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By Julian Young

What's the that means of lifestyles? within the post-modern, post-religious medical international, this query is turning into a preoccupation. however it additionally has a protracted heritage: many significant figures in philosophy had anything to assert at the topic. This ebook starts with an historic evaluate of philosophers from Plato to Hegel and Marx who've believed in a few kind of that means of lifestyles, both in a few intended "other" global or sooner or later of this global. younger is going directly to examine what occurred whilst the normal buildings that supplied lifestyles with which means ceased to be believed.

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Schopenhauer’s argument assumes that the satisfaction of a desire constitutes its immediate elimination, together with the goal it provides. He has to make this assumption for otherwise boredom – goal-lessness – cannot be the automatic consequence of the satisfaction of desire. Of many desires this is perfectly true. Once one has satisfied one’s hunger, then (as a matter of physiology) the desire to eat disappears. Once one has become the first man on the moon or the conqueror of Everest, then (as a matter of logic) the desire to achieve that goal disappears.

Schopenhauer thinks that we can sometimes share in the mystics’ insight through music. ) As we have seen, Schopenhauer despises Christianity. What he in fact despises, however, is not Christianity as such but rather the idea of our world as the creation of an omnipotent God of love. Other aspects of Christianity, the idea that this world is a ‘veil of tears’ from which we need other-worldly ‘salvation’, he completely endorses. Surprisingly, therefore, Schopenhauer turns out to be, in the end, yet another ‘true-world’ theorist.

But though, perhaps surprisingly, Schopenhauer rejects suicide,7 the ultimate and complete solution to the problem of life consists in death, the most enlightened death being that of the ascetic who starves, not by a deliberate act, but simply because he has become too will-less to eat. ) But is this not the most abject nihilism? Is not death the entry into a mere ‘nothingness’? And is not Schopenhauer, therefore, offering nothingness, becoming nothing, as the goal and meaning of life? To be sure, Schopenhauer replies, to our finite minds ‘what remains after the complete abolition of the will is .

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