• AmadeusD
    1.9k
    I think life is a lot more than suffering. I am unsure anything displaces the centrality of suffering, though.
  • ENOAH
    494


    Please feel free to bow out without notice, as this goes beyond the scope of discourse on Schopenhauer that I should reasonably expect from one who is both informed and seems to have a natural understanding. Plus I don't want to exploit your courtesy.

    I realize I've shared less than an iota of my current path regarding how, from my explorations, suffering belongs to Mind, but not Reality. And I add the second caveat tgat I am admittedly in nursery school re Schopenhauer. Plus, I take convenient liberties, or a reasonably broad reading of most, which is unfair.

    My liberal use doesn't prohibit my interest also, in learning the proper one, so please clarify when I misunderstand Schopenhauer.

    Given "mind is a process of projections and so all our narrative experiences are just projections to the real aware-ing being, the Body, brain and all," are our experiences ultimately meaningless? Nihilism? And, per the OP, is there no relief from suffering?


    The condition of Mind being artificial projections is not nihilism, nor even a thing to lament.
    1. Meaning only matters to the projections. Mind is meaningful. That’s all it is, a dynamic system operating to displace the present aware-ing with constructed and projected meaning. Anyway,
    2. There is a Real Being: “your” body. It is one with its doings in the natural real world. It neither has meaning nor therefore suffering. When feed-ing its feed-ing, when pain-ing, pain-ing. The fact that the projections code real feeling and action is not evidence that the projections are real, it's evidence that the body is real. The projections affect nature, but they are not nature.

    And here’s where Schopenhauer has shellacked my thinking. Not only is incessant construction of meaning (Signifiers coding feeling) what Mind does. It must. Dissatisfaction is necessary to give rise to desire of Signifiers to project continuously, in order to resolve the built-in condition driving the system forward (Narrative/Time), Boredom. But it is not built into the Body, it is a foundational mechanism in mind.

    Body must provide the feeling to drive boredom, hence we think boredom, a pure construction, is an immutable reality in nature. There are the projections boredom leading to projections desire to projections suffering. These correlate to/trigger/are triggered by feelings, but we experience the images, the Narrative, not the feelings (anymore)

    How do the projections of boredom trigger the (restless) feeling which causes aware-ing Body to project dissatisfaction triggering in cycles desire?

    I think you were right a few back, animals are restless, it drives them to move for the herding, hunt for the predators, gather for the whatever. We are driven by this restless feeling whenever not paying attention to the drives and the (status of the organism/group in the) environment.

    Mind projects this, once restless feeling driving survival, to insufferable boredom, a fiction which triggers desire, triggering more projections and attachments to same.
  • schopenhauer1
    10k

    I'm not sure what to make of this, but I can provide you a comment I made:

    People pretend as if you can extricate the objective existence from one's evaluation of it, but you cannot. It is always you situated in the world, not just the world. Believing that the world "is", and you are just there putting your spin on it, matters not, as you will never extricate the two.schopenhauer1

    So just "knowing" that your evaluations are "not the world itself", doesn't even matter, because you as a subjective being will always be in the equation, as you say, "making the projections". And yes, boredom does seem like the psychological state that brings us to more drive to get away from the restless nature of dissatisfaction.

    There is a term I rather like that we know well- "the human condition". One can expand it to "the animal condition", but what is this "condition"? That is the condition of being psychologically, enculturated beings. You cannot extricate the "world as it is" or "the body" from the psyche here. This actually goes back to Schopenhauer's notion that subject and object are always intertwined. Your thought of a dead, lifeless universe, is still a thought. And even if it is a representation of some "reality", that reality will never be YOUR reality, which is NOT simply "lifeless universe" but a psychologically embodied being THINKING of the lifeless universe, and projecting it, Signifying it, as you might say.

    As for "salvation", Schopenhauer does hold out some sort of salvific state for certain characters who have this innate ability. He thought aesthetic contemplation brought us temporarily out of the will. The observer gets a small dose of this looking at an object or landscape painting (or more strongly with certain music, and even architecture, and other arts...) as to Schop, we are observing a sort of Form of the thing, rather than striving for it as an end. He also thought compassion and saintly goodness towards others was a way of trying to overcome one's own ego. But his highest recommendation was to become a complete ascetic in the denial of one's very will-to-live. Similar to a Nirvana-like state (he admired Buddhism and Hinduism very much), he thought this was reaching some sort of noumenal state of Will that transcends subject-object, and is ineffable, and only described in the negative sense. I am not saying I necessarily go along with this soteriology, interesting as it is, but I think you wanted to know if there was some sort of salvation there.
  • ENOAH
    494
    Believing that the world "is", and you are just there putting your spin on it, matters not, as you will never extricate the two.schopenhauer1

    And, yes, I can't deny that. I'm providing poor to no clarity on how it isn't anyone putting there spin on it. And same goes for the "world".

    But I sought information, not intended to address my hypothetical anyway, but to inform me on Schopenhauer "proper".

    And I read through your comments, the ineluctable Subject, the Body/Mind unity, etc. And I won't continue to burden you with my "take".

    The salvation part, yes, is fascinating and helps soften the pessimism rep. I wouldn't say I would expect or require that the "salvation" in a philosophy be transcendent, and definitely not spiritual. That's beyond philosophy. That's where I would look for Moksha. But I think Schopenhauer philosophy can follow into a "salvation " derived from "knowing" and accepting the inevitability of suffering rooted in boredom and "seek" ethical and constructive ways to ride it out. Could that be squeezed into at least a reasonable position issuing from Schopenhauer?
  • schopenhauer1
    10k
    And I read through your comments, the ineluctable Subject, the Body/Mind unity, etc. And I won't continue to burden you with my "take".ENOAH

    Not a burden.. we are here to discuss!

    But I think Schopenhauer philosophy can follow into a "salvation " derived from "knowing" and accepting the inevitability of suffering rooted in boredom and "seek" ethical and constructive ways to ride it out. Could that be squeezed into at least a reasonable position issuing from Schopenhauer?ENOAH

    Schopenhauer wrote a whole essay on compassion being the basis for morality. It unfolds from his metaphysics.. If we are but illusory Will, trapped in subject-object, then the saintly person is able to be moved beyond this to see all as universally the same Will and thus helping with another's suffering and easing their burden is to them a delight as it is helping themselves. It is as if there was no separation..

    Mind you, Schopenhauer can be construed as an innatist, and perhaps even an elitist. Why? Because he didn't think everyone had this kind of agapic/philial love capacity. He thought most people operated out of some reward, even if it is to pat one's self on the back. He thought to a large extent, people's rootedness or "character" as he called it was fixed, and thus there were simply some (a very small minority of) people endowed with the capacity to truly be moved to alleviate suffering with little to no regard for one's own suffering. This is a sort of saintly, idealized suffering.

    As for my own opinion...

    I think we discussed this a while ago.. But human consciousness with the secondary aspect of Signifying/linguistic and self-reflective capacities complicate our place in the world. Everything is instrumental.. all the way down. One can say, everything is radically instrumental. Thus, Schopenhauer resonates because Will is ultimately the idea of this radical instrumental nature to existing as a self-reflective animal in this world. Except we get the um, "joy", of knowing it. Seeing it first hand and close up.

    As long as you have a body to maintain, and the trappings of the tools and objects you need to maintain your lifestyle in whatever setting, you will always contend with instrumentality. Most people put several categories as "intrinsic"..

    1) Physical pleasure
    2) Human or animal connections- friendships, romance, meetings, group activities, significant others, bonding, nurturing, etc.
    3) Flow states- getting "caught up" in something challenging
    4) Aesthetic pleasures- reading, painting, nature watching, music, etc.
    5) Learning a new concept or skill, participating in a hobby
    6) Achievement

    There's probably more, but they seem to more-or-less fit into one or more of these categories. Do I think that begetting more people and the usual dissatisfaction that these things try to placate is worth it? I think you know my evaluation of that...

    I think that we must confront Schopenhauer to get passed any of this, and many are not willing to do that as it disturbs their peace. When people are living out those (roughly) six things to some extent, and going about their daily instrumental existence surrounding those things (just to achieve them in the first place!), they don't want to be disturbed with the idea of if it is worth it. They don't want to lose the gains they have made by second-guessing. For those rare people who can always think of this, even if they have the gains (perhaps depressive realists of sorts), or for those perhaps who have lost a bit of something in those six above, these ideas might become more apparent.

    I think the Stoics to a point, have it right in the mindset that one has to put forward the "worst" version of events.. But not for the sake of virtue, as the Stoics would have it, but because it is therapeutic to the soul to confront one's Willing and suffering nature.
  • ENOAH
    494
    If we are but illusory Will, trapped in subject-object, then the saintly person is able to be moved beyond this to see all as universally the same Will and thus helping with another's suffering and easing their burden is to them a delight as it is helping themselves. It is as if there was no separation..schopenhauer1

    Was that Schopenhauer or yourself extrapolating? Either way, for those like me,
    sometimes reckless with details, this statement is exactly the Bodhisattva (sp?) in Mahayana Buddhism.

    My (reckless) extrapolation in these discussions leads to the same conclusion. Assume you accept my extrapolation, that the boredom and suffering "exist" only as projections, and thus that reality "exists" in being the living organism, without regard to those projections, then a hypothetical being aware-ing "organic reality" yet "aware of" the projections, would want nothing but to alleviate that suffering; one so simple to alleviate.

    he didn't think everyone had this kind of agapic/philial love capacityschopenhauer1

    Sorry. Because he didn't go beyond that discovery about boredom; he assessed it from the perspective of the slave to boredom. Had he encountered the idea, he'd have found the universality of that bonding love in the same place we found "restlessness", the organic human being, not displaced by its own projections.

    Everything is instrumental.. all the way down. Oschopenhauer1

    Yes. I hope Im not confused; I use "functional". The projections have evolved such a "requirement." Yes, nature too is "functional" but (wish I knew the term/fallacy) this coincidence between projections and nature both evolving functionality as its engine, doesn't make them one, or even the same.

    Will is ultimately the idea of this radical instrumental nature to existing as a self-reflective animal in this world.schopenhauer1

    I'm not confident I follow


    I think the Stoics to a point, have it right in the mindset that one has to put forward the "worst" version of events.. But not for the sake of virtue, as the Stoics would have it, but because it is therapeutic to the soul to confront one's Willing and suffering nature.schopenhauer1

    Yes. The Stoics I have only had brushes with. But there is wisdom in both there version, because it is virtuous; and yours, because it is therapeutic. Maybe they are views of something similar. Maybe virtue is "therapeutic."
  • ENOAH
    494
    Will is ultimately the idea of this radical instrumental nature to existing as a self-reflective animal in this world.schopenhauer1

    Oh. Are you suggesting that because we are radically instrumental in nature, and also are self-reflective, Will is. I.e. will is self being instrumental. (?)
  • schopenhauer1
    10k
    Oh. Are you suggesting that because we are radically instrumental in nature, and also are self-reflective, Will is. I.e. will is self being instrumental. (?)ENOAH

    It is the self-recognition (unlike other animals) of how everything is ultimately instrumental. The peace created by roughly those 6 categories are temporary stop-gaps. You labor to survive to survive, etc. etc. You buy shoes that "fit just right" because it will be the best option to make it you feel more comfortable, but this is instrumental. You hunt and gather to use the meat and skins and organs and bones to keep the village going. You plant the seeds and irrigate the crops to be able to harvest to eat. But whatever endless form it takes, it's these needs and wants and basically WILL playing out in space and time. And Boredom (purposely using capital letter here), is but the "feeling" of the instrumental, even if one is not intellectualizing it, though certainly with people like Schopenhauer, the ancient Wisdom literature, etc. it can be put into words as well.

    And again, to reiterate, we find mechanisms to try to get around this feeling/knowledge and I think Zapffe's model lays it out well (distract, ignore, anchor in some value or reason, and sublimate).
  • ENOAH
    494
    Zapffe's model lays it out well (distract, ignore, anchor in some value or reason, and sublimate).schopenhauer1

    This is very interesting. I'm not certain about the "psychology" of Schopenhauer. perhaps because it is more difficult to relate to an individual from the early 19th C. But it is easy to imagine the desperation driving Zapffe to lay out such a model.

    This, I state rhetorically because I can anticipate the "orthodox" answer. Such desperation, coupled with a plan that involves at its essence, urging us to "deny" our "Truth" (given our condition is, as you and Schopenhauer and, presumably, Zapffe, conclude real and not "taking place/driving us" as a process of "fictions.") seems surprising, even cowardly. Perhaps it is the dissonance of that which drives me to prefer a model where we are exhorted to deny it, because it is not our essence nor our truth.

    Anyway...I will move on, armed with much new information thanks to you.
  • schopenhauer1
    10k
    This, I state rhetorically because I can anticipate the "orthodox" answer. Such desperation, coupled with a plan that involves at its essence, urging us to "deny" our "Truth" (given our condition is, as you and Schopenhauer and, presumably, Zapffe, conclude real and not "taking place/driving us" as a process of "fictions.") seems surprising, even cowardly. Perhaps it is the dissonance of that which drives me to prefer a model where we are exhorted to deny it, because it is not our essence nor our truth.ENOAH

    No no, he is not saying this is what we should do. It's not prescriptive, but descriptive. These are some ways we prevent ourselves from thinking about it too much without going into some depression or madness, or some such. It is a way of keeping negative thoughts about our existential situation at bay. He's not recommending it.
  • ENOAH
    494
    It's not prescriptive, but descriptive.schopenhauer1

    Oh. Ok. Makes way more sense. Damn. :smile:
  • ENOAH
    494
    sorry to impose, friend. But do you have a link to sources for Schopenhauer primary? I have no reason to expect you would. But it's very frustrating just googling your way through reddit, wiki, etc.
  • schopenhauer1
    10k
    sorry to impose, friend. But do you have a link to sources for Schopenhauer primary? I have no reason to expect you would. But it's very frustrating just googling your way through reddit, wiki, etc.ENOAH

    I found this...
    https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/author/3648

    Might want to start with this essays, but his magnum opus that explains his whole philosophy and its basis in Kant is The World as Will and Representation.
  • ENOAH
    494
    That looks perfect. Very much appreciated!
  • Benj96
    2.3k
    No. Because you cannot have any meaningful suffering without its opposites -joy, pleasure, peace, contentment etc.

    If suffering was all we knew, there would be no desire for pleasure or joy as these concepts would not exist and there would be absolutely no evidence subjective or otherwise of such a possibility.

    Suffering is that which we actively avoid, desire to ignore, minimise etc on the basis that we have previously experienced the opposite.
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