Notes on The World as Will and Idea (v1) - Arthur Schopenhauer - 14401

Page 8

The philosophy of Kant, then, is the only philosophy with which a thorough acquaintance is directly presupposed in what we have to say here. But if, besides this, the reader has lingered in the school of the divine Plato, he will be so much the better prepared to hear me, and susceptible to what I say. And if, indeed, in addition to this he is a partaker of the benefit conferred by the Vedas, the access to which, opened to us through the Upanishads, is in my eyes the greatest advantage which this still young century enjoys over previous ones, because I believe that the influence of the Sanscrit literature will penetrate not less deeply than did the revival of Greek literature in the fifteenth century: if, I say, the reader has also already received and assimilated the sacred, primitive Indian wisdom, then is he best of all prepared to hear what I have to say to him.

In a sense, this Sanscrit literature prophecy can be considered correct by the interest in Buddhism and meditation in the Western world. But in general, it's not that at the level of Greek literature.

page 10

The reader who has got as far as the preface and been stopped by it, has bought the book for cash, and asks how he is to be indemnified. My last refuge is now to remind him that he knows how to make use of a book in several ways, without exactly reading it. It may fill a gap in his library as well as many another, where, neatly bound, it will certainly look well. Or he can lay it on the toilet-table or the tea-table of some learned lady friend. Or, finally, what certainly is best of all, and I specially advise it, he can review it.

I feel he was actually a bit disturbed by the publishing business. He'd write a blog instead of books if he'd live today.

When you put a price label on a book, it becomes a business and one cannot tell ideals above business using business.

page 11

Accordingly, as the whole history of literature proves, everything of real value required a long time to gain acceptance, especially if it belonged to the class of instructive, not entertaining, works; and meanwhile the false flourished.

This elitism makes the day for the obscure philosophy but do we really understand Schopenhauer now?

page 17

However, it is very advisable that those who are not yet acquainted with my philosophy should first of all read the first volume without using the supplementary books, and should make use of these only on a second perusal; otherwise it would be too difficult for them to grasp the system in its connection.

I'll do so.

page 19

In consequence of his originality, it holds good of him in the highest degree, as indeed of all true philosophers, that one can only come to know them from their own works, not from the accounts of others. For the thoughts of any extraordinary intellect cannot stand being filtered through the vulgar mind.

This elitism was nice when I was reading Schopenhauer's works in my teen years but after all this 20 years, I feel it's rather funny. Being not understood doesn't make someone special per se. If a philosopher doesn't solve a problem or rather doesn't show us mere mortals the basic questions, it's not worth considering.

All interpretation requires mental resources. This is my main idea regarding difficult works. If the time and energy I spent on a work doesn't directly benefit my thirsty soul, why should I spend time on it?

page 23

No truth therefore is more certain, more independent of all others, and less in need of proof than this, that all that exists for knowledge, and therefore this whole world, is only object in relation to subject, perception of a perceiver, in a word, idea. This is obviously true of the past and the future, as well as of the present, of what is farthest off, as of what is near; for it is true of time and space themselves, in which alone these distinctions arise.

This is the prime fallacy of Idealism.

An idea cannot exist without a mind and from what we know, a mind cannot exist without the supporting physical phonemena. It may be true that mind is more than physical effects but we don't know how such a mind exists and can think.

Therefore this sentence that ties all to idea is a bit too elliptical.

page 24

“The fundamental tenet of the Vedanta school consisted not in denying the existence of matter, that is, of solidity, impenetrability, and extended figure (to deny which would be lunacy), but in correcting the popular notion of it, and in contending that it has no essence independent of mental perception; that existence and perceptibility are convertible terms.” 

If we deny the existence of matter and consider matter as a mere illusion, how can we talk about anything.

We know ideas through matter, we know the world and existence through matter, our language is shaped by matter and without matter we cannot utter a single word. How can we be without matter?

At the end, it may be an illusion caused by some quantum field, though it's a very persistent, reliable and consistent illusion. Much better than other illusions and I'd depend on matter than some philosophy of Asiatics.

page 25

That which knows all things and is known by none is the subject.

The subject has no knowledge of itself, then.

This primary problem of knowledge assumes a complete unity of being. There may be multiple subjects, each knowing each other and these multiple subjects may be present in a single mind.

The Idealist position is considering mind as an atomic concept, without any division or whatsoever. This is merely incorrect. Mind can be composed of multiple agents or parts, each knowing others and overall mind can know itself.

The subject of Arthur seems a flaky construct.

page 29

Time is nothing more than that form of the principle of sufficient reason, and has no further significance.

Time has no further significance than being a form of sufficient reason?

Time is what makes the world, it's core of existence more than the matter. It doesn't exist as similar to matter but it is there creating all ideas.

Time seems the most important concept we don't know, that makes all other invisible ideas to happen. Giving it a secondary role makes the philosophy as a fairy tale.