The World as Will and Representation
No will = No world
The goal of it all
What, we might ask, is the final goal of
Schopenhauer's philosophy, the conclusion toward which it would all
point if it were to be fulfilled?
Schopenhauer answers that question for us
very plainly on pp 411-12.
On the contrary, we freely acknowledge that
what remains after the complete abolition of the will is, for all who
are still full of the will, assuredly nothing. But also conversely,
to those in whom the will has turned and denied itself, this very real
world of ours with all its suns and galaxies, is - nothing.
This "nothing," however, "is
also the Prajna-Paramita of the Buddhists, the 'beyond all knowledge,'
in other words, the point where subject and object no longer exist."
On page 410 he calls this state
that state which is experienced by all who
have attained to complete denial of the will, and which is denoted by
the names ecstasy, rapture, illumination, union with God, and so on.
But such a state cannot really be called knowledge, since it no longer
has the form of subject and object; moreover, it is accessible only
to one's own experience that cannot be further communicated.
You should also take particular note of the
paragraph that begins on the bottom of p. 410 and ends at the top of p.
411, which ends by Schopenhauer acknowledging that the outcome to be anticipated
is "No will: no representation, no world." And yet it will be
important to see exactly what he means by this.
(Some readers of Schopenhauer
have mistakenly believed that suicide was the logical outcome of his philosophy,
but he very clearly opposes this as a solution. See chapter #69 on pp
These are discussion questions for you to
consider and respond to, but only after you feel you
have come to some basic understanding of Schopenhauer's philosophy.
These DQs about Schopenhauer should be discussed only in the last day or two of the week, after most of the week has been spent trying to understand what his ideas are and how they tie together.
- What elements and aspects of his philosophy
do you think are wise, good and healthy, and from which you could learn
- What elements do you think are unwise and
- Which elements of his philosophy might
you eventually choose to include in your own personal worldview (at
least for a while)?
- Which elements will you almost certainly
reject as unworthy of your own philosophy (at least for now)?