Home Forums Newcastle Reading Group July 2020 – Schopenhauer

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    Michele Cowan

    Not sure there is a post to reply to but wanted to post this passage from Turgenev which illustrates in my opinion Shopenhauer’s ideas of our insignificance but also that idea in the dialog that we are at the same time nothing and everything Nothing because our individuality stops with our death, everything because we belong to this big unique stream of life the Will of life where our true being is. I thought it paved the way to Nietzsche, Wagner national socialist ideas of an external force in comparison to which the individuals are nothing. Ein Volk. ein Reich. ein Furher by its claim of being one and representing one will is for me in direct line with Shopenhauer’s ideas although I am sure he didn’t predict this nor would have liked it. The Shopenhauer I like is the one reflecting on art as a mean of uncovering something true and hidden which is deep down and is also valid for psychoanalysis and has led to Freud. Anyway here is the Turgenev’s quote. Unfortunately I don’t speak Russian
    “Whereas I think: I’m lying here in a haystack… The tiny space I occupy is so minute in comparison with the rest of the universe, where I am not and which is not concerned with me ; and the period of time in which it is my lot to live is so infinitesimal compared with the eternity in which I have not been and shall not be……. And yet here in this atom which is myself , in this mathematical point, blood circulates , the brain operates and aspires to something too …. What a monstrous business! what futility! Turgenev Fathers and Sons Chap 21

    Enjoy life

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