER I

LIFE AND WRITINGS


Arthur Schopenhauer may be distinctively described as the greatest
philosophic writer of his century. So evident is this that he has
sometimes been regarded as having more importance in literature than in
philosophy; but this is an error. As a metaphysician he is second to no
one since Kant. Others of his age have surpassed him in system and in
comprehensiveness; but no one has had a firmer grasp of the essential
and fundamental problems of philosophy. On the theory of knowledge, the
nature of reality, and the meaning of the beautiful and the good, he has
solutions to offer that are all results of a characteristic and original
way of thinking.

In one respect, as critics have noted, his spirit is different from that
of European philosophy in general. What preoccupies him in a special way
is the question of evil in the world. Like the philosophies of the
East, emerging as they do without break from religion, Schopenhauer's
philosophy is in its outcome a doctrine of redemption from sin. The name
of pessimism commonly applied to it is in some respects misleading,
though it was his own term; but it is correct if understood as he
explained it. As he was accustomed to insist, his final ethical doctrine
coincides with that of all the religions that aim, for their adepts or
their elect, at deliverance from 'this evil world.' But, as the
'world-fleeing' religions have their mitigations and accommodations, so
also has the philosophy of Schopenhauer. At various points indeed it
seems as if a mere change of accent would turn it into optimism.

This preoccupation does not mean indifference to the theoretical
problems of philosophy. No one has insisted more strongly that the end
of philosophy is pure truth, and that only the few who care about pure
truth have any concern with it. But for Schopenhauer the desire for
speculative truth does not by itself suffice to explain the impulse of
philosophical inquiries. On one side of his complex character, he had
more resemblance to the men who turn from the world to religion, like
St. Augustine, than to the normal type of European thinker, represented
pre-eminently by Aristotle. He was a temperamental pessimist, feeling
from the first the trouble of existence; and here he finds the deepest
motive for the desire to become clear about it. He saw in the world,
what he felt in himself, a vain effort after ever new objects of desire
which give no permanent satisfaction; and this view, becoming
predominant, determined, not indeed all the ideas of his philosophy, but
its general complexion as a 'philosophy of redemption.'

With his pessimism, personal misfortunes had nothing to do. He was, and
always recognised that he was, among the most fortunately placed of
mankind. He does not hesitate to speak sometimes of his own happiness in
complete freedom from the need to apply himself to any compulsory
occupation. This freedom, as he has put gratefully on record, he owed to
his father, Heinrich Floris Schopenhauer, who was a rich merchant of
Danzig, where the philosopher was born on the 22nd of February 1788.
Both his parents were of Dutch ancestry. His mother, Johanna
Schopenhauer, won celebrity as a novelist; and his sister, Adele, also
displayed some literary talent. Generalising from his own case,
Schopenhauer holds that men of intelligence derive their character from
their father and their intellect from their mother. With his mother,
however, he was not on sympathetic terms, as may be read in the
biographies. His father intended him for a mercantile career, and with
this view began to prepare him from the first to be a cosmopolitan man
of the world. The name of Arthur was given to him because it is spelt
alike in the leading European languages. He was taken early to France,
where he resided from 1797 to 1799, learning French so well that on his
return he had almost forgotten his German. Portions of the years 1803 to
1804 were spent in England, France, Switzerland, and Austria. In England
he was three months at a Wimbledon boarding-school kept by a clergyman.
This experience he found extremely irksome. He afterwards became highly
proficient in English: was always pleased to be taken for an Englishman,
and regarded both the English character and intelligence as on the whole
the first in Europe; but all the more deplorable did he find the
oppressive pietism which was the special form taken in the England of
that period by the reaction against the French Revolution. He is never
tired of denouncing that phase of 'cold superstition,' the dominance of
which lasted during his lifetime; for the publication of Mill's
_Liberty_ and of Darwin's _Origin of Species_, which may be considered
as marking the close of it, came only the year before his death.

The only real break in the conformity of Schopenhauer's circumstances to
his future career came in 1805, when he was placed in a merchant's
office at Hamburg, whither his father had migrated in disgust at the
annexation of his native Danzig, then under a republican constitution of
its own, by Prussia in 1793. Soon afterwards his father died; but out of
loyalty he tried for some time longer to reconcile himself to commercial
life. Finding this at length impossible, he gained permission from his
mother, in 1807, to leave the office for the gymnasium. At this time he
seems to have begun his classical studies, his education having hitherto
been exclusively modern. They were carried on first at Gotha and then at
Weimar. In 1809 he entered the university of Göttingen as a student of
medicine. This, however, was with a view only to scientific studies, not
to practice; and he transferred himself to the philosophical faculty in
1810. Generally he was little regardful of academical authority. His
father's deliberately adopted plan of letting him mix early with the
world had given him a certain independence of judgment. At Göttingen,
however, he received an important influence from his teacher, G. E.
Schulze (known by the revived scepticism of his _Ænesidemus_), who
advised him to study Plato and Kant before Aristotle and Spinoza. From
1811 to 1813 he was at Berlin, where he heard Fichte, but was not
impressed. In 1813 the degree of Doctor of Philosophy was conferred on
him at Jena for the dissertation _On the Fourfold Root of the Principle
of Sufficient Reason_ (_Ueber die vierfache Wurzel des Satzes vom
zureichenden Grunde_, 2nd ed., 1847). This was the first result of his
Kantian studies. In the same year he began to be acquainted with Goethe
at Weimar, where his mother and sister had gone to reside in 1806. A
consequence of this acquaintance was that he took up and further
developed Goethe's theory of colours. His dissertation _Ueber das Sehen
und die Farben_ was published in 1816. A second edition did not appear
till 1854; but in the meantime he had published a restatement of his
doctrine in Latin, entitled _Theoria Colorum Physiologica_ (1830). This,
however, was an outlying part of his work. He had already been seized by
the impulse to set forth the system of philosophy that took shape in
him, as he says, by some formative process of which he could give no
conscious account. His great work, _Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung_,
was ready for publication before the end of 1818, and was published with
the date 1819. Thus he is one of the most precocious philosophers on
record. For in that single volume, written before he was thirty, the
outlines of his whole system are fixed. There is some development later,
and there are endless new applications and essays towards confirmation
from all sources. His mind never rested, and his literary power gained
by exercise. Still, it has been said with truth, that there never was a
greater illusion than when he thought that he seldom repeated himself.
In reality he did little but repeat his fundamental positions with
infinite variations in expression.

After completing his chief work, Schopenhauer wrote some verses in which
he predicted that posterity would erect a monument to him. This
prediction was fulfilled in 1895; but, for the time, the work which he
never doubted would be his enduring title to fame seemed, like Hume's
_Treatise_, to have fallen 'deadborn from the press.' This he attributed
to the hostility of the academical philosophers; and, in his later
works, attacks on the university professors form a characteristic
feature. The official teachers of the Hegelian school, he declared, were
bent only on obtaining positions for themselves by an appearance of
supporting Christian dogma; and they resented openness on the part of
any one else. Yet on one side he maintained that his own pessimism was
more truly Christian than their optimism. The essential spirit of
Christianity is that of Brahmanism and Buddhism, the great religions
that sprang from India, the first home of our race. He is even inclined
to see in it traces of Indian influence. What vitiates it in his eyes is
the Jewish element, which finds its expression in the flat modern
'Protestant-rationalistic optimism.' As optimistic religions, he groups
together Judaism, Islam, and Græco-Roman Polytheism. His antipathy,
however, only extends to the two former. He was himself in great part a
child of Humanism and of the eighteenth century, rejoicing over the
approaching downfall of all the faiths, and holding that a weak religion
(entirely different from those he admires) is favourable to
civilisation. Nothing can exceed his scorn for nearly everything that
characterised the Middle Ages. With Catholicism as a political system he
has no sympathy whatever; while on the religious side the Protestant
are as sympathetic to him as the Catholic mystics. What is common to all
priesthoods, he holds, is to exploit the metaphysical need of mankind
(in which he also believes) for the sake of their own power.
Clericalism, 'Pfaffenthum,' whether Catholic or Protestant, is the
object of his unvarying hatred and contempt. If he had cared to
appreciate Hegel, he would have found on this point much community of
spirit; but of course there was a real antithesis between the two as
philosophers. No 'conspiracy' need be invoked to explain the failure of
Schopenhauer to win early recognition. Belief in the State and in
progress was quite alien to him; and Germany was then full of political
hopes, which found nourishment in optimistic pantheism. What at length
gave his philosophy vogue was the collapse of this enthusiasm on the
failure of the revolutionary movement in 1848. Once known, it contained
enough of permanent value to secure it from again passing out of sight
with the next change of fashion.

The rest of Schopenhauer's life in its external relations may be briefly
summed up. For a few years, it was diversified by travels in Italy and
elsewhere, and by an unsuccessful attempt at academical teaching in
Berlin. In 1831 he moved to Frankfort, where he finally settled in
1833. He lived unmarried there till his death on the 21st of September
1860. The monument, already spoken of, was unveiled at Frankfort on the
6th of June 1895.

The almost unbroken silence with which his great work was received,
though it had a distempering effect on the man, did not discourage the
thinker. The whole series of Schopenhauer's works, indeed, was completed
before he attained anything that could be called fame. Constantly on the
alert as he was to seize upon confirmations of his system, he published
in 1836 his short work _On the Will in Nature_, pointing out
verifications of his metaphysics by recent science. In 1839 his prize
essay, _On the Freedom of the Human Will_ (finished in 1837), was
crowned by the Royal Scientific Society of Drontheim in Norway. This and
another essay, _On the Basis of Morality_, _not_ crowned by the Royal
Danish Society of Copenhagen in 1840, he published in 1841, with the
inclusive title, _Die beiden Grundprobleme der Ethik_. In 1844 appeared
the second edition of his principal work, to which there was added, in
the form of a second volume, a series of elucidations and extensions
larger in bulk than the first. This new volume contains much of his
best and most effective writing. His last work, _Parerga und
Paralipomena_, which appeared in 1851 (2 vols.), is from the literary
point of view the most brilliant. It was only from this time that he
began to be well known among the general public; though the philosophic
'apostolate' of Julius Frauenstädt, who afterwards edited his works, had
begun in 1840. His activity was henceforth confined to modifying and
extending his works for new editions; an employment in which he was
always assiduous. In consequence of this, all of them, as they stand,
contain references from one to another; but the development of his
thinking, so far as there was such a process after 1818, can be easily
traced without reference to the earlier editions. There is some growth;
but, as has been said, it does not affect many of the chief points. A
brief exposition of his philosophy can on the whole take it as something
fixed. The heads under which it must fall are those assigned to the
original four books of _Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung_.

Although Schopenhauer discountenanced the attempt to connect a
philosophers biography with his work, something has to be said about his
character, since this has been dwelt on to his disadvantage by
opponents. There is abundant material for a personal estimate in the
correspondence and reminiscences published after his death by his
disciples Julius Frauenstädt and Wilhelm Gwinner. The apparent
contradiction is at once obvious between the ascetic consummation of his
ethics and his unascetic life, carefully occupied in its latter part
with rules for the preservation of his naturally robust health. He was
quite aware of this, but holds it absurd to require that a moralist
should commend only the virtues which he possesses. It is as if the
requirement were set up that a sculptor is to be himself a model of
beauty. A saint need not be a philosopher, nor a philosopher a saint.
The science of morals is as theoretical as any other branch of
philosophy. Fundamentally character is unmodifiable, though knowledge,
it is allowed, may change the mode of action within the limits of the
particular character. The passage to the state of asceticism cannot be
effected by moral philosophy, but depends on a kind of 'grace.' After
all, it might be replied, philosophers, whether they succeed or not, do
usually make at least an attempt to live in accordance with the moral
ideal they set up. The best apology in Schopenhauer's case is that the
fault may have been as much in his ideal as in his failure to conform
to it. The eloquent pages he has devoted to the subject of holiness only
make manifest the inconsequence (which he admits) in the passage to it.
For, as we shall see, this has nothing in common with the essentially
rational asceticism of the schools of later antiquity; which was a rule
of self-limitation in view of the philosophic life. He did in a way of
his own practise something of this; and, on occasion, he sets forth the
theory of it; but he quite clearly sees the difference. His own ideal,
which he never attempted to practise, is that of the self-torturing
ascetics of the Christian Middle Age. Within the range of properly human
virtue, he can in many respects hold his own, not only as a philosopher
but as a man. If his egoism and vanity are undeniable, he undoubtedly
possessed the virtues of rectitude and compassion. What he would have
especially laid stress on was the conscientious devotion to his work.
With complete singleness of purpose he used for a disinterested end the
leisure which he regarded as the most fortunate of endowments. As he
said near the close of his life, his intellectual conscience was clear.

Of Schopenhauer's expositions of his pessimism it would be true to say,
as Spinoza says of the Book of Job, that the matter, like the style, is
not that of a man sitting among the ashes, but of one meditating in a
library. This of course does not prove that they are not a genuine, if
one-sided, rendering of human experience. All that can be said is that
they did not turn him away from appreciation of the apparent goods of
life. His own practical principle was furnished by what he regarded as a
lower point of view; and this gives its direction to the semi-popular
philosophy of the _Parerga_. From what he takes to be the higher point
of view, the belief that happiness is attainable by man on earth is an
illusion; but he holds that, by keeping steadily in view a kind of
tempered happiness as the end, many mistakes may be avoided in the
conduct of life, provided that each recognises at once the strength and
weakness of his own character, and does not attempt things that, with
the given limitations, are impossible. Of the highest truth, as he
conceived it, he could therefore make no use. Only by means of a truth
that he was bound to hold half-illusory could a working scheme be
constructed for himself and others. This result may give us guidance in
seeking to learn what we can from a thinker who is in reality no
representative of a decadence, but is fundamentally sane and rational,
even in spite of himself.



CHAPTER II

THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE


The title of Schopenhauer's chief work is rendered in the English
translation, _The World as Will and Idea_. Here the term 'idea' is used
in the sense it had for Locke and Berkeley; namely, any object of mental
activity. Thus it includes not merely imagery, but also perception.
Since Hume distinguished ideas' from 'impressions,' it has tended to be
specialised in the former sense. The German word, _Vorstellung_, which
it is used to render, conveys the generalised meaning of the Lockian
'idea,' now frequently expressed in English and French philosophical
works by the more technical term 'presentation' or 'representation.' By
Schopenhauer himself the word 'Idea' was used exclusively in the sense
of the Platonic Idea, which, as we shall see, plays an important part in
his philosophy. The distinction is preserved in the translation by the
use of a capital when Idea has the latter meaning; but in a brief
exposition it seems convenient to adopt a more technical rendering of
_Vorstellung_; and, from its common employment in psychological
text-books, I have selected 'presentation' as the most suitable.

The first proposition of Schopenhauer's philosophical system is, 'The
world is my presentation.' By this he means that it presents itself as
appearance to the knowing subject. This appearance is in the forms of
time, space and causality. Under these forms every phenomenon
necessarily appears, because they are _a priori_ forms of the subject.
The world as it presents itself consists entirely of phenomena, that is,
appearances, related according to these forms. The most fundamental form
of all is the relation between object and subject, which is implied in
all of them. Without a subject there can be no presented object.

Schopenhauer is therefore an idealist in the sense in which we call
Berkeley's theory of the external world idealism; though the expressions
used are to some extent different. The difference proceeds from his
following of Kant. His Kantianism consists in the recognition of _a
priori_ forms by which the subject constructs for itself an 'objective'
world of appearances. With Berkeley he agrees as against Kant in not
admitting any residue whatever, in the object as such, that is not
wholly appearance. But while he allows that Berkeley, as regards the
general formulation of idealism, was more consistent than Kant, he finds
him, in working out the principle, altogether inadequate. For the modern
mind there is henceforth no way in philosophy except through Kant, from
whom dates the revolution by which scholastic dualism was finally
overthrown. Kant's systematic construction, however, he in effect
reduces to very little. His is a much simplified 'Apriorism.' While
accepting the 'forms of sensible intuition,' that is, time and space,
just as Kant sets them forth, he clears away nearly all the superimposed
mechanism. Kant's 'Transcendental Æsthetic,' he says, was a real
discovery in metaphysics; but on the basis of this he for the most part
only gave free play to his architectonic impulse. Of the twelve
'categories of the understanding,' which he professed to derive from the
logical forms of judgment, all except causality are mere 'blind
windows.' This alone, therefore, Schopenhauer adopts; placing it,
however, not at a higher level but side by side with time and space,
Kant's forms of intuition. These three forms, according to Schopenhauer,
make up the understanding of men and animals. 'All intuition is
intellectual.' It is not first mere appearance related in space and
time, and waiting for understanding to organise it; but, in animals as
in man, it is put in order at once under the three forms that suffice to
explain the knowledge all have of the phenomenal world.

To Reason as distinguished from Understanding, Schopenhauer assigns no
such exalted function as was attributed to it in portions of his system
by Kant, and still more by some of his successors. The name of 'reason,'
he maintains, ought on etymological grounds to be restricted to the
faculty of abstract concepts. This, and not understanding, is what
distinguishes man from animals. It discovers and invents nothing, but it
puts in a generalised and available form what the understanding has
discovered in intuition.

For the historical estimation of Schopenhauer, it is necessary to place
him in relation to Kant, as he himself always insisted. Much also in his
chief work is made clearer by knowledge of his dissertation _On the
Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason_, to which he is
constantly referring. Later, his manner of exposition became more
independent; so that he can be read by the general reader with profit
simply by himself, and without reference to antecedents. Still, it will
always be advisable for an expositor to follow his directions, at least
to the extent of giving some short account of the dissertation. This I
proceed to give approximately in the place to which he has assigned it
in his system.

The name of the principle (_principium rationis sufficientis_) he took
over from Leibniz and his successor Wolff, but gave it a new amplitude.
With him, it stands as an inclusive term for four modes of connection by
which the thoroughgoing relativity of phenomena to one another is
constituted for our intelligence. The general statement adopted is,
'Nothing is without a reason why it should be rather than not be.'
Its four forms are the principles of becoming (_fiendi_), of knowing
(_cognoscendi_), of being (_essendi_), and of acting (_agendi_).
(1) Under the first head come 'causes.' These are divided into 'cause
proper,' for inorganic things; 'stimulus,' for the vegetative life both
of plants and animals, and 'motive,' for animals and men. The law of
causation is applicable only to changes; not to the forces of nature, to
matter, or to the world as a whole, which are perdurable. Cause precedes
effect in time. Not one thing, but one state of a thing, is the cause of
another. From the law of causation there results an infinite series _a
parte ante_ as well as _a parte post_. (2) The principle of sufficient
reason of knowing is applicable to concepts, which are all derived from
intuition, that is, from percepts. The laws of logic, which come under
this head, can yield nothing original, but can only render explicit what
was in the understanding. (3) Under the third head come arithmetical and
geometrical relations. These are peculiar relations of presentations,
distinct from all others, and only intelligible in virtue of a pure _a
priori_ intuition. For geometry this is space; for arithmetic time, in
which counting goes on. Scientifically, arithmetic is fundamental. (4)
As the third form of causality was enumerated 'motive' for the will; but
in that classification it was viewed from without, as belonging to the
world of objects. Through the direct knowledge we have of our own will,
we know also from within this determination by the presentation we call
a motive. Hence emerges the fourth form of the principle of sufficient
reason. This at a later stage makes possible the transition from physics
to metaphysics.

All these forms alike are forms of necessary determination. Necessity
has no clear and true sense but certainty of the consequence when the
ground is posited. All necessity therefore is conditional. In accordance
with the four expressions of the principle of sufficient reason, it
takes the fourfold shape of physical, logical, mathematical, and moral
necessity.

The sharp distinction between logical and mathematical truth, with the
assignment of the former to conceptual and of the latter to intuitive
relations, comes to Schopenhauer directly from Kant. So also does his
view that the necessary form of causation is sequence; though here his
points of contact with English thinkers, earlier and later, are very
marked. Only in his statement of the 'law of motivation' as 'causality
seen from within' does he hint at his own distinctive metaphysical
doctrine. Meanwhile, it is evident that he is to be numbered with the
group of modern thinkers who have arrived in one way or another at a
complete scientific phenomenism. Expositors have noted that in his
earlier statements of this he tends to lay more stress on the character
of the visible and tangible world as mere appearance. The impermanence,
the relativity, of all that exists in time and space, leads him to
describe it, in a favourite term borrowed from Indian philosophy, as
Maya, or illusion. Later, he dwells more on the relative reality of
things as they appear. His position, however, does not essentially
alter, but only finds varying expression as he turns more to the
scientific or to the metaphysical side. From Hume's view on causation he
differs not by opposing its pure phenomenism, but only by recognising,
as Kant does, an _a priori_ element in the form of its law. German
critics have seen in his own formulation an anticipation of Mill, and
this is certainly striking as regards the general conception of the
causal order, although there is no anticipation of Mill's inductive
logic. On the same side there is a close agreement with Malebranche and
the Occasionalists, pointed out by Schopenhauer himself. The causal
explanations of science, he is at one with them in insisting, give no
ultimate account of anything. All its causes are no more than
'occasional causes,'--merely instances, as Mill expressed it afterwards,
of 'invariable and unconditional sequence.' From Mill of course he
differs in holding its form to be necessary and _a priori_, not
ultimately derived from a summation of experiences; and, with the
Occasionalists, he goes on to metaphysics in its sense of ontology, as
Mill never did. The difference here is that he does not clothe his
metaphysics in a theological dress.

In the later development of his thought, Schopenhauer dealt more
expressly with the question, how this kind of phenomenism is
reconcilable with a scientific cosmogony. On one side the proposition,
'No object without subject,' makes materialism for ever impossible; for
the materialist tries to explain from relations among presentations what
is the condition of all presentation. On the other side, we are all
compelled to agree with the materialists that knowledge of the object
comes late in a long series of material events. Inorganic things existed
in time before life; vegetative life before animal life; and only with
animal life does knowledge emerge. Reasoned knowledge of the whole
series comes only at the end of it in the human mind. This apparent
contradiction he solves by leaving a place for metaphysics. Our
representation of the world as it existed before the appearance of life
was indeed non-existent at the time to which we assign it; but the real
being of the world had a manifestation not imaginable by us. For this,
we substitute a picture of a world such as we should have been aware of
had our 'subject,' with its _a priori_ forms of time, space, and
causality, been then present. What the reality is, is the problem of the
thing-in-itself (to use the Kantian term). This problem remains over;
but we know that the metaphysical reality cannot be matter; for matter,
with all its qualities, is phenomenal. It exists only 'for
understanding, through understanding, in understanding.' These
discriminations made, Schopenhauer offers us a scientific cosmogony
beginning with the nebular hypothesis and ending with an outline of
organic evolution. This last differs from the Darwinian theory in
supposing a production of species by definite steps instead of by
accumulation of small individual variations. At a certain time, a form
that has all the characters of a new species appears among the progeny
of an existing species. Man is the last and highest form to be evolved.
From Schopenhauer's metaphysics, as we shall see, it follows that no
higher form of life will ever appear.

A word may be said here on a materialistic-sounding phrase which is
very prominent in Schopenhauer's later expositions, and has been
remarked on as paradoxical for an idealist. The world as presentation,
he often says, is 'in the brain.' This, it must be allowed, is not fully
defensible from his own point of view, except with the aid of a later
distinction. The brain as we know it is of course only a part of the
phenomenon of the subject,--a grouping of possible perceptions. How
then, since it is itself only appearance, can it be the bearer of the
whole universe as appearance? The answer is that Schopenhauer meant in
reality 'the being of the brain,' and not the brain as phenomenon. He
had a growing sense of the importance of physiology for the
investigation of mind; and his predilection led him to adopt a not quite
satisfactory shorthand expression for the correspondence we know
scientifically to exist between our mental processes and changes capable
of objective investigation in the matter of the brain.

In science his distinctive bent was to the borderland between psychology
and physiology. Hence came the attraction exercised on him by Goethe's
theory of colours. To his own theory, though, unlike his philosophical
system, it has always failed to gain the attention he predicted for it,
the merit must be allowed of treating the problem as essentially one of
psychophysics. What he does is to attempt to ascertain the conditions in
the sensibility of the retina that account for our actual
colour-sensations. This problem was untouched by the Newtonian theory;
but Schopenhauer followed Goethe in the error of trying to overthrow
this on its own ground. He had no aptitude for the special inquiries of
mathematics and physics, though he had gained a clear insight into their
general nature as sciences. On the psycho-physical side there is to-day
no fully authorised theory. The problem indeed has become ever more
complex. Schopenhauer's attempt, by combination of sensibilities to
'light' and 'darkness,' to explain the phenomena of complementary
colours, deserves at least a record in the long series of essays of
which the best known are the 'Young-Helmholtz theory' and that of
Hering. It marks an indubitable advance on Goethe in the clear
distinction drawn between the mixture, in the ordinary sense, that can
only result in dilution to different shades of grey, and the kinds of
mixture from which, in their view, true colours arise.

A characteristic position in Schopenhauer's theory of knowledge, and one
that is constantly finding new expression in his writings, is the
distinction between abstract and intuitive knowledge already touched on.
Intuitive knowledge of the kind that is common to men and animals, as we
have seen, makes up, in his terminology, the 'understanding'; while
'reason' is the distinctively human faculty of concepts. When he
depreciates this, as he often does, in comparison with 'intuition,' it
must be remembered that he does not limit this term to perception of
particulars, but ascribes to what he calls the 'Platonic Idea' a certain
kind of union between reason and 'phantasy,' which gives it an intuitive
character of its own. Thus intuition can stand, though not in every case
for what is higher, yet always for that which is wider and greater and
more immediate. Whatever may be done with reflective reason and its
abstractions, every effectual process of thought must end, alike for
knowledge and art and virtue, in some intuitive presentation. The
importance of reason for practice is due to its generality. Its function
is subordinate. It does not furnish the ground of virtuous action any
more than æsthetic precepts can enable any one to produce a work of art;
but it can help to preserve constancy to certain maxims, as also in art
a reasoned plan is necessary because the inspiration of genius is not
every moment at command. Virtue and artistic genius alike, however,
depend ultimately on intuition: and so also does every true discovery in
science. The nature of pedantry is to try to be guided everywhere by
concepts, and to trust nothing to perception in the particular case.
Philosophy also Schopenhauer regards as depending ultimately on a
certain intuitive view; but he allows that it has to translate this into
abstractions. Its problem is to express the _what_ of the world in
abstract form: science dealing only with the _why_ of phenomena related
within the world. This character of philosophy as a system of abstract
concepts deprives it of the immediate attractiveness of art; so that, as
he says in one place, it is more fortunate to be a poet than a
philosopher.



CHAPTER III

METAPHYSICS OF THE WILL


We have seen that scientific explanation does not go beyond
presentations ordered in space and time. This is just as true of the
sciences of causation--the 'ætiological' sciences--as it is of
mathematical science. All that we learn from Mechanics, Physics,
Chemistry and Physiology, is 'how, in accordance with an infallible
rule, one determinate state of matter necessarily follows another: how a
determinate change necessarily conditions and brings on another
determinate change.' This knowledge does not satisfy us. We wish to
learn the significance of phenomena; but we find that from outside,
while we view them as presentations, their inner meaning is for ever
inaccessible.

The starting-point for the metaphysical knowledge we seek is given us in
our own body. The animal body is 'the immediate object of the subject':
in it as presentation the 'effects' of 'causes' in the order of
presentations external to it are first recognised. Now in virtue of his
body the investigator is not pure knowing subject standing apart from
that which he knows. In the case of the particular system of
presentations constituting his organism, he knows what these
presentations signify, and that is his _will_ in a certain modification.
The subject appears as individual through its identity with the body,
and this body is given to it in two different ways: on one side as
object among objects, and subjected to their laws; on the other side as
the will immediately known to each. The act of will and the movement of
the body are not two different states related as cause and effect; for
the relation of cause and effect belongs only to the object, the
phenomenon, the presentation. They are one and the same act given in
different manners: the will, immediately to the subject; the movement,
in sensible intuition for understanding. The action of the body is the
objectified act of will. Called at first the immediate object of
presentation, the body may now, from the other side, be called 'the
objectivity of the will.'

Thus, as was said, the 'law of motivation' discloses the inner nature of
causality. In causality in general we know only relations of phenomena;
but in the case of our own body we know something else that those
relations express; namely, the act of will determined by motives. Now
there are in the world as presentation other systems like that which we
call our body. Unless all these are to be supposed mere phantoms without
inner reality, we must infer by analogy, in correspondence with like
phenomena, other individual wills similar to that which we know in
ourselves. This inference from analogy, universally admitted in the case
of human and animal bodies, must be extended to the whole corporeal
world. The failure to take this step is where the purely intellectual
forms of idealism have come short. Kant's 'thing-in-itself,' which is
not subject to the forms by which presentations become experience, but
which experience and its forms indicate as the reality, has been wrongly
condemned by his successors as alien to idealism. It is true that Kant
did in some respects fail to maintain the idealistic position with the
clearness of Berkeley; but his shortcoming was not in affirming a
thing-in-itself beyond phenomena. Here, in Schopenhauer's view, is the
metaphysical problem that he left a place for but did not solve. The
word of the riddle has now been pronounced. Beyond presentation, that
is, in itself and according to its innermost essence, the world is that
which we find in ourselves immediately as will. By this it is not meant
that a falling stone, for example, acts from a motive; knowledge and the
consequent action from motives belongs only to the determinate form that
the will has in animals and men; but the reality in the stone also is
the same in essence as that to which we apply the name of will in
ourselves. He who possesses this key to the knowledge of nature's
innermost being will interpret the forces of vegetation, of
crystallisation, of magnetism, of chemical affinity, even of weight
itself, as different only in phenomenal manifestation but in essence the
same; namely, that which is better known to each than all else, and
where it emerges most clearly is called will. Only the will is
thing-in-itself. It is wholly different from presentation, and is that
of which presentation is the phenomenon, the visibility, the
objectivity. Differences affect only the degree of the appearing, not
the essence of that which appears.

While the reality everywhere present is not will as specifically known
in man, the mode of indicating its essence by reference to this,
Schopenhauer contends, is a gain in insight. The thing-in-itself ought
to receive its name from that among all its manifestations which is the
clearest, the most perfect, the most immediately illumined by knowledge;
and this is man's will. When we say that every force in nature is to be
thought of as Will, we are subsuming an unknown under a known. For the
conception of Force is abstracted from the realm of cause and effect,
and indicates the limit of scientific explanation. Having arrived at the
forces of nature on the one side and the forms of the subject on the
other, science can go no further. The conception of Will can make known
that which was so far concealed, because it proceeds from the most
intimate consciousness that each has of himself, where the knower and
the known coincide.

By this consciousness, in which subject and object are not yet set
apart, we reach something universal. In itself the Will is not
individualised, but exists whole and undivided in every single thing in
nature, as the Subject of contemplation exists whole and undivided in
each cognitive being. It is entirely free from all forms of the
phenomenon. What makes plurality possible is subjection to the forms of
time and space, by which only the phenomenon is affected. Time and space
may therefore be called, in scholastic terminology, the 'principle of
individuation.' While each of its phenomena is subject to the law of
sufficient reason, which is the law of appearance in these forms, there
is for the Will as thing-in-itself no rational ground: it is 'grundlos.'
It is free from all plurality, although its phenomena in space and time
are innumerable. It is one, not with the unity of an object or of a
concept, but as that which lies outside of space and time, beyond the
_principium individuationis_, that is, the possibility of plurality. The
individual, the person, is not will as thing-in-itself, but phenomenon
of the will, and as such determined. The will is 'free' because there is
nothing beyond itself to determine it. Further, it is in itself mere
activity without end, a blind striving. Knowledge appears only as the
accompaniment of its ascending stages.

Here we have arrived at the thought which, in its various expressions,
constitutes Schopenhauer's metaphysics. That this cannot be
scientifically deduced he admits; but he regards it as furnishing such
explanation as is possible of science itself. For science there is in
everything an inexplicable element to which it runs back, and which is
real, not merely phenomenal. From this reality we are most remote in
pure mathematics and in the pure _a priori_ science of nature as it was
formulated by Kant. These owe their transparent clearness precisely to
their absence of real content, or to the slightness of this. The attempt
to reduce organic life to chemistry, this again to mechanism, and at
last everything to arithmetic, could it succeed, would leave mere form
behind, from which all the content of phenomena would have vanished. And
the form would in the end be form of the subject. But the enterprise is
vain. 'For in everything in nature there is something of which no ground
can ever be given, of which no explanation is possible, no cause further
is to be sought.' What for man is his inexplicable character,
presupposed in every explanation of his deeds from motives, that for
every inorganic body is its inexplicable quality, the manner of its
acting.

The basis of this too is will, and 'groundless,' inexplicable will; but
evidently the conception here is not identical with that of the Will
that is one and all. How do we pass from the universal to that which has
a particular character or quality? For of the Will as thing-in-itself we
are told that there is not a greater portion in a man and a less in a
stone. The relation of part and whole belongs exclusively to space. The
more and less touches only the phenomenon, that is, the visibility, the
objectivation. A higher degree of this is in the plant than in the
stone, in the animal than in the plant, and so forth; but the Will that
is the essence of all is untouched by degree, as it is beyond plurality,
space and time, and the relation of cause and effect.

The answer to the question here raised is given in Schopenhauer's
interpretation of the Platonic Ideas. These he regards as stages of
objectivation of the Will. They are, as Plato called them, eternal forms
related to particular things as models. The lowest stage of
objectivation of the Will is represented by the forces of inorganic
nature. Some of these, such as weight and impenetrability, appear in all
matter. Some are divided among its different kinds, as rigidity,
fluidity, elasticity, electricity, magnetism, chemical properties. They
are not subject to the relation of cause and effect, but are presupposed
by it. A force is neither cause of an effect nor effect of a cause.
Philosophically, it is immediate objectivity of the will; in ætiology,
_qualitas occulta_. At the lowest stages of objectivation, there is no
individuality. This does not appear in inorganic things, nor even in
merely organic or vegetative life, but only as we ascend the scale of
animals. Even in the higher animals the specific enormously predominates
over the individual character. Only in man is the Idea objectified in
the individual character as such. 'The character of each individual man,
so far as it is thoroughly individual and not entirely comprehended in
that of the species, may be regarded as a particular Idea, corresponding
to a peculiar act of objectivation of the Will.'

Schopenhauer warns us against substituting this philosophical
explanation for scientific ætiology. The chain of causes and effects, he
points out, is not broken by the differences of the original,
irreducible forces. The ætiology and the philosophy of nature go side by
side, regarding the same object from different points of view. Yet he
also gives us in relation to his philosophy much that is not
unsuggestive scientifically. His doctrine is not properly evolutionary,
since the Ideas are eternal; but he has guarded incidentally against our
supposing that all the natural kinds that manifest the Ideas
phenomenally must be always represented in every world. For our
particular world, comprising the sun and planets of the solar system, he
sets forth in the _Parerga_ an account of the process by which it
develops from the nebula to man. This was referred to in the preceding
chapter. In his fundamental work he describes a struggle, present
through the whole of nature, in which the phenomenal manifestations of
the higher Ideas conquer and subjugate those of the lower, though they
leave them still existent and ever striving to get loose. Here has been
seen an adumbration of natural selection: he himself admits the
difficulty he has in making it clear. We must remember that it is
pre-Darwinian.

Knowledge or intelligence he seeks to explain as an aid to the
individual organism in its struggle to subsist and to propagate its
kind. It first appears in animal life. It is represented by the brain or
a large ganglion, as every endeavour of the Will in its
self-objectivation is represented by some organ; that is, displays
itself for presentation as such and such an appearance. Superinduced
along with this contrivance for aid in the struggle, the world as
presentation, with all its forms, subject and object, time, space,
plurality and causality, is all at once there. 'Hitherto only will, it
is now at the same time presentation, object of the knowing subject.'
Then in man, as a higher power beyond merely intuitive intelligence,
appears reason as the power of abstract conception. For the most part,
rational as well as intuitive knowledge, evolved originally as a mere
means to higher objectivation of the Will, remains wholly in its
service. How, in exceptional cases, intellect emancipates itself, will
be discussed under the heads of Æsthetics and Ethics.

That this view implies a teleology Schopenhauer expressly recognises.
Indeed he is a very decided teleologist on lines of his own, and, in
physiology, takes sides strongly with 'vitalism' as against pure
mechanicism. True, the Will is 'endless' blind striving, and is
essentially divided against itself. Everywhere in nature there is
strife, and this takes the most horrible forms. Yet somehow there is in
each individual manifestation of will a principle by which first the
organism with its vital processes, and then the portion of it called the
brain, in which is represented the intellect with its _a priori_ forms,
are evolved as aids in the strife. And, adapting all the manifestations
to one another, there is a teleology of the universe. The whole world,
with all its phenomena, is the objectivity of the one and indivisible
Will; the Idea which is related to all other Ideas as the harmony to the
single voices. The unity of the Will shows itself in the unison of all
its phenomena as related to one another. Man, its clearest and
completest objectivation, is the summit of a pyramid, and could not
exist without this. Inorganic and organic nature, then, were adapted to
the future appearance of man, as man is adapted to the development that
preceded him. But in thinking the reality, time is to be abstracted
from. The earlier, we are obliged to say, is fitted to the later, as the
later is fitted to the earlier; but the relation of means to end, under
which we cannot help figuring the adaptation, is only appearance for our
manner of knowledge. And the harmony described does not get rid of the
conflict inherent in all will.

In this account of Schopenhauer's metaphysical doctrine, I have tried to
make the exposition as smooth as possible; but at two points the
discontinuity can scarcely be concealed. First, the relation of the
universal Will to the individual will is not made clear; and, secondly,
the emergence of the world of presentation, with the knowledge in which
it culminates, is left unintelligible because the will is conceived as
mere blind striving without an aim. As regards the first point,
disciples and expositors have been able to show that, by means of
distinctions in his later writings, apparent contradictions are to some
extent cleared away; and, moreover, that he came to recognise more
reality in the individual will. On the second point, I think it will be
necessary to admit that his system as such breaks down. But both points
must be considered in their connection.

One of the most noteworthy features of Schopenhauer's philosophy is, as
he himself thought, the acceptance from first to last of Kant's
distinction between the 'empirical' and the 'intelligible' character of
the individual. Every act of will of every human being follows with
necessity as phenomenon from its phenomenal causes; so that all the
events of each person's life are determined in accordance with
scientific law. Nevertheless, the character empirically manifested in
the phenomenal world, while it is completely necessitated, is the
expression of something that is free from necessitation. This
'intelligible character' is out of time, and, itself undetermined,
manifests itself through that which develops in time as a chain of
necessary causes and effects. That this doctrine had been taken up,
without any ambiguity as regards the determinism, by Schelling as well
as by himself, he expressly acknowledges; and he finds it, as he also
finds modern idealism, anticipated in various passages by the
Neo-Platonists. His adaptation of it to his doctrine of the Ideas is
distinctly Neo-Platonic in so far as he recognises 'Ideas of
individuals'; but of course to make Will the essence belongs to his own
system. 'The intelligible character,' he says, 'coincides with the Idea,
or, yet more precisely, with the original act of will that manifests
itself in it: in so far, not only is the empirical character of each
man, but also of each animal species, nay, of each plant species, and
even of each original force of inorganic nature, to be regarded as
phenomenon of an intelligible character, that is, of an indivisible act
of will out of time.' This is what he called the '_aseitas_' of the
will; borrowing a scholastic term to indicate its derivation (if we may
speak of it as derived) from itself (_a se_), and not from a supposed
creative act. Only if we adopt this view are we entitled to regard
actions as worthy of moral approval or disapproval. They are such not
because they are not necessitated, but because they necessarily show
forth the nature of an essence the freedom of which consists in being
what it is. Yet he could not but find a difficulty in reconciling this
with his position that the one universal Will is identical in all
things, and in each is 'individuated' only by space and time. For the
Ideas, like the thing-in-itself, are eternal, that is, outside of time
as well as space; and all the things now enumerated, forces of nature,
plant and animal species, and individual characters of men, are declared
to be in themselves Ideas.

He in part meets this difficulty by the subtlety that time and space do
not, strictly speaking, determine individuality, but arise along with
it. The diremption of individualities becomes explicit in those forms.
Yet he must have perceived that this is not a complete answer, and
various modifications can be seen going on. His first view clearly was
that the individual is wholly impermanent, and at death simply
disappears; nothing is left but the one Will and the universal Subject
of contemplation identical in all. Metempsychosis is the best
mythological rendering of what happens, but it is no more. Later, he
puts forward the not very clearly defined theory of a 'palingenesia' by
which a particular will, but not the intellect that formerly accompanied
it, may reappear in the phenomenal world. And the hospitality he showed
to stories of magic, clairvoyance, and ghost-seeing, is scarcely
compatible with the view that the individual will is no more than a
phenomenal differentiation of the universal will. A speculation (not put
forward as anything more) on the appearance of a special providence in
the destiny of the individual, points, as Professor Volkelt has noted,
to the idea of a guidance, not from without, but by a kind of good
daemon or genius that is the ultimate reality of the person. On all this
we must not lay too much stress; but there is certainly one passage that
can only be described as a definite concession that the individual is
real in a sense not at first allowed. Individuality, it is said in so
many words (_Parerga_, ii. § 117), does not rest only on the 'principle
of individuation' (time and space), and is therefore not through and
through phenomenon, but is rooted in the thing-in-itself. 'How deep its
roots go belongs to the questions which I do not undertake to
answer.'[1]

  [1] _Werke_, ed. Frauenstädt, vol. vi. p. 243.

This tends to modify considerably, but does not overthrow,
Schopenhauer's original system. In very general terms, he is in the
number of the 'pantheistic' thinkers; and it is remarkable, on
examination, how these, in Europe at least, have nearly always
recognised in the end some permanent reality in the individual. This is
contrary to first impressions: but the great names may be cited of
Plotinus, John Scotus Erigena, Giordano Bruno, Spinoza (in Part v. of
the _Ethics_), and finally of Schopenhauer's special aversion, Hegel,
who has been supposed most unfavourable of all to any recognition of
individuality as real. It is more true, Hegel maintains, that the
individuality determines its world than that it is determined by it; and
there is no explanation why the determination should be such and such
except that the individuality was already what it is.[2] And, if
Schopenhauer's more imaginative speculations seek countenance from the
side of empiricism, there is nothing in them quite so audacious as a
speculation of J. S. Mill on disembodied mind, thrown out during the
time when he was writing his _Logic_.[3]

  [2] _Phänomenologie des Geistes_, Jubiläumsausgabe, ed. G. Lasson, pp.
  201-3.

  [3] Letter to Robert Barclay Fox, May 10, 1842. Printed in Appendix to
  _Letters and Journals of Caroline Fox_, third ed., vol. ii. pp. 331-2.
  'To suppose that the eye is _necessary_ to sight,' says Mill, 'seems to
  me the notion of one immersed in matter. What we call our bodily
  sensations are all in the mind, and would not necessarily or probably
  cease, because the body perishes.'

The association with pantheism Schopenhauer accepts in principle, though
the name is not congenial to him. In his system the Will is one and all,
like the 'Deus' of Spinoza. The difference is that, instead of ascribing
perfection to the universe that is its manifestation, he regards the
production of a world as a lapse from which redemption is to be sought.
His doctrine has been rightly described, in common with the predominant
philosophical doctrines of his period, as a resultant of the deepened
subjective analysis brought by Kant into modern philosophy on the one
side, and of the return to Spinoza in the quest for unity of principle
on the other. Why, then, it may be asked, are Fichte, Schelling, and
Hegel the constant objects of his attack? The true explanation is not
the merely external one, that they were his successful rivals for public
favour, but is to be found in a real antithesis of thought. Within the
limits of the idealism they all hold in common, Schopenhauer is at the
opposite pole. In spite of his attempt to incorporate the Platonic
Ideas, and in spite of his following of Kant, whose 'intelligible world'
was in essence Platonic or neo-Platonic, he could find no place in his
system for a rational order at the summit. Now this order was precisely
what Fichte and Hegel aimed at demonstrating. If Schopenhauer is less
unsympathetic in his references to Schelling, that is because
Schelling's world-soul appeared to him to prefigure his own attempt to
discover in nature the manifestation of a blindly striving will or
feeling rather than reason. Suspicious as he shows himself of possible
plagiarisms by others, the charge cannot be retorted against himself.
The supreme principle of Fichte, it has been pointed out, has an
actively volitional character and was formulated before Schopenhauer's:
but then it is essentially rational. For Hegel, what is supreme is the
world-reason. Hence they are at one with Plato in holding that in some
sense 'mind is king.' For Schopenhauer, on the contrary, mind, or pure
intellect, is an emancipated slave. Having reached its highest point,
and seen through the work of the will, it does not turn back and
organise it, but abolishes it as far as its insight extends.

Yet to say merely this is to give a wrong impression of Schopenhauer.
Starting though he does with blind will, and ending with the flight of
the ascetic from the suffering inherent in the world that is the
manifestation of such a will, he nevertheless, in the intermediate
stages, makes the world a cosmos and not a chaos. And the Platonists on
their side have to admit that 'the world of all of us' does not present
itself on the surface as a manifestation of pure reason, and that it
is a serious task to 'rationalise' it. Where he completely fails
is where the Platonic systems also fail, though from the opposite
starting-point. His attempt to derive presentation, intellect,
knowledge, from blind striving, is undoubtedly a failure. But so also
is the attempt of the Platonising thinkers to deduce a world of mixture
from a principle of pure reason without aid from anything else
empirically assumed. Not that in either case there is failure to give
explanations in detail; but in both cases much is taken from experience
without reduction to the principles of the system. What we may say by
way of comparison is this: that if Schopenhauer had in so many words
recognised an immanent Reason as well as Will in the reality of the
universe, he would have formally renounced his pessimism; while it
cannot be said that on the other side a more explicit empiricism in the
account of the self-manifestation of Reason would necessarily destroy
the optimism.



CHAPTER IV

ÆSTHETICS


A portion of Schopenhauer's system by which its pessimism is
considerably mitigated is his theory of the Beautiful and of Fine Art.
The characteristic of æsthetic contemplation is, he finds, that
intellect throws off the yoke and subsists purely for itself as clear
mirror of the world, free from all subjection to practical purposes of
the will. In this state of freedom, temporary painlessness is attained.

The theory starts from his adaptation of the Platonic Ideas. Regarded
purely as an æsthetic theory, it departs from Plato, as he notes; for,
with the later Platonists, who took up the defence of poetic myths and
of the imitative arts as against their master, he holds that Art
penetrates to the general Idea through the particular, and hence that
the work of art is no mere 'copy of a copy.' The difference of the Idea
from the Concept is that it is not merely abstract and general, but
combines with generality the characters of an intuition.

The Ideas, as we have seen, constitute the determinate stages of
objectivation of the Will. The innumerable individuals of which the
Ideas are the patterns are subject to the law of sufficient reason. They
appear, that is to say, under the forms of time, space, and causality.
The Idea is beyond these forms, and therefore is clear of plurality and
change. Since the law of sufficient reason is the common form under
which stands all the subject's knowledge so far as the subject knows as
individual, the Ideas lie outside the sphere of knowledge of the
individual as such. If, therefore, the Ideas are to be the object of
knowledge, this can only be by annulling individuality in the knowing
subject.

As thing-in-itself, the Will is exempt even from the first of the forms
of knowledge, the form of being 'object for a subject.' The Platonic
Idea, on the other hand, is necessarily an object, something known, a
presentation. It has laid aside, or rather has not taken on, the
subordinate forms; but it has retained the first and most general form.
It is the immediate and most adequate possible objectivity of the Will;
whereas particular things are an objectivation troubled by the forms of
which the law of sufficient reason is the common expression.

When intellect breaks loose from the service of the will, for which it
was originally destined in the teleology of nature, then the subject
ceases to be merely individual and becomes pure will-less subject of
knowledge. In this state the beholder no longer tracks out relations in
accordance with the principle of sufficient reason--which is the mode of
scientific as well as of common knowledge--but rests in fixed
contemplation of the given object apart from its connection with
anything else. The contemplator thus 'lost' in the object, it is not the
single thing as such that is known, but the Idea, the eternal form, the
immediate objectivity of the Will at this stage. The correlate of this
object--the pure Subject exempt from the principle of sufficient
reason--is eternal, like the Idea.

The objectivation of the Will appears faintly in inorganic
things,--clouds, water, crystals,--more fully in the plant, yet more
fully in the animal, most completely in man. Only the essential in these
stages of objectivation constitutes the Idea. Its development into
manifold phenomena under the forms of the principle of sufficient
reason, is unessential, lies merely in the mode of knowledge for the
individual, and has reality only for this. It is not otherwise with the
unfolding of that Idea which is the completest objectivation of the
Will. To the Idea of Man, the occurrences of human history are as
unessential as the shapes they assume to the clouds, as the figures of
its whirlpools and foam-drift to the stream, as its frost-flowers to the
ice. The same underlying passions and dispositions everlastingly recur
in the same modes. It is idle to suppose that anything is gained. But
also nothing is lost: so the Earth-spirit might reply to one who
complained of high endeavours frustrated, faculties wasted, promises of
world-enlightenment brought to nought; for there is infinite time to
dispose of, and all possibilities are for ever renewed.

The kind of knowledge for which the Ideas are the object of
contemplation finds its expression in Art, the work of genius. Art
repeats in its various media the Ideas grasped by pure contemplation.
Its only end is the communication of these. While Science, following the
stream of events according to their determinate relations, never reaches
an ultimate end, Art is always at the end. 'It stops the wheel of time;
relations vanish for it: only the essence, the Idea, is its object.' The
characteristic of genius is a predominant capacity for thus
contemplating things independently of the principle of sufficient
reason. Since this requires a forgetting of one's own person and the
relations between it and things, the attitude of genius is simply the
completest 'objectivity.' The 'subjectivity' opposed to this, in
Schopenhauer's phraseology, is preoccupation with the interests of one's
own will. It is, he says, as if there fell to the share of genius a
measure of intelligence far beyond the needs of the individual will: and
this makes possible the setting aside of individual interests, the
stripping off of the particular personality, so that the subject becomes
'pure knowing subject,' 'clear world-eye,' in a manner sufficiently
sustained for that which has been grasped to be repeated in the work of
art. A necessary element in genius is therefore Imagination. For without
imagination to represent, in a shape not merely abstract, things that
have not come within personal experience, genius would remain limited to
immediate intuition, and could not make its vision apprehensible by
others. Nor without imagination could the particular things that express
the Idea be cleared of the imperfections by which their limited
expression of it falls short of what nature was aiming at in their
production. 'Inspiration' is ascribed to genius because its
characteristic attitude is intermittent. The man of genius cannot always
remain on a height, but has to fall back to the level of the common man,
who can scarcely at all regard things except as they affect his
interests,--have a relation to his will, direct or indirect.

This is the statement in its first outline of a theory that became one
of Schopenhauer's most fruitful topics. Many are the pages he has
devoted to the contrast between the man of genius and 'the wholesale
ware of nature, which she turns out daily by thousands.' The genius is
for him primarily the artist. Scientific genius as a distinctive thing
he does not fully recognise; and he regards men of action, and
especially statesmen, rather as men of highly competent ability
endowed with an exceptionally good physical constitution than as men of
genius in the proper sense. Philosophers like himself, who, as he
frankly says, appear about once in a hundred years, he classes in the
end with the artists; though this was left somewhat indeterminate in his
first exposition. The weakness of the man of genius in dealing with the
ordinary circumstances of life he allows, and even insists on. Genius,
grasping the Idea in its perfection, fails to understand individuals. A
poet may know man profoundly, and men very ill. He admits the proximity
of genius to madness on one side, and explains it in this way. What
marks the stage of actual madness, as distinguished from illusion or
hallucination, is complete disruption of the memory of past life, of the
history of the personality as something continuous; so that the
particular thing is viewed by itself, out of relation. This gives a kind
of resemblance to the attitude of genius, for which present intuition
excludes from view the relations of things to each other. Or, as we may
perhaps sum up his thought in its most general form, 'alienation' or
dissolution of personality has the resemblance often noted between
extremes to the impersonality, or, as he calls it, 'objectivity,' that
is super-personal.

In spite of his contempt for the crowd, he has to admit, of course, that
the capacity of genius to recognise the Ideas of things and to become
momentarily impersonal must in some measure belong to all men;
otherwise, they could not even enjoy a work of art when produced. Genius
has the advantage only in the much higher degree and the greater
prolongation of the insight. Since, then, the actual achievement of the
artist is to make us look into the world through his eyes, the feelings
for the beautiful and the sublime may be treated irrespectively of the
question whether they are aroused by nature and human life directly or
by means of art.

Æsthetic pleasure in contemplation of the beautiful proceeds partly from
recognition of the individual object not as one particular thing but as
Platonic Idea, that is, as the enduring form of this whole kind of
things; partly from the consciousness the knower has of himself not as
individual, but as pure, will-less Subject of Knowledge. All volition
springs out of need, therefore out of want, therefore out of suffering.
No attained object of will can give permanent satisfaction. Thus, there
can be no durable happiness or rest for us as long as we are subjects of
will. 'The Subject of Will lies continually on the turning wheel of
Ixion, draws ever in the sieve of the Danaides, is the eternally
thirsting Tantalus. But in the moment of pure objective contemplation,
free from all interest of the particular subjectivity, we enter a
painless state: the wheel of Ixion stands still. The Flemish painters
produce this æsthetic effect by the sense of disinterested contemplation
conveyed in their treatment of insignificant objects. There are certain
natural scenes that have power in themselves, apart from artistic
treatment, to put us in this state; but the slightest obtrusion of
individual interest destroys the magic. Past and distant objects,
through their apparent detachment, have the same power. The essential
thing æsthetically, whether we contemplate the present or the past, the
near or the distant, is that only the world of presentation remains; the
world as will has vanished.

The difference between the feelings of the Beautiful and of the Sublime
is this. In the feeling of the beautiful, pure intelligence gains the
victory without a struggle, leaving in consciousness only the pure
subject of knowledge, so that no reminiscence of the will remains. In
the feeling of the sublime, on the other hand, the state of pure
intelligence has to be won by a conscious breaking loose from relations
in the object that suggest something threatening to the will; though
there must not be actual danger; for in that case the individual will
itself would come into play, and æsthetic detachment would cease.
Elevation above the sense of terror has not only to be consciously won
but consciously maintained, and involves a continuous reminiscence, not
indeed of any individual will, but of the will of man in general, so far
as it is expressed through its objectivity, the human body, confronted
by forces hostile to it. Pre-eminently this feeling arises from
contrast between the immensities of space and time and the apparent
insignificance of man. It means in the last resort that the beholder is
upheld by the consciousness that as pure subject of knowledge (not as
individual subject) he himself bears within him all the worlds and all
the ages, and is eternal as the forces that vainly seem to threaten him
with annihilation.

On the objective side, and apart from the subjective distinction just
set forth, the sublime and the beautiful are not essentially different.
In both cases alike, the object of æsthetic contemplation is not the
single thing, but the Idea that is striving towards manifestation in it.
Whatever is viewed æsthetically is viewed out of relation to time and
space: 'along with the law of sufficient reason the single thing and the
knowing individual are taken away, and nothing remains over but the Idea
and the pure Subject of Knowledge, which together make up the adequate
objectivity of the Will at this stage.' There is thus a sense in which
everything is beautiful; since the Will appears in everything at some
stage of objectivity, and this means that it is the expression of some
Idea. But one thing can be more beautiful than another by facilitating
æsthetic contemplation. This facilitation proceeds either from the
greater clearness and perfection with which the particular thing shows
forth the Idea of its kind, or from the higher stage of objectivation to
which that Idea corresponds. Man being the highest stage of
objectivation of the Will, the revelation of his essence is the highest
aim of art. In æsthetic contemplation of inorganic nature and vegetative
life, whether in the reality or through the medium of art, and in
appreciation of architecture, the subjective aspect, that is to say, the
enjoyment of pure will-less knowledge, is predominant; the Ideas
themselves being here lower stages of objectivity. On the other hand,
when animals and men are the object of æsthetic contemplation or
representation, the enjoyment consists more in the objective
apprehension of those Ideas in which the essence of the Will is most
clearly and fully manifested.

Of all Schopenhauer's work, its æsthetic part has met with the most
general appreciation. Here especially he abounds in observations drawn
directly, in his own phrase, from intuition. To make a selection of
these, however, is not appropriate to a brief sketch like the present. I
pass on, therefore, to those portions of his theory of Art by which he
makes the transition, in terms of his system, to Morality.

From Architecture onward the arts are obliged to represent the Will as
divided. Here, at the first stage, its division subsists only in a
conflict of inorganic forces which have to be brought to equilibrium.
The conflict between weight and rigidity is in truth the only æsthetic
material of architecture as a fine art. When we come to animal and
lastly to human life, which, in the Plastic Arts and in Poetry, as form,
individualised expression, and action, is the highest object of æsthetic
representation, the vehemence of divided will is fully revealed; and
here too is revealed the essential identity of every will with our own.
In the words of the Indian wisdom, 'Tat twam asi'; 'that thou art.'
Under the head of Ethics it will be shown expressly that by this
insight, when it reacts on the will, the will can deny itself. For the
temporary release from its striving, given in æsthetic contemplation, is
then substituted permanent release. To this 'resignation,' the innermost
essence of all virtue and holiness, and the final redemption from the
world, Art itself, at its highest stages, points the way.

The summits of pictorial and poetic art Schopenhauer finds in the great
Italian painters so far as they represent the ethical spirit of
Christianity, and in the tragic poets, ancient and modern. It is true
that the poverty of their sacred history or mythology puts the Christian
artists at a disadvantage; but events are merely the accidents of their
art. Not in these, as related according to the law of sufficient reason,
is the essence, but in the spirit we divine through the forms portrayed.
In their representation of men full of that spirit, and especially in
the eyes, we see mirrored the knowledge that has seized the whole
essence of the world and of life, and that has reacted on the will, not
so as to give it motives, but as a 'quietive'; whence proceeds complete
resignation, and with it the annulling of the will and of the whole
essence of this world. Of tragedy, the subject-matter is the conflict of
the will with itself at its highest stage of objectivity. Here also the
end is the resignation brought on by complete knowledge of the essence
of the world. The hero, on whom at last this knowledge has acted as a
quietive, gives up, not merely life, but the whole will to live. 'The
true meaning of tragedy is the deeper insight, that what the hero
expiates is not his particular sins, but original sin, that is, the
guilt of existence itself.' To illustrate this position Schopenhauer is
fond of quoting a passage from Calderon which declares that the greatest
sin of man is to have been born.

It seems strange that, after deriding as he does the popular notion of
'poetic justice' so detached a thinker should imagine an at least
equally one-sided view to receive its final confirmation from the
Spanish dramatist's poetic phrasing of a Christian dogma. The great
tragic poets, for Schopenhauer also, are Æschylus, Sophocles and
Shakespeare. Now it is safe to say that by none of these was any such
general doctrine held either in conceptual or in intuitive form. The
whole effect of any kind of art, of course he would admit, cannot be
packed into a formula; but if we seek one as an aid to understanding,
some adaptation of his own theory of the sublime would probably serve
much better as applied to tragedy than his direct theory of the drama.
In the case of pictorial art, all that is proved by what he says about
the representation of ascetic saintliness, is that this, like many other
things, can be so brought within the scope of art as to make us
momentarily identify ourselves with its Idea in the impersonal manner he
has himself described. His purely æsthetic theory is quite adequate to
the case, without any assumption that this is the representation of what
is best. Art, pictorial or poetic, can no more prove pessimism than
optimism. We pick out expressions of one or the other for quotation
according to our moods or subjective preferences; but, if we have the
feeling for art itself, our sense of actual æsthetic value ought to be
independent of these.

Schopenhauer's æsthetic theory, however, does not end here. There
follows the part of it by which he has had an influence on artists
themselves. For him, a position separate from all the other arts is held
by music. While the rest objectify the Will mediately, that is to say,
by means of the Ideas, Music is as immediate an objectivation of the
whole Will as the world itself, or as the Ideas, of which the pluralised
phenomenon constitutes the sum of particular things. The other arts
speak of the shadow, music of the substance. There is indeed a
parallelism, an analogy, between Music and the Ideas; yet Music never
expresses the phenomenon in which these are manifested, but only the
inner essence behind the appearance, the Will itself. In a sense it
renders not feeling in its particularity, but feeling _in abstracto_;
joy, sorrow, not a joy, a sorrow. The phenomenal world and music are to
be regarded as two different expressions of the same thing. The world
might be called embodied Music as well as embodied Will. 'Melodies are
to a certain extent like general concepts, an abstract of reality.' A
complete explanation of music, that is, a detailed repetition of it in
concepts, were this possible, would be a complete explanation of the
world (since both express the same thing) and therefore a true and final
philosophy. As music only reaches its perfection in the full harmony,
'so the one Will out of time finds its perfect objectivation only in
complete union of all the stages which in innumerable degrees of
heightened distinctness reveal its essence.' But here, too, Schopenhauer
adds, the Will is felt, and can be proved, to be a divided will; and the
deliverance wrought by this supreme art, as by all the others, is only
temporary.



CHAPTER V

ETHICS


Permanent redemption from the suffering of the world is to be found only
in the holiness of the ascetic; but to this there are many stages,
constituting the generally accepted human virtues. Of these Schopenhauer
has a rational account to give in terms of his philosophy; and if the
last stage does not seem to follow by logical sequence from the others,
this is only what is to be expected; for it is reached, in his view, by
a sort of miracle. To the highest kind of intuitive knowledge, from
which the ascetic denial of the will proceeds, artistic contemplation
ought to prepare the way; and so also, on his principles, ought the
practice of justice and goodness. Yet he is obliged to admit that few
thus reach the goal. Of those that do reach it, the most arrive through
personal suffering, which may be deserved. A true miracle is often
worked in the repentant criminal, by which final deliverance is
achieved. Though the 'intelligible character' is unalterable, and the
empirical character can only be the unfolding of this, as every great
dramatist intuitively recognises, yet the 'convertites,' like Duke
Frederick in _As You Like It_, are not to be regarded as hypocrites. The
'second voyage' to the harbour, that of the disappointed egoist, on
condition of this miracle, brings the passenger to it as surely as the
first, that of the true saints, which is only for the few. And in these
equally a miraculous conversion of the will has to be finally worked.

At the entrance to his distinctive theory of ethics, Schopenhauer places
a restatement of his metaphysics as the possible basis of a mode of
contemplating life which, he admits, has some community with an
optimistic pantheism. The Will, through the presentation and the
accompanying intelligence developed in its service, becomes conscious
that that which it wills is precisely the world, life as it is. To call
it 'the will to live' is therefore a pleonasm. 'Will' and 'will to live'
are equivalent. For this will, life is everlastingly a certainty.
'Neither the will, the thing-in-itself in all phenomena, nor the subject
of knowledge, the spectator of all phenomena, is ever touched by birth
and death.' It is true that the individual appears and disappears; but
individuality is illusory. Past and future exist only in conceptual
thought. 'The form of life is a present without end, howsoever the
individuals, phenomena of the Idea, come into existence and vanish in
time, like fugitive dreams.' Only as phenomenon is each man different
from the other things of the world: as thing-in-itself he is the Will,
which appears in all, and death takes away the illusion that divides his
consciousness from the rest. 'Death is a sleep in which the
individuality is forgotten: everything else wakes again, or rather has
remained awake.' It is, in the expression adopted by Schopenhauer later,
an awakening from the dream of life: though this bears with it somewhat
different implications; and, as has been said, his theory of
individuality became modified.

With the doctrine of the eternal life of the Will are connected
Schopenhauer's theories, developed later, of the immortality of the
species and of individualised sexual love. The latter is by itself a
remarkable achievement, and constitutes the one distinctly new
development brought to completion in his later years; for the
modifications in his theory of individuality are only tentative. His
theory of love has a determinate conclusion, of great value for
science, and not really compatible, it seems to me, with his pessimism.
In its relation to ethics, on which he insisted, it is rightly placed in
the position it occupies, between the generalised statement of his
metaphysics just now set forth on the one side, and his theory of human
virtue on the other.

The teleology that manifests itself in individualised love is, in his
view, not related in reality to the interests of the individual life,
but to those of the species. That this is immortal follows from the
eternity of the Idea it unfolds.[4] The end sought is aimed at
unconsciously by the person. Fundamentally, for Schopenhauer, teleology
must of course be unconscious, since the will is blind, and will, not
intelligence, is primordial. Its typical case is the instinct of
animals; but the 'instinctive' character belongs also to the
accomplishment of the highest aims, as in art and virtue. What
characterises individualised love internally is the aim, attributed to
'nature' or 'the species,' at a certain typical beauty or perfection of
the offspring. The lover is therefore deluded in thinking that he is
seeking his own happiness. What looks through the eyes of lovers is the
genius of the race, meditating on the composition of the next
generation. It may, in the complexity of circumstances, be thwarted.
When it reaches its end, often personal happiness is sacrificed.
Marriages dictated by interest tend to be happier than love-matches.
Yet, though the sacrifice of the individual to the race is involuntary
in these, egoism is after all overcome; hence they are quite rightly the
object of a certain admiration and sympathy, while the prudential ones
are looked upon with a tinge of contempt. For here too that element
appears which alone gives nobility to the life either of intellect or of
art or of moral virtue, namely, the rising above a subjective interest
of the individual will.

  [4] The disappearance of species in time raises difficulties in more
  than one way for his philosophy; but he formally escapes refutation by
  the suggestion, already noted, that the Idea need not always be
  manifested phenomenally in the same world. This, however, he did not
  work out.

No doubt there are touches of pessimism in this statement; but the
general theory does not seem reconcilable finally with pessimism as
Schopenhauer understands it. For it is a definitely stated position of
his that nature keeps up the process of the world by yielding just
enough to prevent discontinuance of the striving for an illusory end.
Yet he admits here in the result something beyond bare continuance of
life; for this is already secured without the particular modification of
feeling described. What the feeling is brought in to secure is a better
realisation of the type in actual individuals; and such realisation is
certainly more than bare subsistence with the least possible expenditure
of nature's resources.

As the immediate preliminary to his ethics proper, Schopenhauer restates
his doctrine on the intelligible and the empirical character in man, and
lays down a generalised psychological position regarding the suffering
inherent in life. Everything as phenomenon, we have seen already, is
determined because it is subject to the law of sufficient reason. On the
other hand, everything as thing-in-itself is free; for 'freedom' means
only non-subjection to that law. The intelligible character of each man
is an indivisible, unalterable act of will out of time; the developed
and explicit phenomenon of this in time and space is the empirical
character. Man is his own work, not in the light of knowledge, but
before all knowledge; this is secondary and an instrument. Ultimately,
freedom is a mystery, and takes us beyond even will as the name for the
thing-in-itself. In reality, that which is 'will to live' need not have
been such (though we cannot see how this is so), but has become such
from itself and from nothing else. This is its '_aseitas_.' Hence it is
in its power to deny itself as will to live. When it does this, the
redemption (like the fall) comes from itself. This denial does not mean
annihilation, except relatively to all that we know under the forms of
our understanding. For the will, though the nearest we can get to the
thing-in-itself, is in truth a partially phenomenalised expression of
this. As the will to live expresses itself phenomenally, so also does
the denial of the will to live, when this, by special 'grace,' is
achieved. Only in man does the freedom thus attained find phenomenal
expression. That man can attain to it proves that in him the will has
reached its highest possible stage of objectivation; for, after it has
turned back and denied itself, there is evidently nothing more that we
can call existence, that is to say, phenomenal existence, beyond. What
there is beyond in the truth of being is something that the mystics
know--or rather, possess, for it is beyond knowledge--but cannot
communicate.

The psychological reason that can be assigned for the ascetic flight
from the world is that all pleasure, happiness, satisfaction, is merely
negative. The will is a striving that has no ultimate aim. It is
sustained only by hindrances. Hindrance means suffering; and every
satisfaction attained is only temporary, a mere liberation from need,
want, pain, which is positive. Suffering increases with the degree of
consciousness. The life of civilised man is an alternation between pain
and _ennui_, which can itself become as intolerable a suffering as
anything. The problem of moral philosophy, then, is ultimately how
redemption from such a world is to be attained, but only so far as this
is a matter of conceptual knowledge. For philosophy, being from
beginning to end theoretical, cannot work the practical miracle by which
the will denies itself.

The intuitive, as distinguished from merely conceptual, knowledge by
which the return is made, consists essentially in a clear insight into
the identity of the suffering will in all things and the necessity of
its suffering as long as it is will to live. This, then, is the true
foundation of morality. The universe as metaphysical thing-in-itself, as
noumenon, has an ethical meaning. All its stages of objectivation,
though in the process what seems to be aimed at is preservation of the
will as manifested, have in truth for their ultimate aim its redemption
by suppression of the phenomenal world in which it manifests itself.

Affirmation of the will is affirmation of the body, which is the
objectivity of the will. The sexual impulse, since it affirms life
beyond the death of the individual, is the strongest of
self-affirmations. In it is found the meaning of the mythical
representation that has taken shape in the theological dogma of original
sin. For by this affirmation going beyond the individual body, suffering
and death, as the necessary accompaniment of the phenomenon of life, are
reaffirmed, and the possibility of redemption this time declared
fruitless. But through the whole process there runs eternal justice. The
justification of suffering is that the will affirms itself; and the
self-affirmation is justified by payment of the penalty.

Before the final redemption--which is not for the world but for the
individual--there are many stages of ethical progress. These consist in
the gradual overcoming of egoism by sympathy. And here Schopenhauer
proceeds to set forth a practical scheme for the social life of man,
differing from ordinary utilitarianism only by reducing all sympathy to
pity, in accordance with his view that there can be no such thing as
positive happiness.

He begins with a theory of justice, legal and moral, very much on the
lines of Hobbes, except that he regards it as up to a certain point _a
priori_. Here he is consistent throughout. As in his philosophical
account of mathematics and physics, so also in his aesthetics and
ethics, he retained, side by side with a strong empirical tendency,
belief in certain irreducible _a priori_ forms without which our
knowledge cannot be constituted. The pure ethical theory of justice, he
says, bears to the political theory the relation of pure to applied
mathematics. Injustice he holds to be the positive conception. It means
the breaking into the sphere of another person's will to live. The
self-affirmation of the will that appears in one individual body is
extended to denial of the will that appears in other bodies. Justice
consists in non-encroachment. There is a 'natural right,' or 'moral
right,' of resistance to injustice by infliction of what, apart from the
attempted encroachment, would be wrong. Either force or deception may be
used; as either may be the instrument of injustice. The purely ethical
doctrine of justice applies only to action; since only the not doing of
injustice depends on us. With the State and its laws, the relation is
reversed. The object of these is to prevent the suffering of injustice.
The State is not directed against egoism, but has sprung out of a
rationalised collective egoism. It has for its purpose only to avoid the
inconvenient consequences of individual aggressions on others. Outside
of the State, there is a right of self-defence against injustice, but no
right of punishment. The punishment threatened by the State is
essentially a motive against committing wrong, intended to supply the
place of ethical motives for those who are insufficiently accessible to
them. Actual infliction of it is the carrying out of the threat when it
has failed, so that in general the expectation of the penalty may be
certain. Revenge, which has a view to the past, cannot be justified
ethically: punishment is directed only to the future. There is no right
in any one to set himself up as a moral judge and inflict pain; but man
has a right to do what is needful for social security. The criminal's
acts are of course necessitated; but he cannot justly complain of being
punished for them, since it is ultimately from himself, from what he is,
that they sprang.

With the doctrine of 'eternal justice,' touched on above, we pass into a
different region of thought. What is responsible for the guilt in the
world is the Will by which everything exists, and the suffering
everlastingly falls where the guilt is. Take the case of apparently
unpunished injustice (from the human point of view) expressing itself in
the extreme form of deliberate cruelty. Through this also, eternal
justice, from which there is no escape, is fulfilled. 'The torturer and
the tortured are one. The former errs in thinking he has no share in the
torture; the latter in thinking he has no share in the guilt.' For all
the pain of the world is the expiation of the sin involved in the
self-affirmation of will, and the Will as thing-in-itself is one and the
same in all.

If this could satisfy any one, there would be no need to go further. The
whole being as it ought to be, why try to rectify details that are
absolutely indifferent? But of course the implication is that
individuality is simply illusory; and this, as has been said, was a
position that Schopenhauer neither could nor did consistently maintain.
Indeed, immediately after setting forth this theory of 'eternal
justice,' he goes on to a relative justification of those acts of
disinterested vengeance by which a person knowingly sacrifices his own
life for the sake of retribution on some extraordinary criminal. This,
he says, is a form of punishment, not mere revenge, although it involves
an error concerning the nature of eternal justice. Suicide involves a
similar error, in so far as it supposes that the real being of the
individual can be assailed through its phenomenal manifestation. It is
not a denial of the will to live, but a strong affirmation of it, only
not in the given circumstances: different circumstances are desired with
such intensity that the present cannot be borne. Therefore the
individual manifestation of the will is not suppressed. Yet, one might
reply, if individuality is an illusion attached to the appearance in
time and space of a particular organism, it would seem that, with the
disappearance of this, all that distinguishes the individual must
disappear also.

Schopenhauer had no will thus to escape from life; nor did he afterwards
devote himself to expounding further his theory of eternal justice. What
he wrote later, either positively or as mere speculation, implies both
greater reality in the individual and more of cosmic equity to
correspond. His next step, even at his first stage, is to continue the
exposition of a practicable ethics for human life. His procedure
consists in adding beneficence to justice, with the proviso already
mentioned, which is required by his psychology, that all beneficence can
consist only in the relief of pain. For Schopenhauer, as for Comte,
what is to be overcome is 'egoism,' an excessive degree of which is the
mark of the character we call 'bad.' The 'good' is what Comte and
Spencer call the 'altruistic' character. This difference between
characters Schopenhauer goes on to explain in terms of his metaphysics.
The egoist is so deluded by the principle of individuation that he
supposes an absolute cleft between his own person and all others. The
remorse of conscience from which he suffers proceeds in part from an
obscure perception that the principle of individuation is illusory.
Genuine virtue springs out of the intuitive (not merely abstract)
knowledge that recognises in another individuality the same essence as
in one's own. The characteristic of the good man is that he makes less
difference than is customary between himself and others. Justice is an
intermediate stage between the encroaching egoism of the bad and
positive goodness. In the renunciation of rights of property, and
provision for all personal needs without aid from others, practised by
some religious and philosophical ascetics, it is passing over into
something more. There is, however, a certain misunderstanding involved
in so interpreting strict justice; for there are many ways in which the
rich and powerful can be positively beneficent. At the other extreme,
when they simply live on their inherited wealth, without doing anything
in return, their mode of life is morally, though not legally, unjust.
Rights of property Schopenhauer derived from labour spent on the things
appropriated. The injustice, in many ways, of the present social order
he quite recognises. If he has no sympathy with revolutions, it is
because he has no belief in the realisation of an ideal state. This
follows from his view of history. Human life, it is his conviction,
never has been and never will be different as a whole. Redemption from
evil can be attained only by the individual. All that the State can do
is to provide certain very general conditions of security under which
there will be no hindrance to those who desire to live in accordance
with a moral ideal.

Yet there are qualifications to make. Many passages in Schopenhauer's
writings prove his firm belief in the future triumph of reason over
superstition. It is to the honour of humanity, he says, that so
detestable a form of evil as organised religious persecution has
appeared only in one section of history. And, in his own personal case,
he has the most complete confidence that the truths he has put forth
cannot fail sometime to gain a hearing. In all cases, error is only
temporary, and truth will prevail. His language on this subject, and
indeed often on others, is indistinguishable from that of an optimist.

In the last resort, his pessimism entrenches itself behind the
psychological proposition that every satisfaction is negative, being
only the removal of a pain. If this is unsustainable, there is nothing
finally in his Metaphysics of Will to necessitate the pessimistic
conclusion drawn. The mode of deduction by which he proceeds is to argue
first to the position already noticed: that all that love of others on
which morality is based is fundamentally pity. True benevolence can only
be the desire to relieve others' pain, springing from the identification
of this with our own. For that reason, moral virtue must finally pass
over into asceticism--the denial of the will to live. In others, if we
are able to see through the principle of individuation, we recognise the
same essence as in ourselves, and we perceive that as long as this wills
it must necessarily suffer. The end then is to destroy the will to live.
This is to be done by _askesis_, self-mortification. The first step is
complete chastity. If, says Schopenhauer, the highest phenomenon of
will, that is, man, were to disappear through a general refusal to
affirm life beyond the individual body, man's weaker reflexion in the
animal world would disappear also, and the consciousness of the whole
would cease. Knowledge being taken away, the rest would vanish into
nothingness, since there is 'no object without subject.' That this will
come to pass, however, he certainly did not believe. He has no
cosmogony, like that of Hartmann, ending in a general redemption of the
universe by such a collective act. Nor did he hold, like his later
successor Mainländer, that through the conflict and gradual extinction
of individualities, 'this great world shall so wear out to nought.' The
world for him is without beginning and without end. But the exceptional
individual can redeem himself. What he does when he has reached the
height of holiness is by voluntary poverty and all other privations,
inflicted for their own sake, to break and kill the will, which he
recognises as the source of his own and of the world's suffering
existence. In his case not merely the phenomenon ends at death, as with
others, but the being is taken away. To be a 'world-overcomer' in this
sense (as opposed to a 'world-conqueror') is the essence of sanctity
when cleared of all the superstitious dogmas by which the saints try to
explain their mode of life to themselves.

The absolutely pure expression of this truth is to be found only in
philosophy; but of the religions Buddhism comes nearest to expressing it
without admixture. For the Buddhist saint asks aid from no god. True
Christianity, however,--the Christianity of the New Testament and of the
Christian mystics,--agrees both with Buddhism and with Brahmanism in
ultimate aim. What spoils it for Schopenhauer is the Judaic element.
This, on one side, infects it with the optimism of the Biblical story of
creation, in which God 'saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it
was very good.' On the other side, it contaminates the myth of original
sin, which bears in itself a profound philosophical truth, by this same
doctrine of a creative God; from which follows all the injustice and
irrationality necessarily involved in the Augustinian theology, and not
to be expelled except with its theism. Nevertheless, the story of the
Fall of Man, of which that theology, in its fundamentally true part, is
a reasoned expression, is the one thing, Schopenhauer avows, that
reconciles him to the Old Testament. The truth that it clothes he finds
also among the Greeks; Empedocles, after the Orphics and Pythagoreans,
having taught that the soul had been doomed to wander because of some
antenatal sin. And the mysticism that accompanies all these more or less
pure expressions of one metaphysical truth he finds represented by the
Sufis even in optimistic Islam; so that he can claim for his philosophy
a world-wide consent.

Religion, if we take this to include mysticism, at once rises above
philosophy and falls below it. As 'metaphysics of the people,' it is a
mythological expression of philosophical truth: as mysticism, it is a
kind of 'epi-philosophy.' Beyond pure philosophy Schopenhauer does not
profess to go; but he accepts what the mystics say as the description of
a positive experience which becomes accessible when supreme insight is
attained intuitively. For the philosopher as such, insight into that
which is beyond the forms of our knowledge and even beyond the will
itself, remains only conceptual; though it is within the province of
philosophy to mark out the place for this. The 'something else' that is
left when the will has been denied, is indicated by the 'ecstasy,'
'illumination,' 'union with God,' spoken of by the mystics.
Paradoxically, some of the mystics themselves even have identified it
with 'nothing'; but the result of the denial of the will to live is to
be called nothing only in relation to the world as we know it. 'On the
other hand, to those in whom the will has turned back and denied itself,
this so very real world of ours with all its suns and milky ways
is--nothing.'

In this terminus of his philosophy, Schopenhauer recognised his kinship
with Indian thought, of which he was a lifelong student. To call his
doctrine a kind of Buddhism is, however, in some ways a misapprehension.
Undoubtedly he accepts as his ideal the ethical attitude that he finds
to be common to Buddhism and the Christianity of the New Testament; but
metaphysical differences mark him off from both. We have seen that he
rejects the extra-mundane God of Semitic derivation, adopted by
historical Christianity. Indeed he is one of the most pronounced
anti-Jehovists of all literature. But equally his belief in a positive
metaphysical doctrine marks him off from Buddhism, according to the
account given of it by its most recent students, who regard it either as
ultimately nihilistic or as having no metaphysics at all, but only a
psychology and ethics. Nor can he be precisely identified with the
Vedantists of orthodox Hinduism. Their ultimate reality, if we are to
find an analogue for it in European metaphysics, seems to resemble the
hypostasised _ego_ of Fichte, or the Kantian 'transcendental unity of
apperception', much more than it resembles Schopenhauer's blindly
striving will as thing-in-itself. Even in practical ethics, he does not
follow the Indian systems at all closely. Philosophical doctrines of
justice are of course purely European; and Schopenhauer himself points
out the sources of his own theory. In his extension of ethics to
animals, on which he lays much stress, he cites the teachings of Eastern
non-Semitic religions as superior to the rest; but he does not follow
the Indians, nor even the Pythagoreans, so far as to make abstinence
from flesh part of the ideal. He condemns vivisection on the ground that
animals have rights: certain ways of treating them are unjust, not
simply uncompassionate. The discussion here again is of course wholly
within European thought. Thus, in trying to determine his significance
for modern philosophy, we may consider his system in its immediate
environment, leaving it to more special students to determine how far it
received a peculiar colouring from the Oriental philosophies, of which,
in his time, the more exact knowledge was just beginning to penetrate to
the West.



CHAPTER VI

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE


Schopenhauer is not one of the philosophers who have founded a school,
though he has had many disciples and enthusiastic admirers. The
pessimism that was for a time a watchword with certain literary groups
has passed as a mode, and his true significance must be sought
elsewhere. Of the thinkers who have followed him in his pessimism, two
indeed stand out as the architects of distinct systems, Eduard von
Hartmann and Philipp Mainländer (both already incidentally referred to);
but while they are to be classed unquestionably as philosophers, their
systems contain an element that their master would have regarded as
mythological. Schopenhauer declared as clearly as any of the Greeks that
the phenomenal world is without beginning and without end. Kant's
positing of an 'antinomy' on this point he regarded as wholly without
rational justification. What Kant calls the 'antithesis,' namely, the
infinite series, can be logically proved for phenomena. The 'thesis,'
which asserts a beginning in time, is defended by mere fallacies. Now
Hartmann and Mainländer both hold, though in different fashions, that
there is a world-process from a beginning to an end, namely, the
extinction of consciousness. This is the redemption of the world. Their
affinity, therefore, seems to be with the Christian Gnostics rather than
with the pure philosophers of the Greek tradition, continued in modern
times by Bruno, Spinoza, and Schopenhauer.

Whatever may be thought of the pessimism by which Schopenhauer's mood is
distinguished from that of his precursors, few will fail to recognise
that special doctrines of his system contain at least a large portion of
truth. His theories of Art, of Genius, and of Love are enough to found
an enduring reputation for any thinker, even if there were nothing else
of value in his writings. But there is much else, both in systematic
construction and in the illumination of detail. I have been inclined to
put forward first of all the translation into idealistic terms of the
universal sentiency held by the Ionian thinkers to be inherent in the
primordial elements of nature. While they viewed the world as an
objective thing having psychological qualities, Schopenhauer, after the
long intermediate process of thought, could treat it as phenomenal
object with a psychological or subjective essence. For both doctrines
alike, however, mind or soul is immanent. Still, it must be allowed that
a difference remains by which Schopenhauer was even more remote than
they were from the later Greek idealism. As they were not materialists,
so they did not exclude reason from the psychical properties of their
substances. Schopenhauer, while he rejected the materialism of their
ancient and modern successors alike, took the step of formally
derationalising the elements of mind. This, no doubt, is unsustainable
ultimately, if reason is ever to emerge from them. Yet the one-sidedness
of the position has had a peculiar value in combating an equally
one-sided rationalistic idealism. This is recognised by clear-sighted
opponents. And Schopenhauer's calling the non-rational or anti-rational
element in the world 'will' helps to make plainer the real problem of
evil. There is truth in the Hegelian paradox that 'pessimism is an
excellent basis for optimism.' An optimist like Plotinus saw that, even
if good comes of evil, the case of the optimist must fail unless evil
can be shown to be a necessary constituent of the world. The Platonic
and Neo-Platonic 'matter,' a principle of diremption or individuation,
like time and space for Schopenhauer, was an attempt to solve this
problem; but something more positive seemed to be needed as the source
of the stronger manifestations of evil. To the strength of these Plato
drew attention in a passage (_Republic_, x. 610[5]) where it is
acknowledged that injustice confers a character of vitality and
sleeplessness upon its possessor. In the notion of a blind and vehement
striving, Schopenhauer supplies something adequate; only, to maintain a
rational optimism, it must be regarded as a necessary element in a
mixture, not as the spring of the whole.

  [5] Cited in one of the introductory essays to Jowett and Campbell's
  edition, vol. ii.

Much might be said on the teleology by which he tries to educe
intelligence from the primordial strife. Against his view, that it is
evolved as a mere instrument for preserving races in a struggle, another
may be set that is ready to hand in a dialogue of Plutarch.[6] The
struggle among animals, it is there incidentally argued, has for its end
to sharpen their intelligence. Both these theories are on the surface
compatible with evolution. If, leaving aside the problem of mechanism,
we try to verify them by the test of results, the latter undoubtedly
seems the more plausible. For if the struggle was a means to the
improvement of intelligence, nature has succeeded more and more;
whereas, if her intention was to preserve races, she has continually
failed. This argument is at any rate perfectly valid against
Schopenhauer himself; for he holds in common with the optimistic
teleologists that 'nature does nothing in vain.'

  [6] _De Sollertia Animalium_, 27.

I will conclude with a few detached criticisms on the ethical doctrine
which he regarded as the culmination of his system. The antithesis, it
may first be noted, between the temporary release from the vehemence of
the will that is gained through art, and the permanent release through
asceticism, is not consistently maintained. Schopenhauer admits that the
knowledge which for the ascetic is the 'quietive' of the will has to be
won anew in a perpetual conflict. 'No one can have enduring rest on
earth.' Again, revision of his doctrine concerning the reality of the
individual would, I think, necessitate revision also of the position
that not only asceticism but 'all true and pure love, nay, even freely
rendered justice, proceeds from seeing through the _principium
individuationis_.' If the individual is in some sense ultimately real,
then love must be to a certain extent literally altruism. We are brought
down to the elementary fact, in terms of the metaphysics of ethics, that
the object of love is a real being that is itself and not ourselves,
though having some resemblance to us and united in a larger whole. An
objection not merely verbal might indeed be taken to Schopenhauer's
metaphysics of ethics strictly on his own ground. If it is purely and
simply the essence of ourselves that we recognise in everything, does
not this reduce all love finally to a well-understood egoism? The
genuine fact of sympathy seems to escape his mode of formulation. And,
in the end, we shall perhaps not find the ascetic to be the supreme
ethical type. Of the self-tormenting kind of asceticism, it is not
enough to say with Schopenhauer that, since it is a world-wide
phenomenon of human nature, it calls for some account from philosophy.
The account may be sufficiently rendered by historical psychology; the
result being to class it as an aberration born of the illusions incident
to a certain type of mind at a certain stage. Indeed, that seems to be
the conclusion of the Buddhists, who claim to have transcended it by
finding it superfluous for the end it aims at. Let us then take, as our
example of the completed type, not the monks of the Thebaid, but the
mild ascetics of the Buddhist communities. Does not this type, even in
its most attractive form, represent a 'second best'? Is not the final
judgment that of Plato, that to save oneself is something, but that
there is no full achievement unless for the life of the State also the
ideal has been brought nearer realisation? When there is nothing in the
world but irredeemable tyranny or anarchy, flight from it may be the
greatest success possible as far as the individual life is concerned;
but this is not the normal condition of humanity. Finally, may not some
actual achievement, either practical or, like that of Schopenhauer,
speculative, even if accompanied by real imperfections of character,
possess a higher human value than the sanctity that rests always in
itself?



SELECTED WORKS


_English Translations_

  _The World as Will and Idea._ Translated by R. B. HALDANE and J. KEMP. 3
    vols. 1883-6.

  _Two Essays_: I. _On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient
    Reason_. II. _On the Will in Nature_. Bohn's Philosophical Library,
    1889.

  _Religion: A Dialogue, and other Essays._ Selected and translated by T.
    BAILEY SAUNDERS. 3rd ed., 1891. [A series of other volumes of
    selections excellently translated by Mr. Saunders has followed.]

  _Selected Essays of Arthur Schopenhauer._ With a Biographical
    Introduction and Sketch of his Philosophy. By E. BELFORT BAX. 1891.

  _The Basis of Morality._ Translated with Introduction and Notes by A. B.
    BULLOCK. 1903.


_Biographical and Expository_

  _Arthur Schopenhauer: His Life and Philosophy._ By HELEN ZIMMERN. 1876.

  _Life of Arthur Schopenhauer._ By Professor W. WALLACE. 1890.

  _La Philosophie de Schopenhauer._ Par TH. RIBOT. 2nd ed., 1885.

  _Arthur Schopenhauer._ Seine Persönlichkeit, seine Lehre, sein Glaube.
    Von JOHANNAES VOLKELT. 3rd ed., 1907.

  _Schopenhauer-Lexikon._ Von JULIUS FRADENSTÄDT. 2 vols., 1871.


Printed by T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to His Majesty at the Edinburgh
University Press





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