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In response to a question sent to me -
Ok, for me, this guy is obviously depressed, he chooses to isolate himself and live in denial. I have a completely different world view, we are not victims of a painful world forced to live out a predetermined destiny. Our brains allow us to make changes we have a free will, but it only materializes in the long run becuase our choices affect us later in life leading us down different paths. Cant agree with him about women, doesnt seem like he ever really got to know one. But, we all are driven by a need to survive and procreate, Maslows hierarchy 1 and 2. I think this drives a constant competition, and a need for other people to like you is based on the need to be in a group to survive.
The man makes a reference to the Holy Ghost so he is a Christian, which parallels some of what he says here about living a pious life, "To Schopenhauer life was a painful process, relief for which, might to achieved through art or through denial. "The good man will practise complete chastity, voluntary poverty, fasting, and self-torture." I think he went too far in one direction denying natural drives which are all the opposite of what he just said. We are only human, like the rest of the animals down here we need to eat, fight, and have sex. Who just felt a tinge of "oh my gosh, but thats wrong!" Thats only an example of the conflict which has caused you anxiety.

Schopenhauer was, as a philosopher, a pessimist; he was a follower of Kant's Idealist school.

Born in Danzig, Schopenhauer, because of a large inheritance from his father, was able to retire early, and, as a private scholar, was able to devote his life to the study of philosophy. By the age of thirty his major work, The World as Will and Idea, was published. The work, though sales were very disappointing, was, at least to Schopenhauer, a very important work. Bertrand Russell reports that Schopenhauer told people that certain of the paragraphs were written by the "Holy Ghost."

Schopenhauer's system of philosophy, as previously mentioned, was based on that of Kant's. Schopenhauer did not believe that people had individual wills but were rather simply part of a vast and single will that pervades the universe: that the feeling of separateness that each of has is but an illusion. So far this sounds much like the Spinozistic view or the Naturalistic School of philosophy. The problem with Schopenhauer, and certainly unlike Spinoza, is that, in his view, "the cosmic will is wicked ... and the source of all endless suffering."1

Schopenhauer saw the worst in life and as a result he was dour and glum. Believing that he had no individual will, man was therefore at the complete mercy of all that which is about him. Now, whether his pessimism turned him into an ugly person, or whether its just a case of an ugly person adopting the philosophy of pessimism; -- I have no idea. But what I do know is that Schopenhauer had nobody he could call family. "His pessimism so affected his mother's social guests, who would disperse after his lengthy discourse on the uselessness of everything, that she finally forbade him her home. He parted from her, never to see her again." He never married, mainly because, I suppose, because any self-respecting woman would withdraw in horror, upon finding out Schopenhauer's view of women: they "are directly fitted for acting as the nurses and teachers of our early childhood by the fact that they are themselves childish, frivolous and short-sighted; in a word, they are big children all their life long." They are an "undersized, narrow-shouldered, broad-hipped and short legged race ... they have no proper knowledge of any; and they have no genius." As great a problem as Schopenhauer was to himself, he was a brilliant conversationalist; "his audience, consisting of a small circle of friends, would often listen to him until midnight. He never seemed to tire of talking, even during his last days."2

To Schopenhauer life was a painful process, relief for which, might to achieved through art or through denial. "The good man will practise complete chastity, voluntary poverty, fasting, and self-torture." (Russell.) It was Schopenhauer's view that through the contemplation of art, one "might lose contact with the turbulent stream of detailed existence around us"; and that permanent relief came through "the denial of the will to live, by the eradication of our desires, of our instincts, by the renunciation of all we consider worth while in practical life."3 Presumably any little bits of happiness we might snatch would only make us that more miserable, such real and full happiness was not possible, "a Utopian Ideal which we must not entertain even in our dreams." It is not difficult to understand that this "ascetic mysticism" of Schopenhauer's is one that appeals to the starving artist.

Schopenhauer was "a lonely, violent and unbefriended man, who shared his bachelor's existence with a poodle. ... [He was of the view that the world was simply an idea in his head] a mere phantasmagoria of my brain, that therefore in itself is nothing."4


I've just gotten your letter, with its wise, serious tone, and I'll answer you in exactly the same way. I'm much more anxious to see all of you than you are to see me—after all, you're all together there, and here I am alone. . . But when it is a matter of circumstance and of one's vocation, one has no choice but to submit. What I can't stand is this business of whether I stay here or go home. It does me great harm, and at a moment like this what I really have to do is settle down and work hard and show a little cleverness, for what goes on now is crucial to my well-being. I know perfectly well what you think (alas!). But I am telling you and solemnly promising you—because I love you so—that when a man strikes out on his path neither wolves nor dogs should make him turn back. And I—fortunately for me— have a lance like Don Quixote's. I am on my path, Papa. Don't make me look back!

I know you all love me very much, but you're only paying me in the same coin, because I love you all even more. I also know that you would like to have me there by your side, but this is something imposed by circumstance. What would I do in Granada? Be the butt of a lot of nonsense, a lot of arguing, a lot of envy and slander (this only happens, naturally, to men with talent)? Not that it matters to me—thank God, I'm above all that—but it would be very, very bothersome. One doesn't argue with a fool, and just now, in Madrid, I'm being argued about, or rather talked about, by truly respectable people, despite the fact that I've just set out, and I'm going to really be a hit when I put on other things in the theater and I'll probably end up with a great name as an author. Sudden, complete triumph harms the artist. Anyway, I'm preparing my things and going very slowly, very deliberately, so I can give birth to a sensational book. Up here I write, work, read and study. The environment is marvelous. I hardly go out at all. People (a few) come to visit me. I only go out to visit [Gregorio] Martínez Sierra and the staff of Espa–a, with a group of young, strong intellectuals. But the main reason I can't leave isn't my books (which is a very important one) but because I am in a student residence—it's not as though it were a boarding house! It's extremely difficult to get into this place and if I happened to have done so easily, without formally applying, because of my merit and the affection and friendship of others, with the director using his influence and getting me in while excluding another ten students who had applied, it would be unforgivable to simply get up in the middle of the academic year and announce that I'm leaving, and just say "thanks" and "goodbye." The fact that I hesitated before, and didn't come (you know the whole story) will make them say I'm a fickle person, and I'll end up looking unworthy and ridiculous.

For this reason, more than any other, I implore you to let me stay. I am a man of my word, my dear father! Have I ever behaved badly to you? Haven't I always obeyed? Here I behave the way one is supposed to, better than at home, because I have to adopt a serious attitude. Your letter telling me to go home because if I don't you'll come and get me, really bothered me. That attitude of yours would be perfect for a father whose son does some unspeakable deed, and the father comes to collect him to give him a good lashing or leave him high and dry. I can't believe you really feel that way. You tell me "Come home for two months, and you can go back later." When, dear father? When? In August? Why don't you come up here? I would love to see you and the rest of the family. Come, and if you insist on my going home with you I will, but I can assure you that it won't be long before you regret it. I will obey you—that's my duty, or I think it's my duty, but you will have dealt me a death-blow, the whole thing will fill me with disgust and discouragement and I'll lose the enthusiasm I feel—an enthusiasm I have to protect. I beg you with all my heart to leave me here until the end of the year, and then I'll go home with all my books published and the calm knowledge of having broken a lance fighting against the Philistines in order to defend and protect pure Art, true Art. You know, there's no way you can change me. I was born a poet and an artist the way someone is born lame or blind or handsome. Leave me my wings, and I promise I will fly. So please, Papá, don't insist on my going—even the idea fills me with anguish. I think I have stated my reasons. Are they reasons or not? If the real problem is that I am spending too much money, just tell me—I'll respond like a man. After all, it's easy to earn money when one has a good head. One must look at life and the world with clear, optimistic eyes and I, father, am an optimist and feel happy. Answer me the way I've answered you. And lastly, I beg you with my whole heart to read my letter well, and think it over. You should also realize that I am not some object who belongs to you and of whom you are very fond—I have my own life and my own resolve, and this business of coming and going harms me and is not serious. One has to be daring and brave. Mediocrity, the golden mean—those things are always fatal. Don't consult about these things with your lawyer and doctor and veterinary friends, etc.—little, mediocre, nasty people—but rather with Mama and the children. I think I'm right.

You know I love you with all my heart.
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