22 This ironic cycle eventually allows us to see the inherent vanity at the truth of existence ( nichtigkeit ) and to realize that "the purpose of our existence is not to be happy". 23 Moreover, the business of biological life is a war of all against all filled with constant physical pain and distress, not merely unsatisfied desires. There is also the constant dread of death on the horizon to consider, which makes human life worse than animals. Reason only compounds our suffering by allowing us to realize that biology's agenda is not something we would have chosen had we been given a choice, but it is ultimately helpless to prevent us from serving. 21 Schopenhauer saw in artistic contemplation a temporary escape from the act of willing. He believed that through "losing yourself" in art one could sublimate the will.
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For leopardi: "He who has the courage to laugh is master of the world, much like him who is prepared to die." Arthur Schopenhauer edit Schopenhauer had an influence upon later thinkers and artists such as Freud and Wagner Arthur Schopenhauer's pessimism comes from his. The will is the ultimate metaphysical animating noumenon and it is futile, illogical and directionless striving. Schopenhauer sees reason as weak and insignificant compared to will; in one metaphor, schopenhauer compares the human intellect to a lame man who can see, but who rides on the shoulder of the blind giant of Will. 21 Schopenhauer saw human desires as impossible to satisfy. He pointed to motivators such as hunger, thirst and sexuality and as the fundamental features of the will in action, which are always by nature unsatisfactory. All satisfaction, or what is commonly called happiness, is really and essentially always negative only, and never positive. It is not a gratification which comes to us originally and of itself, but it must always be the satisfaction of a wish. For desire, that is to say, want or will, is the precedent condition of every pleasure; but with the satisfaction, the desire and therefore the pleasure cease; and so the satisfaction or gratification can never be more than deliverance from a pain, from a want. — the world as will and representation, pg 319 Schopenhauer notes that once satiated, the feeling of satisfaction rarely lasts and we spend most of our lives in a state of endless striving, in this sense, we are, deep down nothing but Will. Even the moments of satisfaction, when repeated often enough, only lead to boredom and thus human existence is constantly swinging "like a pendulum to and fro between pain and boredom, and these two are in fact its ultimate constituents".
Giacomo leopardi edit Though a lesser known figure outside Italy, giacomo leopardi was highly influential in the 19th century, especially for Schopenhauer and nietzsche. 18 In leopardi's darkly comic essays, aphorisms, fables and parables, life is often described as a sort of divine joke or mistake. According to leopardi, because of our conscious sense of time and our endless search for truth, the human desire for happiness can never be truly satiated and joy cannot last. Leopardi claims that "Therefore they greatly deceive themselves, those who declare and preach that the perfection of man consists in knowledge of the truth and that all his woes proceed from false opinions and ignorance, and that the human race proposal will at last be happy. This uncertainty makes life valuable and exciting but does not free us from suffering, it is rather an abandonment of the futile pursuit of happiness. He uses the example of Christopher Columbus who went on a dangerous and uncertain voyage and because of this grew to appreciate life more fully. 20 leopardi also sees the capacity of humans to laugh at their condition as a laudable quality that is able to help us deal with our predicament.
Though himself a deist, voltaire argued against the existence of a compassionate personal God through his interpretation of the problem of evil. Jean-Jacques rousseau edit The major themes of philosophical pessimism were first presented by rousseau and he has been called shmoop "the patriarch of pessimism". 16 For rousseau, humans in their "natural goodness" have no sense of self-consciousness in time and thus are happier than humans corrupted by society. Rousseau saw the movement out of the state of nature as the origin of inequality and mankind's lack of freedom. The wholesome qualities of man in his natural state, a non-destructive love of self and compassion are gradually replaced by amour propre, a self-love driven by pride and jealousy of his fellow man. Because of this, modern man lives "always outside himself concerned with other men, the future and external objects. Rousseau also blames the human faculty of "perfectibility" and human language for tearing us away from our natural state by allowing us to imagine a future in which we are different than what we are now and therefore making us appear inadequate to ourselves (and. 17 rousseau saw the evolution of modern society as the replacement of natural egalitarianism by alienation and class distinction enforced by institutions of power. Thus study The social Contract opens with the famous phrase "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains." even the ruling classes are not free, in fact for rousseau they are "greater slaves" because they require more esteem from others to rule and must.
12 From the 3rd century bce, stoicism propounded as an exercise "the premeditation of evils"—concentration on worst possible outcomes. 13 Baltasar Gracián edit baltasar Gracián (16011658) was Schopenhauer's favorite author and Gracián's novel El Criticón was his favorite book citation needed. Schopenhauer's pessimistic outlook was influenced by Gracián, and he translated Gracián's The pocket Oracle and Art of Prudence into german. He praised Gracián for his aphoristic writing style ( conceptismo ) and often"d him in his works. 14 Gracian's novel El Criticón (The Critic) is an extended allegory of the human search for happiness which turns out to be fruitless on this Earth. The Critic paints a bleak and desolate picture of the human condition. His Pocket Oracle was a book of aphorisms on how to live in what he saw as a world filled with deception, duplicity and disillusionment. 15 Voltaire edit voltaire was the first European to be labeled as a pessimist citation needed due to his critique of Alexander Pope 's optimistic "An Essay on Man and leibniz ' affirmation that "we live in the best of all possible worlds." Voltaire's novel.
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He no longer distinguished a and physical world from a metaphysical one, a realm of definite qualities from an undefinable "indefinite." And after this first step, nothing could hold him back from a second, far bolder negation: he altogether denied being. For this one world which he retained. Nowhere shows a tarrying, an indestructibility, a bulwark in the stream. Louder than Anaximander, heraclitus proclaimed: "I see nothing other than becoming. It is the fault of your short-sightedness, not of the essence of things, if you believe you see land somewhere in the ocean of becoming and passing-away. You use names for things as though they rigidly, persistently endured; yet even the stream into which you step a second time is not the one you stepped into before." The birth of Tragedy.
5152 Another Greek expressed a form of pessimism in his philosophy: the ancient Cyrenaic philosopher Hegesias (290 bce). Like later pessimists, hegesias argued that lasting happiness is impossible to achieve and that all we can do is to try to avoid pain as much as possible. Complete happiness cannot possibly exist; resume for that the body is full of many sensations, and that the mind sympathizes with the body, and is troubled when that is troubled, and also that fortune prevents many things which we cherished in anticipation; so that for all. 11 Hegesias held that all external objects, events and actions are indifferent to the wise man, even death: "for the foolish person it is expedient to live, but to the wise person it is a matter of indifference". 11 According to cicero, hegesias wrote a book called death by Starvation, which supposedly persuaded many people that death was more desirable than life. Because of this, Ptolemy ii philadelphus banned Hegesias from teaching in Alexandria.
Others like nietzsche, leopardi and Camus respond with a more life-affirming view, what nietzsche called a "Dionysian pessimism an embrace of life as it is in all of its constant change and suffering, without appeal to progress or hedonistic calculus. Albert Camus indicated that the common responses to the absurdity of life are often: suicide, a leap of faith (as per kierkegaard 's knight of faith or recognition/rebellion. Camus rejected all but the last option as unacceptable and inauthentic responses. 8 Philosophical pessimism has often been tied to the arts and literature. Schopenhauer's philosophy was very popular with composers ( Wagner, brahms and Mahler ).
10 several philosophical pessimists also wrote novels or poetry (Camus and leopardi respectively). A distinctive literary form which has been associated with pessimism is aphoristic writing, and this can be seen in leopardi, nietzsche and cioran. Writers which could be said to express pessimistic views in their works or to be influenced by pessimistic philosophers include miguel de cervantes, lord Byron, charles baudelaire, gottfried Benn, sadegh Hedayat, fyodor Dostoyevsky, joseph Conrad, charles bukowski, thomas Mann, louis-Ferdinand Céline, mihai eminescu, friedrich Dürrenmatt. Lovecraft, michel houellebecq, thomas Ligotti, thomas Bernhard and Camilo pessanha. Notable proponents edit Ancient Greeks edit In Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks, friedrich nietzsche argued that the pre-socratic philosophers such as Anaximander, heraclitus (called "the weeping Philosopher and Parmenides represented a classical form of pessimism. Nietzsche saw Anaximander's philosophy as the "enigmatic proclamation of a true pessimist". Similarly, of Heraclitus' philosophy of flux and strife he wrote: Heraclitus denied the duality of totally diverse worlds—a position which Anaximander had been compelled to assume.
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6 This is teresa most clearly seen in rousseau's critique of enlightenment civil society and his preference for man in the primitive and natural state. For rousseau, "our souls have become corrupted to the extent that our sciences and our arts have advanced towards perfection". 7 The pessimistic view of the human condition is that it is in a sense "absurd". Absurdity is seen as an ontological mismatch between our desire for meaning and fulfillment and our inability to find or sustain those things in the world, or as Camus puts it: "a divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting". 8 The idea that rational thought would lead to human flourishing can be traced to socrates and is at the root of most forms of western optimistic philosophies. Pessimism turns the idea on its head, it faults the human freedom to reason as the feature that misaligned humanity from our world and sees it as the root of human unhappiness. 9 The responses to this predicament of the human condition by pessimists are varied. Some philosophers, mainly Schopenhauer, recommend a form of resignation and self-denial (which he saw exemplified in Indian religions ). Some followers tend to believe that "expecting the worst leads to the best." Rene descartes even believed that life was better if emotional reactions to "negative" events were removed.
Dialogue of Pessimism and, ecclesiastes (which maintains that everything is hevel, literally 'vapor' or 'breath but could also mean ' senseless ' and ' absurd '.) In Western philosophy, philosophical pessimism is not a single coherent movement, but rather a loosely associated group of thinkers. 3 In Pessimism: Philosophy, ethic, Spirit, joshua foa dienstag outlines the main propositions shared by most philosophical pessimists as "that time is a burden; that the course of history is in some sense ironic ; that freedom and happiness are incompatible; and that human existence. While many organisms live in the present, humans and certain species of animals can contemplate the past and future, and this is an important difference. Human beings have foreknowledge of their own eventual fate and this "terror" is present in every moment of our lives as a reminder of the impermanent nature of life and of our inability to control this change. 5 The philosophical pessimistic view of the effect of historical progress tends to be more negative than positive. The philosophical pessimist does not deny that certain areas like science can "progress" but they deny that this has resulted in an overall improvement of the human condition. In this sense it could be said that the pessimist views history as ironic; while seemingly getting better, it is mostly in fact not improving at all, or getting worse.
pessimism edit, rousseau's, discourse on Inequality was an attack on the enlightenment idea of social progress which he saw as morally decadent. Philosophical pessimism is not a state of mind or a psychological disposition, but rather it is a worldview or ethic that seeks to face up to the distasteful realities of the world and eliminate irrational hopes and expectations (such as the. Idea of Progress and religious faith ) which may lead to undesirable outcomes. Ideas which prefigure philosophical pessimism can be seen in ancient texts such as the.
This form of pessimism is not an emotional disposition as the term commonly connotes. Instead, it is a philosophy or review worldview that directly challenges the notion of progress and what may be considered the faith-based claims of optimism. Philosophical pessimists are often existential nihilists believing that life has no intrinsic meaning or value. Their responses to this condition, however, are widely varied and often life-affirming. Contents, etymology edit, the term pessimism derives from the latin word pessimus meaning 'the worst'. It was first used. Jesuit critics of Voltaire's 1759 novel '.
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Pessimism is a mental attitude in which an undesirable outcome is anticipated from a given situation. Pessimists tend to focus on the negatives of life in general. The points most common example of this phenomenon is the ". Is the glass half empty or half full? " situation; in this situation a pessimist is said to see the glass as half empty, while an optimist is said to see the glass as half full. Throughout history, the pessimistic disposition has had effects on all major areas of thinking. 1, philosophical pessimism is the related idea that views the world in a strictly anti-optimistic fashion.