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." :)

##

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

"like a dog without a bone,
an actor out on loan..."

we are all riders on the storm,
bro',and we shall all survive whatever it is that the storms bring...glad to see you are back,up and running...all majors and sevenths now,no minors...

ivan@creativewritng.ca said...

Tony,

"Oh to be in Carolina,
Shacked up with a minoh

In the mooorning!"

--Merv the Perv.

You have no idea of the technical challenge this barely post Luddite ingenue has had....Techie refused to make house calls. I had to intall the new Compaq myself...More cable pulling than the Airmen's Barrracks. :)
...Know anything about installing security without having your credit card number rejected by Anti-Virus Guard or Norton?

benjibopper said...

in his book 'a brief history of nearly everything' bill bryson talked a bit about how the ideas of female scientists tends to get ignored until it is seconded, usually decades later, by a male scientist.

a publisher i know once described the defining trait of writers as being 'a completely irrational inability to accept no for an answer.'

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

p.s. to Anonymous (Tony):

You and Maryanne were my Mr and Mrs. Claus this Christmas just past. I had overextended myself buying the computer and were it not for the case of 24 and the other Christmas gift, I would not have made it over the holidays.

Thanks so much, dear friends.
...And the card was nothing short of beautiful, kind of a clasic. I've never seen one quite like it except probably in Europe.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

You're probably right, Benji.

Strangely, in ancient times Plato's academy would accept female thinkers as equals--Strange thing for ancient Greeks!
...But today, the academic population, is if anythilng else largely female.
Pure science is another matter.
I would say women are definitely under-represented.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

You're probably right, Benji.

Strangely, in ancient times Plato's academy would accept female thinkers as equals--Strange thing for ancient Greeks!
...But today, the academic population, is if anythilng else largely female.
Pure science is another matter.
I would say women are definitely under-represented.

Anonymous said...

there's always a santa somewhere...try using mozilla/firefox as your browser,and download freebie A/virus programs...if not successful,let me know,and will dig up some Norton artillery...majors and sevenths,kiddo...

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Tony,

Below is just some e-mail patter between me and my friend Aaron, who runs a site titled Grandinite in Alberta:

Funny about that.

I tried installing a free AVG anti-virus device on my new computer and they wanted my credit card number and then some number on the back of the card, which I couldn't find.
Was unable to log in with AVGT anti-virus guard.
----- Original Message -----
From: Aaron Braaten
To: Ivan Prokopchuk
Sent: Thursday, January 01, 2009 4:56 PM
Subject: Re: you off air


yeah. In the dead space between renewing my VISA, the web host tried billing me, so it's a waiting game.

Anonymous said...

leave with me...will get back to you...there is stuff readily available...in meantime,look up mozilla/firefox...it's a far more secure browser with insignificant to non-existent spam leakage...I/explorer is like swiss cheese as an obstacle to spam...majors and sevenths...

http://www.creativewriting.ca said...

...Majors and sevenths...No accidentals :)

Thanks, pal.

Anonymous said...

no tourists either...

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Gad,

What time is it getting to be?

I still got six beers in the fridge.

Gotta get.

Feeling a a bit faint, actually after last night. But:

Faint heart never made it with small animals.
Or even migrunt workers.
Got a thirst crying up to the heavens.

Fizz, crackle.

Occupational hazard, I suppose.

Ein prosit.

Happy New Year, Tony and Maryanne.

Moving to kitchen.... Hum of fridge.

Night.

Danny Tagalog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danny Tagalog said...

Ivan,

Discovered that Schopenhauer fathered an illegitimate child who died soon after birth... another events that may have greatly changed his beliefs.

Wikipedia led me to this quote:

"The ultimate aim of all love affairs ... is more important than all other aims in man's life; and therefore it is quite worthy of the profound seriousness with which everyone pursues it. What is decided by it is nothing less than the composition of the next generation..."

I have so little time to concentrate and find flow, because of my wife and family. They bring happiness, but are a barrier to

Danny Tagalog said...

... developing the self. While 'society' benefis in the hours I out in to them, the 'self' becomes - slowly but surely - agitated by their stanglehold on one's time.

True, my colleagues - in academia tend to be single and gay - good luck to them, but envy of their time lurks within my mind...

Still, one is fortunate and one is in a good position.

Happy New Year and thanks for a thought-provoking post....

H.E.Eigler said...

just wanted to stop by and wish you all the best for 09. Happy New Year!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Yes, yes Danny.

I wrote a novel about the quandary of the married man who wanted to be an artist, but was hamstrung by family responsibilities and job.

To go or not to go, that was the question.
He leaves the family to go off and write a novel;
does the Odyssyan thing. Produces the magnum opus, but also ends up in a strange bed.
Triumph or disaster, he is not sure which.
But like Hemingway in The Old Man and the Sea, he does catch the impossible fish,the fish of creation, but as he drags it to port it is gouged by sharks along the way and the trophy becomes almost a skeleton....A kind of Pyrrhic victory.
That is how I concluded my Light Over Newmarket which you can read, if at all interested by clicking ongto the top of this blog...or you can try library interloan for the actual bound novel.

Says Nietzsche somewhere,
You are lying beside your wife, in the comfort of your home and family...But there is this voice whispering through the keyhole. Go. Go.
Well, Gaugin went. And he found himself, albeit to considerabble profaniy after he produced the wonderful work.
My hero went on the odyssey, but like Gogol, instead of finding a Spain of creation, he found himself in a madhouse.
In a word, art exacts a terrible price.
Know thyself, says Socrates...But know thyself for a madman? Gogol's madman?
And yet the grand project is completed.
But the price, the price.
Rupelstiltskin?
"Stay the course," say my Anonymous friend a above.
I guess we stay the course.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Heather,

Hi.
And a happy new year to you as mom and creative artit.

the walking man said...

It would seem to me Ivan that women have been a major part of your life...as in the pursuit of.

One question though, did the women come to you because of the writing or was the writing a product of your terms with the women?

"It was a big bang with Einstein" Classic Prokopchuk, ha ha ha ha ha

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mark.

Hm Well, fiction is about relationships, is it not. :)

One Kate Wheeler, a former mistress of Howard Hughes and a writer in San Miguel de Allende, at the Istituto where I taught, said "it's not what you published or what you say...It's your damn body language."
Of course later at Seneca College, Toronto, another student, Rehvka Alewitz, seeing me in a fog and bumping agains a wall, quipped, "When we graduate, are we all going to be like you?"

I think I belched.

Anonymous said...

Ivan,

I know that voice that Nietzsche heard....

It's almost driven me out a number of times. But her charms are pretty damn powerful.

Or maybe I'm pretty damn weak...

I'll be reading Newmarket during this year. Looking forward to it.

Best,
DT.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Hi Tom.

Where did you get a copy of Light Over Newmarket? Inter-library load or here on line?

A couple of years ago, our friend Aaron Braaten offered a link to "Light Over Newmarket" on his site, GRANDINITE...I was so desperate for exposure at the time that I was alomost tempted to have him run the entire novel on his own site, but that would be a kind of overkill...I'm glad that Aaron at least liked the book.
Hey, ain't cyberspace wonderful?
Now I'm on with Amazon and Abelard in U. K., but they back right off when I write in to supply more copies.
*&&^%* of a way to make a living.


Cheers

Yeah, that voice.

benjibopper said...

maybe that will change. then again, I can't imagine encouraging my daughters (should any come along) to study pure science. I'd rather they be plumbers or carpenters.

Donnetta Lee said...

The brains and the money go a long way. Sometimes it is just the money- and the brains are faking it by swimming in multi-syllable words and a smug attitude. Most of us will never know because we don't have that kind of money-just the attitude.

Having the woman of your dreams by your side can sometimes, well, be a nightmare. Works the other way as well. Some men are Cromagnon no matter what we wish they are or might become. And some men/women are just "poor pickers" when it comes to the opposite sex.

But, when it comes down to it-you put your best foot forward and dive in there-no matter your pool of choice (i.e., writing or sweeping floors). Hope that when you meet the Maker He doesn't say: Whoops, you missed that corner.

You have done and continue to do much more than many! Continue to keep the floors clean. D

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Benji,

You caught me in a whimsicala mood.

Nothing as satisfying as having the one you love change the motor on your car.

ivan@c reativewriting.ca said...

Ah well, Donnetta,

Ooops Slop. Ivan! bring the mop!

I must write one day about my career as a janitor.
Among the plops and rumbles coming out of the washroom I contemplated the benefits of higher education.
Where had all my efforts led me?
Master of the John?
John translates into Ivan.
I had gotten to be so famous.
So glad they named a room after me.:)

Charles Gramlich said...

I need a little more simmering myself.

ivan@creeativewriting.ca said...

The Mahatma said learn as if you had all the time in the world....But I think I myself hit the Peter Principle about two months back.
Said the boss, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks."
Said I to the boss, who was a "player" and 'sportin' life:, "And maybe you can't teach an old trick new dogs."
"Watch it," he had said. "This is a rough shop.
"And if you borrow he company car again for your own use,Im gonna can ya."

There are some hazards in being the fastest mouth in town.

Lana Gramlich said...

Sorry for my long, recent absence, Ivan. Been busy in offline life. My best to you in 2009, hon!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Live in the South you pick up Souhern charm.

Nice to see you back, Lana.