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instinctual forces as irrational, and yet guiding forces

(2018-04-23 14:53:19) 下一个
Arthur Schopenhauer 叔本华 (born February 22, 1788, Danzig, Prussia [now Gdańsk, Poland]—died September 21, 1860, Frankfurt am Main [Germany]),

that the universe appears to be a fundamentally irrational place, was also appealing to 20th century thinkers who understood instinctual forces as irrational, and yet guiding, forces underlying human behavior.

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
A man can do what he wants, but not want what he wants.

Arthur Schopenhauer was among the first 19th century philosophers to contend that at its core, the universe is not a rational place. Inspired by Plato and Kant, both of whom regarded the world as being more amenable to reason, Schopenhauer developed their philosophies into an instinct-recognizing and ultimately ascetic outlook, emphasizing that in the face of a world filled with endless strife, we ought to minimize our natural desires for the sake of achieving a more tranquil frame of mind and a disposition towards universal beneficence.


Schopenhauer’s Influence

Schopenhauer’s philosophy has been widely influential, partly because his outlook acknowledges traditional moral values without the need to postulate the existence of God. His view also allows for the possibility of absolute knowledge by means of mystical experience. Schopenhauer also implicitly challenges the hegemony of science and other literalistic modes of expression, substituting in their place, more musical and literary styles of understanding. His recognition — at least with respect to a perspective we typically cannot avoid — that the universe appears to be a fundamentally irrational place, was also appealing to 20th century thinkers who understood instinctual forces as irrational, and yet guiding, forces underlying human behavior.

Schopenhauer’s influence has been strong among literary figures, which include poets, playwrights, essayists, novelists and historians such as Charles Baudelaire, Samuel Beckett, Thomas Bernhard, Jorge Luis Borges, Jacob Burckhardt, Joseph Conrad, André Gide, George Gissing, Franz Grillparzer, Thomas Hardy, Gerhardt Hauptmann, Friedrich Hebbel, Hugo von Hoffmansthal, Joris Karl Huysmans, Ernst Jünger, Karl Kraus, D. H. Lawrence, Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, Stephane Mallarmé, Thomas Mann, Guy de Maupassant, Herman Melville, Robert Musil, Edgar Allan Poe, Marcel Proust, Arno Schmidt, August Strindberg, Italo Svevo, Leo Tolstoy, Ivan Turgenev, Frank Wedekind, W. B. Yeats, and Emile Zola. In general, these authors were inspired by Schopenhauer’s sense of the world’s absurdity, either regarded in a more nihilistic and gloomy manner, or regarded in a more lighthearted, absurdist, and comic manner.

Among philosophers, one can cite Henri Bergson, Julius Bahnsen, Eduard von Hartmann, Suzanne Langer, Philipp Mainländer, Hans Vaihinger, and Friedrich Nietzsche, where each tended to focus on selected aspects of Schopenhauer’s philosophy, such as his views on the meaning of life, his theory of the non-rational will, his theory of music, or his Kantianism. Insofar as he influenced Nietzsche, who subordinated science to art, Continental philosophy’s twentieth-century challenge to purely literalistic styles of philosophy via Nietzsche is anticipated by Schopenhauer’s view that music expresses metaphysical truth more directly than does traditional philosophy.

Schopenhauer’s theory of music, along with his emphasis upon artistic genius and the world-as-suffering, was also influential among composers such as Johannes Brahms, Antonín Dvorák, Gustav Mahler, Hans Pfitzner, Sergei Prokofiev, Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakoff, Arnold Schönberg, and Richard Wagner. Insofar as he influenced Wagner, who is the father of twentieth-century music written to accompany and enhance motion pictures, Schopenhauer’s theory of music as the expression of a continual flow of emotion stands significantly behind the contemporary experience of music in artistic and communicational media.

Schopenhauer’s 19th century historical profile is frequently obscured by the shadows of Kant, Hegel, Marx, Mill, Darwin and Nietzsche, but more than is usually recognized, in his rejection of rationalistic conceptions of the world as early as 1818, he perceived the shape of things to come. The hollow, nihilistic laughter expressed by the Dada movement at the turn of the century in the midst of WWI, reiterates feelings that Schopenhauer’s philosophy had embodied almost a century earlier. Schopenhauer’s ideas about the importance of instinctual urges at the core of daily life also reappeared in Freud’s surrealism-inspiring psychoanalytic thought, and his conviction that human history is going nowhere, became keynotes within 20th century French philosophy, after two World Wars put a damper on the 19th century anticipations of continual progress that had captured the hearts of thinkers such as Hegel and Marx.

adjective: ascetic
  1. 1.
    characterized by or suggesting the practice of severe self-discipline and abstention from all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons.
    "an ascetic life of prayer, fasting, and manual labor"
    synonyms: austere, self-denying, abstinent, abstemious, self-disciplined, self-abnegating; More
    simple, puritanical, monastic;
    reclusive, eremitic, hermitic;
    celibate, chaste
    "an ascetic life"
    antonyms: sybaritic
noun: ascetic; plural noun: ascetics
  1. 1.
    a person who practices severe self-discipline and abstention.
    synonyms: abstainer, puritan, recluse, hermit, anchorite, solitary;


    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    Pursuing enlightenment, Buddha first practiced severe asceticism before recommending a non-ascetic middle way.[1] In Christianity, Francis of Assisi and his followers practiced extreme acts of asceticism.[2]

    Asceticism (/??s?t?s?z?m/; from the Greek: ?σκησις áskesis, "exercise, training") is a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from sensual pleasures, often for the purpose of pursuing spiritual goals. Ascetics may withdraw from the world for their practices or continue to be part of their society, but typically adopt a frugal lifestyle, characterised by the renunciation of material possessions and physical pleasures, and time spent fasting while concentrating on the practice of religion or reflection upon spiritual matters.[3]

    Asceticism is classified into two types. "Natural asceticism" consists of a lifestyle where material aspects of life are reduced to utmost simplicity and a minimum but without maiming the body or harsher austerities that make the body suffer, while "unnatural asceticism" is defined as a practice that involves body mortification and self infliction of pain such as by sleeping on a bed of nails.[4]

    Asceticism has been historically observed in many religious traditions, including Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Judaism. Contemporary mainstream Islam has lacked asceticism, except for the minority Sufism whose long tradition has included strict asceticism.[5][6] The practitioners of these religions abandoned sensual pleasures and led an abstinent lifestyle, in the pursuit of redemption,[7] salvation or spirituality.[8] Asceticism is seen in the ancient theologies as a journey towards spiritual transformation, where the simple is sufficient, the bliss is within, the frugal is plenty.[3]

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