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Life, art and writing,
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This review is from: Penguin Great Ideas : On The Suffering of the World (Paperback)This small book is a good introduction to Schopenhauer's work. Besides his (pessimistic) view on life, death, religion and women, it contains his very influential view on art and writing.
True art reveals out of the endless confusion with a single scene, mood or sensation an essential aspect of life or the nature of man. True art leads one from that which exists only once and never again (the phenomena, the individual, the actuality) to the enduring element in all change. Works of genius contain an unpremeditated, unintentional, unconscious and instinctive element.
For Schopenhauer, music (not opera) is the true universal language (pure weal and woe). Poetry is the art of setting the imagination in action by means of words, while the novel will be higher and nobler the more inner and the less outer life it depicts.
Writers and writing
For Schopenhauer, there are two kinds of writers: those who write for the sake of what they have to say and those who write for the sake of writing (for money).
A multitude of bad writers lives exclusively on the stupid desire of the public: the journalists (in English: day-labourers).
Obscurity and vagueness of expression are always a bad sign: what is clearly thought easily finds it appropriate expression. Those who put together difficult, obscure, ambiguous discourses want to conceal that they have nothing to say.
World, life, death, suicide
For Schopenhauer, `the world is Hell. Life is the expiation for the crime of being born. It is a process of disillusionment. One begins in madness of carnal desire and end in the dissolution of all our parts.'
`Nothing in the world a man has a more incontestable right to than his own life and person.'
Religion and metaphysics
For Schopenhauer, `that a God should create this world of want and misery voluntarily and `de gaité de coeur' saying it is all very good, is quite unacceptable.'
`Metaphysics will never put forth its full powers, because the various religions have taken possession of the metaphysical tendency and paralyze it through imprinting their dogmas upon man in the earliest years. Free investigation of man's existence has been made impossible.'
These short essays and aphorisms reveal crystal-clearly Schopenhauer's formidable and original talent to unearth fundamental and essential aspects of the way of the world, of art and of writing. His magisterial texts should be a model for all those who (want to) have something to say.
A must read for all.