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Episode #099 ... Schopenhauer pt. 2 - Ethics

2017-03-29 | 🔗

Today we talk about the ethics of Arthur Schopenhauer. 

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hello, everyone, I'm Stephen West! This is philosophies this. Thank you so much to the people that support the show on Patreon and make this possible for all the rest of us out there. I know I don't support the show on Patreon seriously. Thank you so much for letting me listen to this show patreon people for any of you that are unaware. Patreon is a crowdfunding website kind of like Kickstarter, except instead of you, know contributing one hundred bucks and you get to see your name in the credits of a movie patreons, more geared towards episodic content, pledge a certain amount per episode, different reward levels on there, thinking all the people out there that Do that? I'd also like to thank the people out there that a bookmark, the Amazon banner whenever you're buying something from that website. You go through that banner. Thank you more information about either these things is available at W W w dot,
philosophies this org. I hope you love the show today so last episode Chopin how it presented us with a picture. It's a picture of what he thinks is the metaphysical reality that we all navigate it turns out is a pretty grim picture. Scary picture, in fact, not exactly the kind of picture you're going to be posting up to all your friends on Instagram. Look if you had a bad picture on Instagram it. It's easy Edith put eighteen filters on until looks halfway decent, but there's no filter out there for this picture of the word: greatest filter. You know that one worry its superimposing bunny ears on everyone, you're, not post in this picture. If you post picture. And three likes one from your mom one from your dad and one from tomato Earl dude. That liked by accident. Think of what Schopenhauer sing. With this picture, although things appear
be separate and our human experience of the world. The reality is we're all manifestations of a single thing, a force that he calls the will to life. We exist in this realm with a conscious motor constantly driving us forward, where the only way to move forward is to interfere with orders, Roy the other manifestation of this force that surround us. As I said last episode, were condemned to a life of neurotic leap, restlessly striving for things and were forced to self mutilate just for the lecture, being able to continue restlessly striving for things. This is the picture of your life and show our thought many of us may tell ourselves a story. We may put our own instagram filter ten filters on this. To try to make the picture look better for us. But look, the reality is figuratively speaking. Yes, you do have dark circles under your eyes. Yes, your skin does look to in in that picture and the whites of your eyes do? Look like you have jaundice a bad picture, just delete it. Speaking from
years and years of personal experience here, Coven hour paints, this the cure for us of our lives, but we have already heard much about what he thinks. It's me in terms of how we should be behaving, I think a good place to start is to take a look at how most of us typically behave. During my wife open our thinks. We behave this way and then, if we do that, we'll talk about what he thinks the greatest way to live our lives is what do you say? Let's do it Joan ever thanks, because we're all manifestations of this will to life from the moment we out of the womb, we're in this constant state of restlessly striving for things now, it's one thing to speak about this in terms of generalities, but in practice, what does this wrestle? Striving for things actually look like in our everyday experience of the world. The good news is everybody listen to this can relate
everybody. Listen to this is currently restlessly, striving for something and look of your that guy, if you're out their say. No, no, no, I'm not restlessly striving for anything I'll say this way. Look! Even if you are some monk listen to this on top of a mountain somewhere, while you dust off the giant Buddha You please extend your friend Steven and Olive branch right. You can at least look around you and relate to the fact that people don't spend their lives and some perpetual state of contentment right here. beings live their lives moving from one state of discontent to the next. This is nothing new. We talked about it several times on the show before everybody listening to this currently want something that they don't have, and most people listen to. This tell themselves a story, maybe not consciously it's not like some Montre you're, repeating to yourself. Every day but at some level most of us believe that once we get enough things that we want or we achieve some level of status in the world, then I'm going to be satisfied. Then I
to be happy and just live out. The rest of my days smiling constantly you're gonna have the six pack on your cheeks, because you never stop smiling. Now, there's a endless possibilities of how human beings engage in this behavior some people, some people, do it with material possessions. Once I get my dream car, I'm done I am going to spend the rest of my life driving around in my new car waving, a people that'll be my legacy once a complete my extensive collection of star where's memorabilia, then I'm just gonna sit around the rest of my life and look at it. Saying things to myself like what would you look at that people? Do it with jobs, Friends, romantic relationships, weight loss goals, twitter followers, people, even though it without the close their eyes, so imagine the best version of themselves. I can possibly imagine Look, if only I can get rid of these bad habits that I have and replace them with
ideal collection of good habits then I'm gonna be satisfied, then I'm to love the person that I want to get to that point. I will be so proud of what have accomplished so far. I won't ever feel the need to improve anything ever again, but what actually happened? again, is nothing new, but what actually happens is get the dream. Car and yeah you're right around and it smiling and waving it people for a couple weeks, but then eventually Becomes your car at a certain point, then, inevitably, there's something else, your desiring everyday! You improve things about yourself as a person and yeah. You feel proud for a couple weeks, but then inevitably, there's something else. You want to improve by yourself. You can have it all. You have just used your brains, cleverness pattern Cognition relentless hard work and you could have just killed it for forty years in the private sector, sitting out on your yacht glass at Sharden, a just gazing out at the world. You essentially just conquered
but is it enough to essentially conquer the world? No goats, not at that point. You have to run for president and actually com the world? This is what we are as human beings to shape our manifestations of this will to life that are constantly restlessly striving for things in a perpetual state of discontent. Schuman outcome it to running through a sunny field. There sunlight all around you, but there's a single dark cloud in the sky. That's hanging directly over your head you can see sunlight in every direction you can see happiness is what it means seems within reach, but no matter how You run this dark clouds follow around and you're never actually going to get to the sunlight. This is what it means to be a human being and our default state to sharpen our now understand why some you may be asking out there really Schopenhauer nope. Nobody ever gets to touch that sunlight even for a brief period
I mean look, maybe you're right. Maybe I do just have these goals that I'm restlessly striving for their never gonna bring me long term happiness, but look, look. The fact is. When I get my dream car, I really do feel rate for a couple weeks aren't experiencing happiness there. Aren't I just feeling for whatever little, the time I can. In that scenario children are, would say. No no you're, not look. Your default state is to suffer and restlessly strive for things when you get the car, it's not that you ve ascended to some new plain of existence, known as Venus it's that suffering has been temporarily removed from your life, as you normally experience it. That really great way. The feel when you're in that place, get your dream car beyond Uncloud nine chip. In our things, that's the way you might potentially
but if you like all the time, if the reality of your existence wasn't that you are a manifestation of this, will the life condemned to restlessly strive and suffer its? Not that happiness has been added when you get the car, but that suffering has been subtracted now. Another thing it might be saying is: ok, though I suffer okay, so I'm condemned to a life of restlessly striving for things. What Yeah, I'm confused right now, showing our. Why don't I feel is miserable, is you're making me feel like. I should be like what, if I love my life, this offering that you're talking about yeah it's there, but it's not something, then can about on a daily basis like? Why am I not miserable. If I'm truly in this dark depressing universe that you're talking about well, imagine a war. Vet stepped on a bounced Betty in WW, two blew off part of his foot. He gets medically discharged, sent back to the states, get surgery, doctors do all they can, but there's
With limitations, of course, let's say, there's permanent nerve damage to his foot and let's say that, no matter what they do for the rest of his life, whenever he puts weight on that left foot of his whenever he takes a step, there's just going to be a little bit of pain and that foot can't fix what the veteran do in that situation. Does he sit around for the rest of his life? Agonizing about it, does he hyper focus on the pain every time takes a step. Does he let this injury make him miserable every single day of his life? No, he just accepts this unfortunate condition that he's in and tries to sort of just turn out the pain. As he's walking eventually gets to the point, he doesn't even notice it anymore. This pain is just what life is to him, but is that pain not there, just because he's taught himself a neat trick where he doesn't pay attention to it. Of course, it's still there. And children. Our thinks we're not so different from this war of it. Just because this suffering is the only life we ve ever known, and we ve learned accept it and not allowed to make us miserable, doesn't mean that suffering is in their most of us are so good at tuning it out that we just accepted
as the only way life could ever be. But just imagine if it was different. Imagine if it was possible for you to feel that way that you feel when you first get your dream car or you accomplish some lofty goal. What if it was possible for you to feel that way, a lot more of the time or all the time. This contrasts just goes to show how much suffering we all except it's just the only way life can be. It is his constant hum in the background we've learned a big noir and deal with much like the war. Vets learn to deal with that pain in his foot absolute last thing that I would ever want to do when talking about Chopin. Our philosophy is to alienate someone out there and just so happy the type of person out there that we haven't talked about yet type of person. That's what we feel a little bit left out right now. So, let's, let's let them ask a question thanking Mr Chopin, taking my question so I was wondering what about me, whatever somebody that just doesn't have any goals or even so inclination to strive for anything really. What have you been
just haven't, overall feeling that you don't care about anything or any one on this God forsaken planet that all this is meaningless. What about people like me show, but I would say, get that will happen. That will happen. Especially in these modern times, when we have this cushy thing, we call civilization. That makes it so that we really don't have to right for anything. If we don't want to do now is to be that way, and other gather times. If you're not rest, we strive for something you're dead, then with a week now it's an option for a human being to just not have any goals are to sit around lost. Wonderingly you want your life and never really take action on anything. Schopenhauer says that what type, a person's life becomes is either a life of boredom or depression or anxiety when their board. Their board, because their manifestations of this will to life, and they don't waiting to restlessly strive for there not doing the very They were put into this universe to do when the depressed. It's because again don't have anything to strive, for. This is a sense of purpose. That's
sing when you don't have any goals you truly care about when their anxious it's because striving for some goal that they want to achieve they just sit around. This is engine. That's red, lining subconsciously. Will the life is making them feel like this meth addict? Oh, I got a strive today. How am I gonna strive today? What are we gonna? Do and when they don't have anything to put that energy into they end up. Turning that Gee inward and wrestle striving over all these little things that they have no control over. People find themselves in this situation for a lot of different reasons, but I guess the point is after you, ve worked hard and achieve some goals expected happiness to be on the other side of them, and you don't get it And a trap to fall into is just to not do anything, but good is doing all this work anyway, secondary happiness Chopin, ours, as the only way out of this trap, let's available to the general public, is you have to find some way to go back? You have to find some way to delude yourself into believing that once you accomplish a goal, it's gonna make you happy now that sounds scary, the good,
There is no matter how extreme of a case you are in this place. There's hope for you because remember you are a manifestation of the will to life. You at your core want to restlessly strive for its party or nature. You just have to be open, minded and work hard actively searching for the things that you want. Your grind long enough, you stay open minded enough and eventually you're gonna find something eventually. You're gonna come across a picture of a like a white Sandy Beach, beautiful people frolicking around, and you can say to yourself: you know what it has been ages since I've had a good frolic. I want to do that and then off you go so too broad class of people to shaven power, you have the people they're, going to cease. Sly, strive and desire things for the rest of their life and there's going to do their best to try to tune out the suffering along the way, and you have people that both have meaningful goals and they're all gonna end up board, anxious or depressed, given our thanks. Ninety nine point: nine per the people are going to find themselves in these two categories and they're going to die in these two categories. We talked about his prescription for the people, who are bored depressed or anxious, but he also was a tactic for the.
The group, if they ever want a temporary respite from the otherwise constant suffering, are gonna be experiencing on a daily basis. I want to ask a question right now, There with me at first question may seem like it's kind of tangential, but I think it's a good way to illustrate this point here. Why is it that pretty much unanimously, every human being loves a good view. Why do we love views? Why do we pay so much more? for property? That has an amazing view of something in the backyard. Why do we love going on a hike coming to the edge of a ravine and looking out at a vast expanse of trees and lakes and snow capped mountains? People call it breathtaking? Why? Why does it do that to us now, there's a lot of different. There is about this sum philosopher say that everything we think as beautiful as ultimately derived from some aspect of nature, and that when we find ourselves on the edge of a cliff from a vantage point that human beings don't typically get to see, nature were sort of hit with this soon army of beauty and it becomes conflict. An overload door systems.
That's a theory but there's many others right. I heard a theory on a podcast one time that I actually thought about for years after it was that maybe the reason we all love a really nice view is because what we have these complex reward system set up in our brains and that maybe over the course of hundreds of thousands of years of our ancestors trying to subsist, we've inherited a feel good response. When we come to the edge of a ravine and see all the fresh water and the trees and all the life flourishing that whole scene giving our ancestors the message that they're going to live another day in theory, but then I thought about it and that's not entirely consistent right, I mean there's places like the Red Rock conservatory in Nevada. Undeniably gorgeous views? It's a barren desert, wasteland I've been there. I can assure you. Life is not flourishing out there. It's like one hundred and eighty degrees. Every day I got lost for twenty minutes out there. I'd come back, one giant freckle, that's all I'd be
It's still a beautiful view. Schopenhauer would say that the reason we all love a good view was not for any of these reasons. We love it because it allows us if only for a couple of minutes to escape the state state of constantly striving and desiring and reaching for things mean think about it when you're on the edge of that cliff and you're. Looking out of this amazing view, what are you thinking about in that moment? Are you thinking about getting that promotion? Are you thinking about the leopard interior that you want in your dream, car? No, you are totally consumed by that moment. Totally present. We all love a good view because for just a couple of minutes, we're not thinking about anything but the, but of what is right in front of us but Schopenhauer didn't think that we only have the sort of experience when we're staring at a beautiful view outdoors. He thought we could have this moment with anything beautiful enough to captivate us like this music. You ever had a song where you're feeling it so much that when it's playing your think about anything, but the song and singing it in your hair brush in the mere rabbit a great movie you just totally immersed in it, so
first? You almost forget that you're in the middle of a movie, theater even are super modern forms of art. What about a video game that so good? You can't put the controller down you're just in tunnel vision. It's in these moments, Schopenhauer that great art and even great philosophy can captivate us to the point that we can briefly escape this. Otherwise constant striving for things that is our default state. As a manifestation of the will of a life it's funny, culturally speaking, at least in the United States, working really really hard everyday striving towards your goals, that's one of the most virtuous qualities you can have somebody that spends a vast majority, their life listening to music and watch movies and playing video games. When I at the end of their life and they're eighty years old sitting around the poker table at shady acres talking about what they did throughout their life, that's a person. Their peers are gonna, have a lot of respect for your Chopin Outsourcing maybe there's some wisdom in that kind of a lifestyle that might not be immediately evident. Another interesting thing to think about is
in the same way, we shouldn't relegate our teachers just to people who work at a university or people that look a certain way or talk a certain way and that, if you're looking for Christmas them and potentially every situation that you're in I mean just like three days ago, I learned something that changed my view of myself from Sesame Street seriously. The great philosopher, big bird, has bestowed upon me wisdom that made me feel really great about my life. What I mean is in the same way that there is wisdom in every situation. There's beauty in every situation too. Now, if by appreciating beauty, we can temporarily escape from this default state of restless striving. Is it may be possible that if someone had like an extreme hyper vigilance towards the beauty and every moment, in other words, if they actively sought out and appreciated the beauty all around them, every second of every day, could they maybe permanently escape this default state that shape our talks about just interesting to think
so I'm so that's your lot in life. People get over. Children are a spoken. Sorry, it wasn't answer Euro hoping for, but the reality is ninety nine point. Nine percent of us are gonna, be stuck in this type of existence and that we all die someday. But what is this point? One per cent of people that we keep talking about, who were they ship in our thinks? There is a third type of person out there and extremely rare type- a person. I am certainly not one of its a person that so special they are capable of living life, that's in keeping with what he sees as the cynical of human virtue, a sage and his philosophical system, this sage is somebody that uses their intellect to arrive at several conclusions. It naturally follow from each other. If your children, our conclusions, this person to a single lifestyle that they share with other stages, to show pen hower. The first reality that a stage has to arrive at is that everything in the universe is ultimately one and when you arrive at that conclusion, what happened
Is you take a look around you and you see all of these individual aspects of the will to life interfering with encroaching upon other aspects of the will to life. You see a cat eating a mouse. You see a mother and her baby getting hit a drunk driver. You see an asteroid hitting a planet. You see the absolute male stream of suffering. That's visited every day in this universe and at that point the stage realizes something they realize that this suffering is ultimately them suffering, because we're all one Now, at this point, the sage searches for what's causing all the sufferings of the maybe they can do something about it. What is the force responsible for this entire exists and therefore all the suffering within it. The will to life From there there's only one path forward for the sage, much like waging an energy hod against vice or not being the best person can possibly
Schopenhauer says that the sage wage is an inner war against the will to life totally rejecting all the things that compels people to do never having sex, not eating good food, just because it tastes good living in solitude denying any desires, for fame and fortune, the sage and Schopenhauer system wages, a war against the will to life by refusing to participate in the game that it put us here to play the life of the same you can imagine starts resemble the life of an aesthetic monk. This is the pinnacle of human virtue to Schopenhauer. Now did he lived this way? No, but he did live more this way than most people do. He did famously about the rest of his life alone in an apartment with his pet poodle. Look, regardless of how you feel about never having ice cream again cell in all your stuff, spend the rest, your life sittin in your empty living room, resisting this urged to strive for things shaping. Our does make some really valuable insights. I think yes, he uses some melodramatic language at times to express himself. And yes, if you accept his
picture. You may not feel as excited as you are now about getting dressed up in your suit and tie outfit and going giving a presentation on Monday. But I think children our does to a really good job, pointing out how easy it is for us to be like that war veteran that we talked about find ourselves born into this existence were suffering, is an inexorable part of life, and it just tell her a story and try to do our best to forget about how much suffering we're actually going through? Should we be just getting it, or should we be doing more to try to eliminate that suffering? Should our ultimate goal in life, be to never experience any suffering ever now. On the other hand of your niche, who spent much of his work, responding to the work of Schopenhauer, agrees. That suffering is an inexorable part of life, but he has a slightly different view of it, like talked about the need to serious go back and listen to it. If you want the gulls shooting, b to completely rid yourself of any kind of suffering. Embrace suffering. If somebody has been through A bad stuff in your life feel privilege to be a person fortunate enough to have
through that immense suffering. That's it! We're not everybody has because now, because of it, you are more power. If a person than somebody else had just had an easy, their whole life, one of the biggest machine people make in their life is constantly trying to run from things that make them uncomfortable instead of trying to get rid of suffering all together, try to recognize it for what it truly is, as his famous line goes. That which does not kill me, makes me stronger, but anyway, whether you agree with Shapen Howard's, pessimistic world, you or not, he does a great job, I think of getting us to think about our human experience of reality or a place within the universe, and I guess I'll close today with my absolute favorite shop, in how our quote ever that. I think just perfectly encapsulates his work he's talking here about the biggest assumption. The biggest that he thinks people people make when they're looking at their existence, he quote quote there only only one inborn air, and that is the notion that we exist in order to be happy so long as we persist in this inborn error the world seem to us full of contradictions for at every step and great things and small
you're bound to experience that the world in life are certainly not arrange for the purpose of being happy. That's why the faces of almost all elderly people are deeply edged with such disappointment. End quote,
Transcript generated on 2020-09-30.