This essay seeks to compare and contrast Schopenhauer and Nietzsche by putting their philosophies of pessimism and optimism in high relief. In relying on Georg Simmel’s analysis, I suspect I may have caricatured Nietzsche in order to write a balanced essay, so feel free to disregard this as an adequate representation of Nietzsche’s multifaceted philosophy. It was originally written for a friend who argued that I had no reason of siding with Schopenhauer over Nietzsche, and it became a lengthy analysis of optimism and pessimism. Continue reading Optimism/Pessimism: Schopenhauer vs Nietzsche
The insights in this entry are based on my readings of two 18th century thinkers of cultural pessimism: Jean Jacques Rousseau and Giacomo Leopardi.
Why things fall apart
Beyond the structures of knowledge, past the artifices of ideas, and beneath our concepts is a chaotic mass of change, where all is flux, nothing remains constant, including our affections or attachments to these inconstant things – for they also vanish and change as well. Our desires or dreams or wishes are elsewhere; tomorrow, yesterday, but not today. Dour pessimists credit the source of suffering with existence in time, for man is a time-bound species. Although it is possible to experience brief, fleeting glimpses into transcendence – timelessness – only animals experience constant timelessness, and perhaps the preconscious ancestors of the human race as well. While animals do experience age and death, they are blissfully ignorant of this. They do not change – and with much simpler lives, they are also much happier. Their ignorance of time wards off thoughts about the future or the past. The ability to compare ourselves to our memories or visualized future allows us to reflect and invent plans to improve ourselves. Being conscious of time, however, turns us into slaves in our dissatisfaction with ourselves, constantly comparing us with others, competing consciously or unconsciously. Continue reading Why things fall apart, or all that’s solid melts in air…
What did the cannibal say to the other cannibal when they were eating a clown? “Does this taste funny to you?”
The Problem of Evil (PoE), as formulated within the philosophical & theological tradition, presupposes that one acknowledges a magisterial god who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good. If such a being exists, then the existence of evil becomes a moral mystery. On the face of things, an all good God would eliminate evil; an all-knowing God would know how to eliminate evil, an all-powerful God would be able to eliminate evil, an all-good God would desire to eliminate evil. Evil shouldn’t exist, if God exists, because everything should already be perfect, precisely because the world is the creation of a perfect creator. Continue reading Kant, Schopenhauer, and the Problem of Evil
Typically, the literature indicates three types of love, such as Eros (erotic, sexual, since Romantic age, “romantic”) Philia (Friendship and family relations) and Agape (Caritas, asexual, unselfish and altruistic), but the most exciting type is Eros. It has been hypercognized, meaning it has been excessively talked about, whether one is in love, looking for love, hurt in love, lost love, or just gossiping about scandals. Oddly, love isn’t a popular topic in the philosophy corpus, after Plato, notwithstanding some half-hearted attempts and concessions. Continue reading Erotic Love
Imagine something too hot to handle. A hot potato. Now, try imagining something too cold to touch. They freeze the handler by draining away all vitality. Perhaps some insights are far too cold to be adequately handled enough to be understood. Unlike most insights that enlighten, these cold insights carry a sense of danger – even potentially harmful for many who deceive themselves. Continue reading Greatest insight
A reading of Schopenhauer, inspires a different view of old Nietzsche. Continue reading Does the abyss look into you?
In Latin that spells “nothing is without reason.” We often say “everything has a reason” when we are trying to explain something, an object or an event. The appropriate philosophical terminology is a bit more technical: the principle of sufficient reason, (PSR) which means all contingent facts have an explanation. Continue reading Nihil est sine ratione
I first encountered philosophical boredom in Nietzsche and Sartre during my early years, and didn’t really grasp the significance or magnitude until I read American Psycho. While vacationing in Italy, I read the majority of the Fritzean corpus and came across two important aphorisms regarding boredom: (paraphrased from memory) if the highest creatures are susceptible to boredom, then the infinitely perfect being is also susceptible to infinite boredom. Therefore when god “rested” on the 7th day he was bored with his creation so he sank to the grass and became a snake…. Continue reading Boredom is not boring in itself.