February 22nd marked the birthday of the fabulous “Philosopher of Pessimism” Arthur Schopenhauer. He was born on February 22nd, 1788 and proceed to toil through this wretched thing we call life for a solid 72 years.
At first I felt very competitive with Schopenhauer because I wanted to be the philosopher of pessimism. Then I realized that I had dropped out of philosophy school, so I could just be pessimistic on my own. But truthfully, when I studied him in school, all my classmates were furious because he wasn’t “analytic enough.” And I was just thinking: this philosophy is so beautiful!
Because why? In my words:
Schopenhauer “believed that the will was the cause of unhappiness, and challenged many of the philosophers of his time by asserting that the will was more powerful than reason. He elucidated this point in his most famous work, “The World as Will and Representation.” The BBC reports that much of his philosophy is actually a reflection of his personality and life experiences. He lived a mostly solitary existence without friends or love. Although she had been close with his mother, a famous writer, and she had introduced to him to members of her literary circle, including Goethe, they would eventually differ over lifestyle choices and became estranged. Ultimately, aesthetic experience would be Schopenhauer’s antidote to the misery of the human condition inflicted by the will.”
Some people like reason. Some people like art and ambiguity. Some people LOVE pessimism. And that’s ok, too.