Thursday, January 01, 2009
The world as my idea
Arthur Schopenhauer, the gloomy philosopher who often cited the horrors of womankind, was probably not a little affected by his mother, a published writer, who, in a psychotic episode, threw him down the stairs one day with the parting shot from the landing: "I am a published writer, you little runt. You'll never amount to anything."
Bitch, he yelled from the bottom of the staircase, "I willl be more famous than you. People will forget you, but I will live forever."
Which was outrageous, but absolutely true.
But it was a tough go for Arthur, his first philosophical treatise selling an entire five copies and the paper stock for his magnum upus was given to a butter merchant for wrappers.
Doesn't that sound like your luck, Bunky?
But Schopenhauer's fame, once his new publisher got more stock, stirred at first, and then quickly took flight as he became fitst a privavat docent and then full professor of philosophy at Heidelberg. He published, and he did not perish. People came from miles around to hear his talks on "The World as Will and Idea."
Small wonder his book sold so poorly.
He begins with "The world is my idea."
Which, of course was outrageous, but absolutely true as later thinkers like Hegel and Einstein went on to construct not only philosophy, but hydrogen bombs. All from Schopenhauer's contention that the world is will and idea.
Corollary: All women are bitches.
Well, you can't always be right. There is a notion that all science is an attempt to get away from women. Newton said he wanted no truck or trade with them and the econmist John Maynard Keynes, when not being a genius, was gayer than Richard Simmons at a Sears-Roebuck display of athletic support.
Einstein, however, was straight--oh how straight!
A handsome man. Had to shake women off with a slipstick. For him, the big bang for sure. But that's what happens when you're world class.
His pre-emptor, Schopenhauer would tend to sort of go off by himself and complain about life being evil, about everything being evil because once you solve one problem another one immediatly pops up. And women were bitches.
The thing about Schopenhauer was that he certainly seemed right- on about the world being will and idea.
Take writing, for example. You have the idea, you have the will to put it forward, the will to cover all the bases-- and finally get your work out, in spite of all evidence of your certain failure....I can speak from some experience on this, though my wife says it was just stubbornness.
"OK, genius. Here's mop. I've put an idea in your head."
So I myself would never begin a thesis with "The world is my idea." What does ones wife think about it?
But Arthur had no wife. In fact, of all the philosophers, only Aristotle was married. And twice. No wonder his thinking was so mature! What does your wife think about it?
Well, Aristotle's second wife had brains and drachmas--how else to finance all his research...Whoops. Getting close to home on this one.Were it not for my poor wife's brains and bucks I would still be a Ukrainian Nearder(h)al, who might have walked stooped and carried a cobassa.
"You have the raw brains of an Irish Jew," she had said. "But you need help. Yes. From our community."
I do not bite the hand of those who have fed me.
Or Art Schopenhauer, because it was probally his mother's estate that got him the professorship and the bucks.
But he had the brains. And they were not raw.
I fear, even after seventy years around the sun that I still need more cooking.
Heh. But like the gloomy Schopenhauer says, "You just get it together, and then you die." :)