Arthur Schopenhauer, The World As Will and Representation, Translated from the German by E. F. J. Payne, in two volumes. Selections by Peter Myers; my comments {thus}; August 21, 2001; update October 8, 2010.

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Schopenhauer examines the merging of cultural streams from Judaism and from India, within Christianity. The celibacy, the self-denial, and the need for salvation from an evil world come, he says, from the Hindu-Buddhist tradition of India (via the Pythagoreans, the Therapeutae and the Essenes), whereas Judaism, he says, is characterised by an optimism that the world is good, that there is no Devil.

One might add that this Jewish optimism is marred by a pessimism about non-Jews, who endlessly persecute the Jews precisely beause they are the Chosen. In a materialist worldview, the Devil himself is material.

Judaism presents this persecution as a back-hand acknowledgment that the Jews are, indeed, God's people.

Although Schopenhauer's cultural history is brilliant, his siding with the world-denying celibate lifestyle as an ideal is now offensive to me, although I was reared on such a diet; I have discovered Taoism, an asceticism that enjoys this world and its physical pleasures, while yet restraining the ego. Buddhism says that, to endure the pains of this world, one had better not sample the pleasures; whereas Taoism says that, since one cannot avoid the pains, one might as well enjoy the pleasures, but without ego.

In Schopenhauer's day, the pre-Aryan cities of the Indus civilization had not been discovered; Schopenhauer shows no awareness of the Aryan invasion of India, with its cultural discontinuity. He was not aware that the Aryan invaders had a linear view of time, death followed by reunion with a sky god. The belief in reincarnation (rebirth or metempsychosis), was borrowed from the Dravidians or tribals conquered by the Aryans, or else arose out of the suffering of the caste system, legitimating it in terms of past actions, and alleviating it with hope for a better rebirth.

Schopenhauer also did not appreciate that Judaism most commonly envisages bodily resurrection, rather than the reincarnation of a disembodied spirit into a different body. If he had been aware of the disjunction between these two views of personal survival, the Jewish one being material, the Hindu-Buddhist one immaterial, he no doubt would have highlighted it. Christianity, merging these two cultural streams, combines both in a contradictory synthesis rarely explained. Thus traditional Catholic teaching held that the spirits of the departed are disembodied, but that there would also be a physical resurrection of the body.

Why is the Catholic Eucharist centred on body and blood? What is the rationale for the rules of kosher slaughter and helal slaughter, to this day?

"Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. Only, you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood." - Genesis 9:4-5, NRSV.

The Christian West has inherited two incompatible psychological theories, and fused them, papering over the differences. One was the Platonic (originally from India, as Schopenhauer argues), with its view that the person is made up of body and spirit; the other was the Jewish, with its view that the person is made up of body and blood (that is why the Catholic Mass celebrates Holy Communion as body and blood). One sees the "life-giving" component as spirit, the other as blood. The former envisages that the spirit can exist separately from the body, whereas the latter denies this, being strictly "material" (as blood is material).

The former envisages an immaterial "heaven" as our true home, the latter insists on an earthly paradise. The former is amenable to reincarnation, the latter to resurrection. Historically, the former was first found in Europe about 500BC, articulated by the Pythagoreans and Plato, while the latter was a feature of Jewish thought, a concept the Jews may have inherited from the Zoroastrians (who called it Renovation), and possibly the religion of Osiris.

Christians also retained the idea of the heart as the self, e.g. in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This idea may have been borrowed from Ancient Egypt:

"To the Egyptians the heart was not only a vital organ of the body, it was also the conscience - in fact, it was actually hypostatized as 'the god which is in man'. As such, it was regarded as both capable of, and disposed to, acting as an independent witness against its owner at his trial after death. This belief was so firmly established that a special prayer, addressed to the heart, was inscribed on a scarab-shaped amulet and laid on the place of the heart during the ritual of embalment. This prayer forms Chapter 30 of the Book of the Dead, and, as we have already seen, it was to be uttered by the deceased at the fateful moment of the weighing of his heart against Maat. ..."

S. G. F. Brandon, The Judgment of the Dead: The Idea of Life after Death in the Major Religions (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1967), p. 37.

We defer to this view when we say, "Cross your heart and tell the truth".

The Babylonians had seen the liver as the life-principle:

"We must go all the way back to Babylonian divination to find the liver enthroned in all its pristine glory. In truth to the Babylonian and Assyrian the liver spelled life.1"

- Morris A. Jastrow, Aspects of Religious Belief and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria (Benjamin Blom, Inc, New York, 1911), p. 155. Footnote 1 reads: "1 It is not, as a matter of fact, impossible that the words life and liver are ultimately connected (as German leib and leber certainly are), though there are breaks in the chain of etymological evidence for the hypothesis."

{start of selections}

Arthur Schopenhauer, The World As Will and Representation, Volume I, Dover Publications, New York 1969. Translated from the German by E. F. J. Payne.

{p. 232} Historical subjects have a decidedly detrimental effect only when they restrict the painter to a field chosen arbitrarily, and not for artistic but for other purposes. This is particularly the case when this field is poor in picturesque and significant objects, when, for example, it is the history of a small, isolated, capricious, hierarchical (i.e., ruled by false notions), obscure people, like the Jews, despised bv the great contemporary nations of the East and of the West. Since the great migration of peoples lies between us and all the ancient nations, just as between the present surface of the earth and the surface whose organisms appear only as fossil remains there lies the former change of the bed of the ocean, it is to be regarded generally as a great misfortune that the people whose former culture was to serve mainly as the basis of our own were not, say, the Indians or the Greeks, or even the Romans, but just these Jews. But it was a particularly unlucky star for the Italian painters of genius in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries that, in the narrow sphere to which they were arbitrarily referred for the choice of subjects, they had to resort to miserable wretches of every kind. For the New Testament, as regards its historical part, is almost more unfavourable to painting than is the Old, and the subsequent history of martyrs and doctors of the Church is a very unfortunate subject. Yet we have to distinguish very carefully between those pictures whose subject is the historical or mythological one of Judaism and Christianity, and those in which the real, i.e., the ethical, spirit of Christianity is revealed for perception by the presentation of persons full of this spirit. These presentations are in fact the highest and most admirable achievements of the art of painting, and only the greatest masters of this art succeeded in producing them, in particular Raphael and Correggio, the latter especially in his earlier pictures. Paintings of this kind are really not to be numbered among the historical, for often they do not depict any event or action, but are mere groups of saints with the Saviour himself, often still as a child with his mother, angels, and so on. In their countenances, espe-

{p. 233} cially in their eyes, we see the expression, the reflection, of the most perfect knowledge, that knowledge namely which is not directed to particular things, but which has fully grasped the Ideas, and hence the whole inner nature of the world and of life. This knowledge in them, reacting on the will, does not, like that other knowledge, furnish motives for the will, but on the contrary has become a quieter of all willing. From this has resulted perfect resignation, which is the innermost spirit of Christianity as of Indian wisdom, the giving up of all willing, turning back, abolition of the will and with it of the whole inner being of this world, and hence salvation. Therefore, those eternally praiseworthy masters of art expressed the highest wisdom perceptibly in their works. Here is the summit of all art that has followed the will in its adequate objectivity, namely in the Ideas, through all the grades, from the lowest where it is affected, and its nature is unfolded, by causes, then where it is similarly affected by stimuli, and finally by motives. And now art ends by presenting the free self-abolition of the will through the one great quieter that dawns on it from the most perfect keowledge of its own nature.

§49. The truth which lies at the foundation of all the remarks we have so far made on art is that the object of art, the depiction of which is the aim of the artist, and the knowledge of which must consequently precede his work as its germ and source, is an Idea in Plato's sense, and absolutely nothing else; not the particular thing, the object of common apprehension, and not the concept, the object of rational thought and of science. Although Idea and concept have something in common, in that both as unities represent a plurality of actual things, the great difference between the two will have become sufficiently clear and evident from what was said in the first book about the concept, and what has been said in the present book about the Idea. I certainly do not mean to assert that Plato grasped this difference clearly; indeed many of his examples of Ideas and his discussions of them are applicable only to concepts.

{p. 336} ... all genuine, i.e., moral, right to property is originally based simply and solely on elaboration and adaptation, as was pretty generally assumed even before Kant, indeed as the oldest of all the codes of law clearly and finely expresses it: "Wise men who know olden times declare that a cultivated field is the property of him who cut down the wood and cleared and ploughed the land, just as an antelope belongs to the first hunter who mortally wounds it." (Laws of Manu, ix, 44.) Kant's whole theory of law is a strange tangle of errors, one leading to another, and he attempts to establish the right to property through first occupation. I can explain this only by Kant's feebleness through old age. For how could the mere declaration of my will to exclude others from the use of a thing give me at once a right to it? Obviously the declaration itself requires a foundation of right, instead of Kant's assumption that it is one. How could the person act wrongly or unjustly in himself, i.e., morally, who paid no regard to those claims to the sole possession of a thing which were based on nothing but his own declaration? How would his conscience trouble him about it? For it is so clear and easy to see that there can be absolutely no just and lawful seizure of a thing, but only a lawful appropriation or acquired possession of it, through our originally applying our own powers to it. A thing may be developed, improved, protected, and preserved from mishaps by the efforts and exertions of some other person, however small these may be; in fact, they might be only the plucking or picking up from the ground fruit that has grown wild. The person who seizes such a thing obviously deprives the other of the result of his labour expended on it. He makes the body of the other serve his will instead of the other's will; he affirms his own will beyond its phenomenon to the denial of the other's will; in other words, he does wrong or injustice. On the other hand, the mere enjoyment of a thing, without any cultivation or preservation of it from destruction, gives us just as little right

{p. 337} to it as does the declaration of our will to its sole possession. Therefore, although a family has hunted over a district alone even for a century without having done anything to improve it, it cannot without moral injustice prevent a newcomer from hunting there, if he wants to. Thus morally the so-called right of preoccupation is entirely without foundation; according to it, for the mere past enjoyment of a thing, a man demands a reward into the bargain, namely the exclusive right to enjoy it further. To the man who rests merely on this right, the newcomer might retort with much better right: "Just because you have already enjoyed it for so long, it is right for others also to enjoy it now." There is no morally grounded sole possession of anything that is absolutely incapable of development by improvement or preservation from mishaps, unless it be through voluntary surrender on the part of all others, possibly as a reward for some other service. This, however, in itself presupposes a community or commonwealth ruled by convention, namely the State. The morally established right to property, as deduced above, by its nature gives the possessor of a thing a power over it just as unlimited as that which he has over his own body. From this it follows that he can hand over his property to others by exchange or donation, and those others then possess the thing with the same moral right as he did.

As regards the doing of wrong generally, it occurs either through violence or through cunning; it is immaterial as regards what is morally essential. First, in the case of murder, it is morally immaterial whether I make use of a dagger or of poison; and the case of every bodily injury is analogous. The other cases of wrong can all be reduced to the fact that 1, as the wrongdoer, compel the other individual to serve my will instead of his own, or to act according to my will instead of to his. On the path of violence, I attain this through physical causality; but on the path of cunning by means of motivation, in other words, of causality that has passed through knowledge. Through cunning I place before the other man's will fictitious motives, on the strength of which he follows my will, while believing that he follows his own. As knowledge is the medium in which the motives are to be found, I can achieve this only by falsifying his knowledge, and this is the lie. The lie always aims at influencing another's will, not at influencing his knowledge alone by itself and as such, but merely as means, namely in so far as it determines his will. For my lying itself, as coming from my will, requires a motive; but only the will of another can be such a motive, not his knowledge in and by itself. As such, his knowledge can never have an influence on my will, aad hence can never move it ...

{p. 356} What is here meant is the myth of the transmigration of souls. This teaches that all suffering inflicted in life by man on other beings must be expiated in a following life in this world by precisely the same sufferings. It goes to the length of teaching that a person who kills only an animal, will be born as just such an animal at some point in endless time, and will suffer the same death. It teaches that wicked conduct entails a future life in suffering and despised creatures in this world; that a person is accordingly born again in lower castes, or as a woman, or as an animal, as a pariah or Chandala, as a leper, a crocodile, and so on. All the torments threatened by the myth are supported by it with perceptions from the world of reality, through suffering creatures that do not know how they have merited the punishment of their misery; and it does not need to call in the assistance of any other hell. On the other hand, it promises as reward rebirth in better and nobler forms, as Brahmans, sages, or saints. The highest reward awaiting the noblest deeds and most complete resignation, which comes also to the woman who in seven successive lives has voluntarily died on the funeral pile of her husband, and no less to the person whose pure mouth has never uttered a single lie - such a reward can be expressed by the myth only negatively in the language of this world, namely by the promise, so often occurring, of not being reborn any more: non adsumes itelum existentiam apparentem; or as the Buddhists, admitting neither Vedas nor castes, express it: "You shall attain to Nirvana, in other words, to a state or condition in which there are not four things, namely birth, old age, disease, and death."

Never has a myth been, and never will one be, more closely associated with a philosophical truth accessible to so few, than this very ancient teaching of the noblest and oldest of peoples. Degenerate as this race may now be in many respects, this truth still prevails with it as the universal creed of the people, and it has a decided influence on life today, as it had four thousand years ago. Therefore Pythagoras and Plato grasped with admiration that non plus ultra of mythical expression, took it over from India or Egypt, revered it, applied it, and themselves believed it, to what extent we know not. We, on the contrary, now send to the Brahmans English clergymen and evangelical linen-weavers, in order out of sympathy to put them right, and to point out to them that they are created out of nothing, and that

{p. 357} they ought to be grateful and pleased about it. But it is just the same as if we fired a bullet at a cliff. In India our religions will never at any time take root; the ancient wisdom of the human race will not be supplanted by the events in Galilee. On the contrary, Indian wisdom flows back to Europe, and will produce a fundamental change in our knowledge and thought.

§64. ... A man might have a very high degree of wickedness, which yet might be found in many others, though not matched with other qualities such as are found in him, namely one who was far superior to others through unusual mental powers, and who, accordingly, inflicted unspeakable sufferings on

{p. 358} millions of others - a world conqueror, for instance.

{p. 385} ... the most significant phenomenon that the world can show is not the

{p. 386} conqueror of the world, but the overcomer of the world, and so really nothing but the quiet and unobserved conduct in the life of such a man. On this man has dawned the knowledge in consequence of which he gives up and denies that will-to-live that fills everything, and strives and strains in all. The freedom of this will first appears here in him alone, and by it his actions now become the very opposite of the ordinary. For the philosopher, therefore, in this respect those accounts of the lives of saintly, self-denying persons, badly written as they generally are, and mixed up with superstition and nonsense, are through the importance of the material incomparably more instructive and important than even Plutarch and Livy.

Further, a more detailed and complete knowledge of what we express in abstraction and generality through our method of presentation as denial of the will-to-live, will be very greatly facilitated by a consideration of the ethical precepts given in this sense and by people who were full of this spirit. These will at the same time show how old our view is, however new its purely philosophical expression may be. In the first place, Christianity is nearest at hand, the ethics of which is entirely in the spirit we have mentioned, and leads not only to the highest degrees of charity and human kindness, but also to renunciation. The germ of this last side is certainly distinctly present in the writings of the Apostles, yet only later is it fully developed and explicitly expressed. We find commanded by the Apostles love for our neighbour as for ourselves, returning of hatred with love and good actions, patience, meekness, endurance of all possible affronts and injuries without resistance, moderation in eating and drinking for suppressing desire, resistance to the sexual impulse, even complete if possible for us. Here we see the first stages of asceticism or of real denial of the will; this last expression denotes what is called in the Gospels denying the self and taking of the cross upon oneself. (Matt. xvi, 24, 25; Mark viii, 34, 35; Luke ix, 23, 24; xiv, 26, 27, 33.) This tendency was soon developed more and more, and was the origin of penitents, anchorites, and monasticism, an origin that in itself was pure and holy, but, for this very reason, quite unsuitable to the great majority of people. Therefore what developed out of it could be only hypocrisy and infamy, for abusus optimi pessimus. In more developed Christianity, we see that seed of asceticism unfold into full flower in the writings of the Christian saints and mystics. Besides the purest love,

{p. 387} these preach also complete resignation, voluntary and absolute poverty, true composure, complete indifference to all worldlv things death to one's own will and regeneration in God, entire forgetting of one's own person and absorption in the contemplation of God. A complete descriptlon of this is to be found in Fenelon's Explication des maximes des Saints sur la vie interieure. But the spirit of this development of Christianity is certainly nowhere so perfectly and powerfully expressed as in the writings of the German mystics e.g. those of Meister Eckhart, and the justly famous book Theologia Germanica. In the introduction to this last which Luther wrote, he says of it that, with the exception of the Bible and St. Augustine, he had learnt more from it of what God, Christ, and man are than from any other book. Yet only in the year 1851 did we acquire its genuine and unadulterated text in the Stuttgart edition of Pfeiffer. The precepts and doctrines given in it are the most perfect explanation, springing from deep inward conviction, of what I have described as the denial of the will-to-live. One has therefore to make a closer study of it before dogmatizing about it with Jewish-Protestant assurance. Tauler's Nachfolgung des armen Leben Christi, together with his Medulla Animae, are written in the same admirable spirit, although not quite equal in value to that work. In my opinion the teachings of these genuine Christian mystics are related to those of the New Testament as alcohol is to wine; in other words, what becornes visible to us in the New Testament as if through a veil and mist, stands before us in the works of the mystics without cloak or disguise, in full clearness and distinctness. ...

But we find what we have called denial of the will-to-live still further developed, more variously expressed, and more vividly presented in the ancient works in the Sanskrit language than could be the case in the Christian Church and the Western world. That this important ethical view of life could attain here to a more far-reaching development and a more decided expression, is perhaps to be ascribed mainly to the fact that it was not restricted by an element quite foreign to it, as the Jewish doctrine of faith is in Christianity. The sublime founder of Christianity had necessarily to adapt and accommodate himself, partly consciously, partly, it may be, unconsclously, to this doctrine: and so Christianity is composed of two very heterogeneous elements. Of these I should like to call the

{p. 388} purely ethical element preferably, indeed exclusively, the Christian, and to distinguish it from the Jewish dogmatism with which it is found. If, as has often been feared, and especially at the present time, that excellent and salutary religion should completely decline, then I would look for the reason for this simply in the fact that it does not consist of one simple element, but of two originally heterogeneous elements, brought into combination only by means of world events. In such a case, dissolution would necessarily result through the break-up of these elements, which arises from their different relationship and reaction to the advanced spirit of the times. Yet after this dissolution, the purely ethical part would still be bound always to remain intact, because it is indestructible. However imperfect our knowledge of Hindu literature still is, as we now find it most variously and powerfully expressed in the ethics of the Hindus, in the Vedas, Puranas, poetical works, myths, legends of their saints, in aphorisms, maxims, and rules of conduct, we see that it ordains love of one's neighbour with complete denial of all self-love; love in general, not limited to the human race, but embracing all that lives; charitableness even to the giving away of one's hard-won daily earnings; boundless patience towards all offenders; return of all evil, however bad it may be, with goodness and love; voluntary and cheerful endurance of every insult and ignominy; abstinence from all animal food; perfect chastity and renunciation of all sensual pleasure for him who aspires to real holiness; the throwing away of all property; the forsaking of every dwelling-place and of all kinsfolk; deep unbroken solitude spent in silent contemplation with voluntary penance and terrible slow self-torture for the complete mortification of the will, ultimately going as far as voluntary death by starvation, or facing crocodiles, or jumping over the consecrated precipice in the Himalaya, or being buried alive, or flinging oneself under the wheels of the huge car that drives round with the images of the gods amid the singing, shouting, and dancing of bayaderes. These precepts, whose origin reaches back more than four thousand years, are still lived up to by individuals even to the utmost ex-

{p. 389} treme, degenerate as that race is in many respects. That which has remained in practice for so long in a nation embracing so many millions, while it imposes the heaviest sacrifices, cannot be an arbitrarily invented freak, but must have its foundation in the very nature of mankind. But besides this, we cannot sufficiently wonder at the harmony we find, when we read the life of a Christian penitent or saint and that of an Indian. In spite of such fundamentally different dogmas, customs, and circumstances, the endeavour and the inner life of both are absolutely the same; and it is also the same with the precepts for both. For example, Tauler speaks of the complete poverty which one should seek, and which consists in giving away and divesting oneself entirely of everything from which one might draw some comfort or worldly pleasure, clearly because all this always affords new nourishment to the will, whose complete mortification is intended. As the Indian counterpart of this, we see in the precepts of Fo that the Sannyasi, who is supposed to be without dwelling and entirely without property, is finally enjoined not to lie down too often under the same tree, lest he acquire a preference or inclination for it. The Christian mystics and the teachers of the Vedanta philosophy agree also in regarding all outward works and religious practices as superfluous for the man who has attained perfection. So much agreement, in spite of such different ages and races, is a practical proof that here is expressed not an eccentricity and craziness of the mind, as optimistic shallowness and dulness like to assert, but an essential side of human nature which appears rarely only because of its superior quality.

I have now mentioned the sources from which we can obtain a direct knowledge, drawn from life, of the phenomena in which the denial of the will-to-live exhibits itself. To a certain extent, this is the most important point of our whole discussion, yet I have explained it only quite generally, for it is better to refer to those who speak from direct experience, than to increase the size of this book unnecessarily by repeating more feebly what they say.

I wish to add only a little more to the general description of their state. We saw above that the wicked man, by the vehemence of his willing, suffers constant, consuming, inner torment, and finally that, when all the objects of willing are exhausted, he quenches the fiery thirst of his wilfulness by the sight of others' pain. On the other hand, the man in whom the denial of the will-to-live has dawned, however poor, cheerless, and full of privation his state may be when

{p. 390} looked at from outside, is full of inner cheerfulness and true heavenly peace.

{p. 422} ... we never know the essential nature of the world, namely the thing-in-itself.

He {Kant} did not deduce the thing-in-itself in the right way, as I shall soon show, but by means of an inconsistency; and he had to pay the penalty for this in the frequent and irresistible attacks on this principal part of his teaching. He did not recognize the thing-in-itself directly in the will, but made a great and original step towards this knowledge, since he demonstrated the undeniable moral significance of human conduct to be quite different from, and not dependent on, the laws of the phenomenon, to be not even capable of explanation according to them, but to be something directly touching the thing-in-itself. This is the second main point of view for assessing his merit.

We can regard as the third point the complete overthrow of the scholastic philosophy. By this term I propose to denote generally the whole period beginning with Augustine, the Church Father, and ending just before Kant. For the chief characteristic of scholasticism is indeed that which is very correctly stated by Tennemann, namely the guardianship of the prevailing national religion over philosophy, for which there was in reality nothing left but to prove and embellish the principal dogmas religion prescribed for it. The scholastics proper down to Suarez confess this openly and without reserve; the succeeding philosophers do so more unconsciously, or at any rate not avowedly. It is held that the scholastic philosophy extends only to about a hundred years before Descartes, and that with him there begins an entirely new epoch of free investigation, independent of all positive theological doctrine. Such an investigation, however, cannot in fact be attributed to Descartes and his successors, but only

{p. 423} an appearance of it, and in any case only an attempt at it. Descartes was an extremely great man, and, if we take into consideration the age in which he lived, he achieved very much. But if we set this consideration aside, and measure him according to the emancipation of thought from all fetters and to the beginning of a new period of impartial and original investigation with which he has been credited, we are obliged to find that, with his scepticism still lacking in true earnestness, and thus abating and passing away so quickly and so completely, he has the appearance of wishing to discard all at once all the fetters of the early implanted opinions belonging to his age and nation; but he does this only apparently and for a moment, in order at once to assume them again, and hold them all the more firmly; and it is just the same with all his successors down to Kant. ...

Kant had reasons for looking as if he too had only this in view. But the pretended leap that was allowed, because it was known that it leads back to the grass, this time became a flight, and now those who stand below are able only to follow him with their eyes, and no longer to catch him again. Kant therefore ventured to demonstrate by his teaching the impossibility of our being able to prove all those dogmas that were alleged to have been proved. Speculative theology and the rational psychology connected with it received from him their death-blow.

{p. 512} Until the time of Kant, there was a real and well-established dilemma between materialism and theism, in other words, between the assumption that a blind chance, or an intelligence arranging from without according to purposes and concepts, had brought about the world, neque dabatur tertium. Therefore, atheism and materialism were the same thing; hence the doubt whether there could in fact be an atheist, in other words, a person who really could attribute to blind chance an arrangement of nature, especially of organic nature, which is immense, inexhaustible, and appropriate. See, for ex-

{p. 513} ample, Bacon's Essays (Sermones fideles), Essay 16, "On Atheism." In the opinion of the great mass of people and of Englishmen, who in such things belong entirely to the great mass (the mob), this is still the case, even with their most famous men of learning. One has only to look at R. Owen's Osteologie comparee of 1855, preface, pp. 11, 12, where he always stands before the old dilemma between Democritus and Epicurus on the one hand, and an intelligence on the other, in which la connaissance d'un etre tel que l'homme a existe avant que l'homlne fit son apparition. All suitability and appropriateness must have started from an intelligence; he does not even dream of doubting this. Yet in the reading of this now somewhat modified preface given on 5 September 1853, in the Academie des Sciences, he said with childish naivety: La teleologie, ou la theologie scientiflque (Comptes rendus, Sept. l853), these are for him directly one and the same thing! lf something in nature is suitable and appropriate, it is a work of intention, of deliberation, of intelligence. Now, I ask, what is the Critique of Judgement, or even my book On the Will in Nature, to such an Englishman and to the Academie des Sciences? These gentlemen do not see so far beneath them. These illustres confreres indeed look down on metaphysics and the philosophie allemande; they stick to frock-philosophy. But the validity of that disjunctive major premiss, of that dilemma between materialism and theism, rests on the assumption that the world that lies before us is the world of things-in-themselves, and that, in consequence, there is no other order of things than the empirical. But after the world and its order had become through Kant the mere phenomenon, whose laws rest mainly on the forms of our intellect, the existence and inner nature of things and of the world no longer needed to be explained on the analogy of changes perceived or effected by us in the world; nor can that which we comprehend as means and end have arisen in consequence of such knowledge. Therefore, by depriving theism of its foundation through his important distinction between phenomenon and thing-in-itself, Kant, on the other hand, opened the way to entirely different and deeper explanations of existence.

Arthur Schopenhauer, The World As Will and Representation, Volume II, Dover Publications, New York 1966. Greek letters have been Romanised.

{p. 504} Thus we find the doctrine of metempsychosis, springing from the very earliest and noblest ages of the human race, always world-wide, as the belief of the great majority of mankind, in fact really as the doctrine of all religions, with the exception of Judaism and the two religions that have arisen from it. But, as already mentioned, we find this doctrine in its subtlest form, and coming nearest to the truth, in Buddhism. Accordingly, while Christians console themselves with the thought of meeting again in another world, in which they regain their complete personality and at once recognize one another, in those other religions the meeting is going on already, though incognito. ... But, in fact, if at favourable moments we look at the doings and dealings of men in real life in a purely objective way, the intuitive conviction is forced on us that they not only are and remain the same according to the (Platonic) Ideas, but also that the present generation, according to its real kernel, is precisely and substantially identical with every generation that previously existed. The question is only in what this kernel consists; the answer given to it by my teaching is well known. The above-mentioned intuitive conviction can be conceived as arising from the fact that the multiplying glasses, time and space, for a moment lose their effectiveness. ...

{p. 505} Taught already in the Vedas {Not typically: the Rig Veda is Aryan in outlook, with a linear concept of time, death followed by reunion with a sky god} are, as in all the sacred books of India, metempsychosis is well known to be the kernel of Brahmanism and Buddhism {metempsychosis, then, came from the Dravidians or tribals conquered by the Aryans, or else arose from the suffering of the caste system, legitimating it in terms of past actions, or alleviating it with hope for the future}. Accordingly it prevails even now in the whole of non~Mohammedan Asia, and thus among more than half of the human race, as the firmest of convictions, with an incredibly strong practical influence. It was also the belief of the Egyptians (Herodotus, ii, 123), from whom it was received with enthusiasm by Orpheus, Pythagoras, and Plato; the Pythagoreans in particular held firmly to it. That it was taught also in the mysteries of the Greeks follows undeniably from the ninth book of Plato's Laws (pp. 38 and 42, ed. Bip.). ... The Edda, particularly in the Voluspa, also teaches metempsychosis. No less was it the foundation of the religion of the Druids (Caesar, De Bello Gallico, vi. A. Pictet, Le Mystere des Bardes de lie de Bretagne, 1856). Even a Mohammedan sect in India, the Bohrahs, of whom Colebrooke gives a detailed account in the Asiatic Researches, Vol. VII, pp. 336 seqq., believe in metempsychosis, and accordingly abstain from all animal food. Among American Indians and Negro tribes, indeed even among the natives of Australia, traces of this belief are found, as appears from an exact description, given in The Times of 29 January 1841, of the execution of two Australian savages for arson and murder. It says: "The younger of the 2 prisoners met his end with a dogged and determinate spirit, as it appear'd of revenge; the only intelligible expression he made use of conveyed an impression that he would rise up 'a white fellow,' which, it was considered, strengthened his resolution." In a book by Ungewitter, Der Welttheil Australien (1853), it is related also that the Papuans of New Holland regarded the whites as their own relations who had returned to the world. As the result of all this, belief in metempsychosis presents itself as the natural conviction of man whenever he reflects at all in an unprejudiced way. ...

{p. 506} Even the exceedingly empirical Hume says in his sceptical essay on immortality, p. 23: "The metempsychosis is therefore the only system of this kind that philosophy can hearken to." What opposes this belief, which is spread over the whole human race and is evident to the wise as well as to the vulgar, is Judaism, together with the two religions that have sprung from it, inasmuch as they teach man's creation out of nothing. He then has the hard task of connecting this with the belief in an endless future existence a parte post. Of course, they have succeeded, with fire and sword, in driving that consoling, primitive belief of mankind out of Europe and of a part of Asia; for how long is still uncertain. The oldest Church history is evidence of precisely how difficuit this was. Most of the heretics were attached to that primitive belief; for example, the Simonians, Basilidians, Valentinians, Marcionites, Gnostics, and Manichaeans. The Jews themselves have come to it to some extent, as is reported by Tertullian and Justin (in his dialogues). In the Talmud it is related that Abel's soul passed into the body of Seth, and then into that of Moses. Even the biblical passage, Matthew xvi, 13-15, takes on a rational meaning only when we understand it as spoken on the assumption of the dogma of metempsychosis. Luke, of course, who also has the passage (ix,} 8-20), adds the words oti prophetes tis ton archaion aneste {note 30: "That one of the old prophets is risen again"}; he thus attributes to the Jews the assumption that an ancient prophet can thus rise again with skin and hair; but, as they know that he has already been in the grave for six or seven hundred years, and consequently has long since turned to dust, such rising again would be a palpable absurdity {but Judaism most commonly envisages bodily resurrection, not the reincarnation of a disembodied spirit into a different body}. However, in Christianity the doctrine of original sin, in other words of atonement for the sin of another individual, has taken the place of the transmigration of souls and of the expiation by means thereof of all the sins committed in a previous life. Thus both identify, and indeed with a moral tendency, the existing person with

{p. 507} one who has existed previously, transmigration of souls does this directly, original sin indirectly.

{p. 604} Now it is true that the Christian myth makes original sin arise only after man already existed, and for this purpose ascribes to him, per impossibile, a free will; it does this, however, simply as a myth. The innermost kernel and spirit of Christianity is identical with that of Brahmanism and Buddhism; they all teach a heavy guilt of the human race through its existence itself, only Christianity does not proceed in this respect directly and openly, like those more ancient religions. It represents the guilt not as being established simply by existence itself, but as arising through the act of the first human couple. This was possible only under the fiction of a liberum arbitrium indifferentiae, and was necessary only on account of the Jewish fundamental dogma, into which that doctrine was here to be implanted. According to the truth, the very origin of man himself is the act of his free will, and is accordingly identical with the Fall, and therefore the original sin, of which all others are the result, appeared already with man's essentia and existentia; but the fundamental dogma of Judaism did not admit of such an explanation. Therefore Augustine taught in his books De Libero Arbitrio that only as Adam before the Fall was man guiltless and had a free will, whereas for ever after he is involved in the necessity of sin. ...

{p. 605} But of course Jewish theism, on to which the myth was grafted, must have received marvellous additions in order to attach itself to that myth. Here the fable of the Fall presented the only place for the graft of the old Indian stem. ... Only Greek paganism and Islam are wholly optimistic; therefore in the former the opposite tendency had to find expression at least in tragedy. In Islam, however, the most modern as well as the worst of all religions, this opposite tendency appeared as Sufism, that very fine phenomenon which is entirely Indian in spirit and origin, and has now continued to exist for over a thousand years.

{p. 614} If we turn from the forms, produced by external circumstances, and go to the root of things, we shall find generally that Sakya Muni and Meister Eckhart teach the same thing, only that the former dared to express his ideas plainly and positively, whereas the latter is obliged to clothe them in the garment of the Christian myth, and to adapt his expressions thereto. This goes to such lengths that with him the Christian myth is little more than a metaphorical language, in much the same way as the Hellenic myth is to the Neo-Platonists; he takes it throughout allegorically. In the same respect, it is noteworthy that the turning of St. Francis from prosperity to a beggar's life is entirely similar to the even greater step of the Buddha Sakya Muni from prince to beggar, and that accordingly the life of St. Francis, as well as the order founded by him, was only a kind of Sannyasi existence. In fact, it is worth mentioning that his relationship with the Indian spirit also appears in his great love for animals, and his frequent association with them, when he always calls them his sisters and brothers; and his beautiful Cantico is evidence of his inborn Indian spirit through the praise of the sun, moon, stars, wind, water, fire and earth.

{p. 615} ... not only the religions of the East, but also true Christianity has throughout this fundamental ascetic character that my philosophy explains as denial of the will-to-live, although Protestantism, especially in its present-day form, tries to keep this dark.

{p. 620} What is opposed to this really Christian fundamental view is everywhere and always only the Old Testament, with its panta khala lian. {footnote: "[And God saw] all [that he had made, and behold it] was very good.} This appears with particular distinctness from that important third book of the Stromata of Clement. Arguing against the above-mentioned Encratite heretics, he there confronts them merely with Judaism and its optimistic history of creation, with which the world-denying tendency of the New Testament is almost certainly in contradiction. But the connexion of the New Testament with the Old Testament is at bottom only an external, accidental, and in fact forced one ...

{p. 623} In truth it is not Judaism with its panta khala lian, but Brahmanism and Buddhism that in spirit and ethical tendency are akin to Christianity. The spirit and ethical tendency, however, are the essentials of a religion, not the myths in which it clothes them. Therefore I do not abandon the belief that the teachings of Christianity are to be derived in some way from those first and original religions. ... This faith stands in contrast to the false, shallow, and pernicious optimism that manifests itself in Greek paganism, Judaism, and Islam. To a certain extent the Zend religion holds the mean, since it opposes to Ormuzd a pessimistic counterpoise in Ahriman. The Jewish religion resulted from this Zend religion, as J. G. Rhode has thoroughly demonstrated in his book Die heilige Sage des Zendvolks; Jehovah came from Ormuzd, and Satan from Ahriman. The latter, however,

{p. 624} plays only a very subordinate role in Judaism, in fact almost entirely disappears. In this way optimism gains the upper hand, and there is left only the myth of the Fall as a pessimistic element, which (as the fable of Meshian and Meshiane) is also taken from the Zend-Avesta, but nevertheless falls into oblivion until it, as well as Satan, is again taken up by Christianity. But Ormuzd himself is derived from Brahmanism, although from a lower region thereof; he is no other than Indra, that subordinate god of the firmament and the atmosphere, who is frequently in competition with men. This has been very clearly shown by the eminent scholar I. J. Schmidt in his work Ueber die Verwandtschaft der gnostisch-theosophischen Lehren mit den Religionssystemen des Orients, vorzuglich dem Buddhismus. This Indra-Ormuzd-Jehovah afterwards had to pass into Christianity, as that religion arose in Judaea. But in consequence of the cosmopolitan character of Christianity, he laid aside his proper name, in order to be described in the language of each converted nation by the appellative of the superhuman individuals he supplanted, as theos, Deus, which comes from the Sanskrit Deva (from which also devil, Teufel is derived), or among the Gothic-Germanic nations by the word God, Gott, which comes from Odin, or Wodan, Guodan, Godan. In just the same way he assumed in Islam, which also springs from Judaism, the name of Allah, which existed previously in Arabia. Analogously to this, when the gods of the Greek Olympus were transplanted to Italy in prehistoric times, they assumed the names of the gods who reigned there previously; hence among the Romans Zeus is called Jupiter, Hera Juno, Hermes Mercury, and so on. In China the first embarrassment of the missionaries arose from the fact that the Chinese language has absolutely no appellative of the kind, and also no word for creating; for the three religions of China know of no gods either in the plural or in the singular.

However it may be in other respects, that panta khala lian {all things are good} of the Old Testament is really foreign to Christianity proper; for in the New Testament the world is generally spoken of as something to which we do not belong, which we do not love, the ruler of which, in fact, is the devil. This agrees with the ascetic spirit of the denial

{p. 625} of one's self and the overcoming of the world. Like boundless love of one's neighbour, even of one's enemy, this spirit is the fundamental characteristic which Christianity has in common with Brahmanism and Buddhism, and which is evidence of their relationship. There is nothing in which we have to distinguish the kernel from the shell so much as in Christianity. Just because I value this kernel highly, I sometimes treat the shell with little ceremony; yet it is thicker than is often supposed.

By eliminating asceticism and its central point, the meritorious nature of celibacy, Protestantism has already given up the innermost kernel of Christianity, and to this extent is to be regarded as a breaking away from it. In our day, this has shown itself in the gradual transition of Protestantism into shallow rationalism, that modern Pelagianism. In the end, this results in a doctrine of a loving father who made the world, in order that things might go on very pleasantly in it (and in this, of course, he was bound to fail), and who, if only we conform to his will in certain respects, will afterwards provide an even much pleasanter world (in which case it is only to be regretted that it has so fatal an entrance). This may be a good religion for comfortable, married, and civilized Protestant parsons, but it is not Christianity. Christianity is the doctrine of the deep guilt of the human race by reason of its very existence, and of the heart's intense longing for salvation therefrom.

{p. 625} Luther ... went too far in his well-meant zeal, for he

{p. 626} attacked the heart of Christianity in the ascetic principle. For, after the withdrawal of this, the optimistic principle of necessity soon stepped into its place. ... However, even in the very midst of Protestantism, the essentially ascetic and Encratite spirit of Christianity has again asserted itself ... in ... the Shakers in North America ... The fundamental characteristic of their religious rule of life is celibacy and complete abstinence from all sexual satisfaction. ... There is no family, and hence no private property, but community of ownership.

{p. 627} Although, in essential respects, Christianity taught only what the whole of Asia knew already long before and even better, for Europe it was nevertheless a new and great revelation. In consequence of this, the spiritual tendency of European nations was entirely transformed. For it disclosed to them the metaphysical significance of existence, and accordingly taught them to look beyond the narrow, paltry, and ephemeral life on earth, and no longer to regard that as an end in itself, but as a state or condition of suffering, guilt, trial, struggle and purification, from which we can soar upwards

{p. 628} to a better existence, lnconceivable to us, by means of moral effort, severe renunciation, and the denial of our own self. Thus it taught the great truth of the affirmation and denial of the will-to-live in the garment of allegory by saying that, through the Fall of Adam, the curse had come upon all men, sin had come into the world, and guilt was inherited by all; but that through the sacrificial death of Jesus, on the other hand, all were purged of sin, the world was saved, guilt abolished, and justice appeased. But in order to understand the truth itself contained in this mytll, we must regard human beings not merely in time as entities independent of one another, but must comprehend the (Platonic) Idea of man. ... Although the ancients were far advanced in almost everything else, they had remained children in the principal matter; and in this they were surpassed even by the Druids, who indeed taught metempsychosis. The fact that one or two philosophers, like Pythagoras and Plato, thought otherwise, alters nothing as regards the whole. Therefore that great fundamental truth contained in Christianity as well as in Brahmanism and Buddhism, the need for salvation from an existence given up to suffering and death, and its attainability through the denial of the will, hence by a decided opposition to nature, is beyond all comparison the most important truth there can be.

{p. 644} In consequence of Kant's criticism of all speculative theology, almost all the philosophizers in Germany cast themselves back on to Spinoza, so that the whole series of unsuccessful attempts known by the name of post-Kantian philosophy is simply Spinozism tastelessly got up, veiled in all kinds of unintelligible language, and otherwise twisted and distorted. Therefore I wish to indicate the relation in which my teaching stands to Spinozism in particular, after I have explained its relation to Pantheism in general. It is related to Spinozism as the New Testament is to the Old, that is to say, what the Old Testament has in common with the New is the same God-Creator. Analogously to this, the world exists, with me as with Spinoza, by its own inner power and through itself. But with Spinoza his substantia aeterna, the inner nature of the world, which he himself calls Deus, is also, as regards its moral character and worth, Jehovah, the God-Creator, who applauds his creation, and finds that everything has turned out excellently, panta khala lian. Spinoza has deprived him of nothing more than personality. Hence for him the world with everything in it is wholly excellent and as it ought to be; therefore man ... should just enjoy his life as long as it lasts, wholly in accordance with Ecclesiastes ix, 7-10. In short, it is optimism;

{p. 645} hence its ethical side is weak, as in the Old Testament, in fact it is even false, and in part revolting. With me, on the other hand, the will, or the inner nature of the world, is by no means Jehovah; on the contrary, it is, so to speak, the crucified Saviour, or else the crucified thief, according as it is decided. Consequently, my ethical teaching agrees with the Christian completely and in its highest tendencies, and no less with that of Brahmanism and Buddhism. Spinoza, on the other hand, could not get rid of the Jews: quo semel est imbuta recens servabit odorem. His contempt for animals, who, as mere things for our use, are declared by him to be without rights, is thoroughly Jewish, and, in conjunction with Pantheism, is at the same time absurd and abominable (Ethics IV, appendix, c. 27). In spite of all this, Spinoza remains a very great man; but to form a correct estimate of his worth, we must keep in view his relation to Descartes. This philosopher had divided nature sharply into mind and matter, i.e., into thinking and extended substance, and had also set up God and the world in complete contrast to each other. As long as Spinoza was a Cartesian, he taught all this in his Cogitata Metaphysica, c. 12, in the year 1665. Only in his last years did he see the fundamental mistake of that twofold dualism; consequently, his own philosophy consists mainly in the indirect abolition of these two antitheses. Yet, partly to avoid hurting his teacher, partly to be less offensive, he gave it a positive appearance by means of a strictly dogmatic form, although the contents are mainly negative. Even his identification of the world with God has only this negative significance. For to call the world God is not to explain it; it remains a riddle under the one name as under the other. But these two negative truths were of value for their time, as for all times in which there are still conscious or unconscious Cartesians. In common with all philosophers before Locke, he makes the great mistake of starting from concepts without having previously investigated their origin, such, for example, as substance, cause, and so on. In such a method of procedure, these concepts then receive a much too extensive validity. Those who in most recent times were unwilling to acknowledge the Neo-Spinozism that had arisen, were scared of doing so ... {end of selections}

Schopenhauer implies that ascetic renunciation has deeply shaped the German soul; how then does he square that with the martial culture also found there? He touches this question on p. 386 of Volume I, where he sides with not the "conqueror of the world, but the overcomer of the world", i.e. the one who restrains his ego. {end of text}

Marcion's break with Judaism: says Christianity is an entirely new religion: philo.html.

Ariosophy? The Rig Veda's account of the Aryan conquest: eth-civ.html.

Alain Danielou on the Aryan conquests: danielou-paglia.html.

Marija Gimbutas on the Aryan conquest: gimbutas.html.

To purchase these books from Amazon:

Write to me at contact.html.