- a bold metaphysical thinker, born in Danzig, of Dutch descent; was early dissatisfied with life, and conceived pessimistic views of it; in 1814 jotted down in a note-book, "Inward discord is the very bane of human nature so long as a man lives," and on this fact he brooded for years; at length the problem solved itself, and the solution appears in his great work, "Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung" ("The World as Will and Idea"), which he published in 1718; in it, as in others of his writings, to use the words of the late Professor Wallace of Oxford, Schopenhauer "draws close to the great heart of life, and tries to see clearly what man's existence and hopes and destiny really are, which recognises the peaceful creations of art as the most adequate representation the sense-world can give of the true inward being of all things, and which holds the best life to be that of one who has pierced, through the illusions dividing one conscious individuality from another, into that great heart of eternal rest where we are each members one of another essentially united in the great ocean of Being, in which, and by which, we alone live." Goethe gives a similar solution in his "Wilhelm Meister"; is usually characterised as a pessimist, and so discarded, but such were all the wise men who have contributed anything to the emancipation of the world, which they never would have attempted but for a like sense of the evil at the root of the world's misery; and as for his philosophy, it is a protest against treating it as a science instead of an art which has to do not merely with the reasoning powers, but with the whole inmost nature of man (1788-1860).
The Nuttall Encyclopaedia. James Wood. 1907.
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