July 31, 2014

World's absurdity - human history is going nowhere

Schopenhauer's originality does not reside in his characterization of the world as Will, or as act — for we encounter this position in Fichte's philosophy — but in the conception of Will as being devoid of rationality or intellect.

An inspiration for Schopenhauer's view that ideas are like inert objects is George Berkeley, A primary inspiration for Schopenhauer's double-aspect view of the universe is Baruch Spinoza. A subsequent, but often highlighted inspiration is from the Upanishads, Schopenhauer's particular characterization of the world as Will, is nonetheless novel and daring. It is also frightening and pandemonic: there is no God to be comprehended, and the world is conceived of as being meaningless. 

Schopenhauer's influence has been strong among literary figures, which include poets, playwrights, essayists, novelists and historians such as Charles Baudelaire, Samuel Beckett, ... 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.

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. [Stanford]

Hartmann credits Kant for having discovered the unconscious, but blames him for both not fully developing its consequences, and not fully appreciating its primacy in the working of the mind. In Hartmann’s mind this undervaluation of the unconscious is a constant in the history of western philosophy. In fact, Hartmann claims, that it is only Arthur Schopenhauer who began to fully appreciate the unconscious’ fundamental importance, that is, the predominance of what he called ‘will’. However, Arthur Schopenhauer, Hartmann claims, was blinded by his Eastern influences from fully comprehending how the unconscious functioned in the human realm.

Hartmann rejects Arthur Schopenhauer’s famous claim that this is the worst of possible worlds. His position, in fact, is closer to Leibniz’s, who claimed that this was the best of possible world. The difference between Hartmann and Leibniz, was that Hartmann despite viewing this world as the best possible one, nonetheless claimed that it was full of suffering and devoid of happiness. Moreover, Hartmann rejected Leibniz’s claim that evil is a privation, claiming instead that it is evil, which is manifest in the world. What’s more, Hartmann believed that this manifestation of evil is part of the world’s teleological trajectory, and consequently, he held that the world will end in total annihilation. For Hartmann, unlike Arthur Schopenhauer, this ultimate end is not properly tragic, as it is the almost calculated culmination of the crusade of the unconscious, embodied in the entirety of the human race. In fact, the ultimate self-annihilating end of the world is, Hartmann claimed, the highest expression of the unconscious. [EGS]

The object of his philosophy was to unite the “idea” of Hegel with the “will” of Schopenhauer in his doctrine of the Absolute Spirit, or, as he preferred to characterize it, spiritual monism. [IEP]

All in all, the earlier work expresses a sunnier hope for human possibilities, the sense that Emerson and his contemporaries were poised for a great step forward and upward; and the later work, still hopeful and assured, operates under a weight or burden, a stronger sense of the dumb resistance of the world... 
Cavell considers Emerson's anticipations of existentialism, and in these and other works he explores Emerson's affinities with Nietzsche and Heidegger. [Stanford]

Sri Aurobindo's Independence Day message broadcast on the eve of August 15, 1947 over AIR, Tiruchirapalli #FiveDreams

July 25, 2014

The Mother & Sri Aurobindo on ordinary life

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Helen Longino:

Thanks, Anand. I could not agree more: yes, we need philosophy, science, and religion to provide a full account of this phenomenon we call human existence and/or experience. But surely you don’t mean to suggest that the picture we get from each has equal standing when it comes to making truth claims. Nor, I hope, do you take these classical philosophical traditions (Western, Indian, Chinese, etc.) to be offering a complete and unrevisable picture of the phenomenon.