Waggish

Holiday Cheer from Eduard von Hartmann

Combining Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Mill, he gives us the best-case scenario:

The second condition of the possibility of victory is that the consciousness of mankind be penetrated by the folly of volition and the misery of all existence; that it have conceived so deep a yearning for the peace and the painlessness of non being, and all the motives hitherto making for volition and existence have been so far seen through in their vanity and nothingness that that yearning after the annihilation of volition and existence attains resistless authority as a practical motive. According to the last chapter, this condition is one whose fulfilment in the hoary age of humanity we may expect with the greatest probability, when the theoretical cognition of the misery of existence is truthfully comprehended, and this cognition gradually more and more overcomes the opposing instinctive emotional judgment, and even becomes a practically efficient feeling, which as a union of present pain memory of former pain, and forefeeling of care and fear becomes a collective feeling in every individual embracing the whole life of the individual and through sympathy the whole world, which at last attains unlimited sway. Doubt as to the general motive power of such an idea at first certainly arising and communicated in more or less abstract form, would not be authorised, for it is the invariably observed course of historically regulative ideas which have arisen in
the brain of an individual, that although they can only be communicated in abstract form, they penetrate in course of time into the heart of the masses, and at last arouse their will to a passionateness not seldom bordering on fanaticism. But if ever an idea was born as feeling, it is the pessimistic sympathy with oneself and everything living and the longing after the peace of non existence, and if ever an idea was called to fulfill its historical mission without turbulence and passion silently but steadily and persistently in the interior of the soul, it is this.

From this point of view too the possibility therefore appears anything but remote that the pessimistic consciousness will one day become the dominant motive of voluntary choice.

Philosophy of the Unconscious By Eduard von Hartmann, William Chatterton Coupland

3 Comments

  1. baroness von laughingstock
    8 January 2009

    might as well put a bullet in my head :)

  2. Susan Sanford
    17 January 2009

    To quote Mr. Toad,

    “That’ll learn ‘em”.

  3. Paul Gowder
    11 February 2009

    Sounds about right to me! If the human condition were decent we wouldn’t have to have a name for it.

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