Saturday, 28th May, 2016
Here is a recording on CD of a radio program on the German philosopher Schopenhauer with various academics giving their thoughts on his life and work. This talk was given on Newstalk Radio last October, and is under an hour long.
Schopenhauer is considered a pessimistic philosopher, thinking this life to be pointless. He was highly influential, especially since his death, influencing such as Wagner and Beckett among others. Bertrand Russell found fault with him on the grounds that he did not live up to his own philosophy. Russell’s private life was not exemplary.
Hegel, Nietzsche and Plato are referenced here. Schopenhauer was influenced by Buddhism and other Eastern thought, and was instrumental in bringing such thought to the West. He had an unhappy life, which may or may not have a bearing on his outlook.
Must a thinker live up to his thought? What price aspiration? A nanny may say to her charges, do as I say, not as I do. Why not a philosopher? Or perhaps his philosophy was not good enough for him, he hoped for something better. Don’t we all?
There is much food for thought here, as ought to be the case with the work of a philosopher. What is this life if full of care we have no time to stand and stare. There’s nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so. To quote other scribblers.
Is a non-practising philosopher a hypocrite? Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue. Many precepts are more honoured in the breach than the observance. The awareness of virtue is no bad thing. To say otherwise would be judgemental. Schopenhauer weighed up life and found it wanting. He found consolation in the fair sex and other pastimes, worshipping virtue from afar.
Theoretical abstractions are all very well in their place but have no place in practice, or so it seems. Had he been a hermit we never would have heard of him. You can’t have it both ways. Or can you? Who practises what they preach? Not many.
Pages of my writing here from the last time up to now. To revert to my main topic, those who can do, those who can’t teach. Is virtue a virtual impossibility? It is as well at least to know when you break the law. There is always the law of gravity.
It is impossible to escape death. To think otherwise is a grave error.