2. Non Compos Mentis

“Are you scared?  Do you notice something?  Yes, the world is full of death, full of death.  Death sits on every fence, stands behind every tree.  Building walls and dormitories and churches won’t keep death out; death looks in through the window, laughing, knowing every one of you.”

“Go ahead, say your evening prayers, say your morning prayers, sing your psalms, gather herbs in your laboratory, collect books in your libraries.  Are you fasting, my friend?  He’ll lend you a hand, our old friend, the Reaper.  He’ll strip you to the bones.  Run, run to the fields and see that your bones stay together.  They’re trying to escape, they don’t want to be with us.  Our poor bones want to be free, it all wants to go to the devil.  The crows are sitting in the trees.” (From Hesse’s Narcissus and Goldmund)

This section of material is taken from a series of 14 notebooks.  I had discovered that, although getting out of jail was an uplifting experience, I still had to deal with my condition.  Riding a bicycle to work did not bother me.  I was content in the little room I rented from my sister, and I enjoyed building forts and throwing a football around with my nephew, but something was just not right.  It was not until late in 1991, while living in the basement of my mother’s townhouse, that I was bold enough to face the cold hard fact that I felt trapped in Alcoholics Anonymous, and it was then I began an all out investigation on alternatives to the 12 Step way of life.

By the summer of 1989, I had been hired by Monmouth Battlefield State Park as a seasonal Clean Communities Supervisor for a federally granted Anti-Litter Program.  I had escaped the pits of the 10 minute lube job [Hell Hole].  It wasn’t long before I was hired as a full time maintenance worker at Cheesequake State Park in Oldbridge.  Although I was relieved to have a secure job with the State, I was still haunted by the feeling of having my higher mental faculties atrophy through lack of use.  I could not shake the sense of emptiness and lack of fulfillment.  Often my uneasiness would surface while at work, and I constantly had to suppress the part of me that was suffocating.

Utilizing the root-base of a huge tree as the wall, and digging into the earth, my young nephew and I had gathered small standing dead wood to enclose an outdoor shelter in the woods behind the house his parents were renting.  We covered the shell with strong sheets of plastic, and then we covered the plastic with dirt.   I carved into the earth along the edges of the wall of our cave, and I placed two by fours on top of the ledges formed.  After an AA meeting I felt uncomfortable, so I went into the woods and sat in the Fallen Tree Fort trying to induce my animal spirit presence to emerge.  Then I returned to the house and sat in a tub of hot water that flowed out of the pipelines of suburbia.  I brought myself to orgasm and let the future generations flow down the drain, finding nothing there to fertilize.

Once again I began to loathe obeying other people for the sake of earning money.  My attitude at work at the oil-change place became worse.  I quickly began to lose the gratitude I had for “being free”.

Life is absurd – contrary to all reason or common sense. 
Life is futile – incapable of producing any useful result. 
Life is evil because pain is its basic stimulus and reality. 

As Arthur Schopenhauer says, the wise man seeks not pleasure, but freedom from care and pain.  He says the total picture of life is almost too painful for contemplation, and that life depends on us not knowing it too well.  One late evening,late March 1989, I began my Studies in Pessimism.  I began to read Schopenhauer. 

When family members would compliment me on how well I was adjusting since being released from jail, I would retort, “Life sucks.”

I found myself caught between the anti-intellectual spiritual healing program of AA and the my own dark convictions.  My blood would whisper to me, “Our entire lives we spend preparing for death.”

What woman would have such a philosopher as a provider?  The problem with becoming intimate with a woman is that I feel obligated to keep up the facade of happiness.  I would need privacy to experience depression.  It’s as though my knowledge will not allow me to be duped by the snare of a woman’s beauty.  I think a developed intellect hinders romance.  To father children is said to be the most fulfilling experience one can have in life.  I guess this has to do with the will to survive as a species.  If the sex drive and the emotional security of procreating were not so powerful, the species would go extinct more rapidly than it would otherwise … and it will go extinct eventually. I would have to look my children in the eyes knowing I consciously condemned them to exist, with full knowledge of the existential horror of existence. 

I had lost my NJ motor vehicles operator’s license back in February 1987 for driving without insurance, andI had my driving privileges reinstated on the 17th of April 1989.  The timing was eerie, for on the 18th, I had an interview with Monmouth Battlefield State Park for a seasonal job: a driver’s license was required for the position I was applying for.  

I went camping in between jobs.  I purchased a 1973 Chevy El Camino.  It was a rust bucket, but I loved it.  The vicissitudes of life, the unexpected changing circumstances, can shatter our universe or make us feel as though we’ve just woken from a nightmare. 
There is an inner conflict within me.  The human species does not have to, and in the long run, will not, survive.  Nothing matters.  It is the Will-to-Live that drives us. 

To perceive history correctly, we have to recognize in all the endless changes the self-same unchangeable being before us which pursues the same ends today as it did yesterday and will until the end.  (Schopenhauer)
What concerns me is that the same realities that existed in the early 1900’s in Europe exist today in the late 1900’s in the United States.  The same Will is present, the same conflicts.

I had been hired by the State Park Service as a permanent maintenance worker at Cheesequake State Park in late December, 1989.  I was very relieved to have gotten a secure civil service job.  It was only a matter of a few months before my unique ideas began to create tension between my foreman and me.  It is not as though I had no respect for him.  In fact, I had great respect for him.  After all, his mother had been run down by a car.  The driver’s failure to pay attention (he was looking down reading something while driving onto a jug handle) cost my foreman the life of his mother!  Besides respecting this guy as my supervisor, I also had sympathy for his struggle to make sense of this tragedy.  Still, my tendency to be outspoken became a thorn in his side.  We began to have arguments.

My foreman and I would have heated arguments about Christianity.  Being a Catholic himself, he did not care for the way I refered to myself as a recovering Catholic.   I am still a heretic.  This boss of mine had been getting on my nerves with his picayunish ways.  Something really irked him.  Even though there was an unwritten understanding that my loyalties should have been with Cheesequake, I put in a formal request to transfer to Monmouth Battlefield in Freehold/Manalapan, right near the fields and woods I grew up by.
Although I was approved for the transfer to Monmouth as early as May 1989, I would not be officially working there until February 23rd, 1992 – almost 2 years later. There were some politics involved. I can only assume that having been hired by the Cheesequake administration, I was considered their property.  Evidently I had some dues to pay before they would let me go.

The more flack I catch, the more I am pressured from outside forces to conform my thinking to herd morality, the stronger my desire for mental freedom becomes.  My presence of mind is no mere candle to be blown out by some Sunday school teacher.  What I have here is a blazing fire that will threaten to consume that which attempts to extinguish it. Sometimes I feel sorry for those who try to convert me out of genuine concern.  They just don’t get it, and I do my best to remain sensitive to their belief structures.  My foreman has been urging me to get back to the Church.  It really worries him that I am going through this metaphysical struggle alone without the guidance of priests.  This man is not trying to sound like an angel.  I am sure he has many questions that he believes will be answered at the hour of his death.  It is times like this that I realize it is courageous of me to doubt.  I can’t blame anyone for throwing me a rope when they see me drowning in the waters of doubt, but I do not grab the rope of belief.  I will learn how to swim.

Coming across a 1979 VW Diesel Rabbit for $600 was a blessing.  Instead of $40 per week for fuel with the El Camino, I only paid $7 per week with the diesel VW. 
A coworker at Cheesequake had brought up the fact that people who continue to ponder deeply the questions, “Why am I here?” and “What is the true nature of reality?” will eventually go insane or commit suicide.  It was comical. We were driving around in the State Park truck cracking up.

During this time, my Grandfather had died of a heart attack.  I never had the chance to say good-bye, but who ever does get that chance unless someone is ill before they die?  I had wished I had talked to him about the situation with the Gulf War.  I was feeling very anti-American and anti-Israel those days.  I had been informed of a German-American anti-Gulf movement called Wintergarden.  Not only were their views similar to my own about the war being all about oil, money, and power, but in the event of a draft, I could have escaped to Germany, taking refuge in a house for draft resisters. 

Why do I bother to write down my views?  Why does anyone attempt to communicate their philosophy to others?  Isn’t it clear that such matters are purely subjective and to be worked out by each individual in the privacy of the gray substance between their ears?

The “discovery” of Schopenhauer’s philosophy marks a point in my life where I received affirmation that I was on the right path.  I went through much aggravation getting copies of his magnum opus, and this makes his works all the more precious to me.  I know my copies of Schopenhauer’s books are as sacred to me as anyone’s Bible is to them.  I went so far as to spend $160 to have The Pessimist’s Handbook reprinted by Out-of-Print-Books-on-Demand.

As a rule, a man is sociable just in the degree in which he is intellectually poor and generally vulgar.  The man of genius has his compensations and does not need company so much as people who live in perpetual dependence on what is outside them.  The result, however, is that the genius is forced into isolation, and sometimes into madness; the extreme sensitiveness which brings him pain along with imagination and intuition, combines with solitude and maladaptation to break the bonds that hold his mind to reality.
Hence, the unsociability of the genius;  he is thinking of the universal and eternal;  others are thinking of the temporary, specific, and immediate.  His mind and theirs have no common ground, and never meet. – Arthur Schopenhauer

With On The Fourfold Root of The Principle of Sufficient Reason, Volumes One and Two of The World As Will and Representation, On The Freedom of The Will, and The Pessimist’s Handbook (The Wisdom of Life, Studies In Pessimism, Religion, Art of Literature, Art of Controversy, Councils and Maxims), I had in my possession all I needed to become a genuine disciple of this great mind.  Schopenhauer advises his readers to become familiar with at least Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, as he claims to pick up where Kant leaves off, making some significant corrections. I would go on to develop a more profound understanding of Schopenhauer’s philosophy by investigating his works on my own than I would have ever achieved by going to a university to study philosophy.  Most likely, the universities devote entire semesters to the Hegels of the world, ignoring Schopenhauer altogether.  I went directly to the source.  Schopenhauer became my Teacher as though he were standing directly in front of me.

All this may seem commonplace, but if I had not been so determined, my interests in philosophy might have been destroyed by personalities I was encountering in Alcoholics Anonymous and at work.  One evening at a meeting, I had mentioned to a gentleman in his early sixties that I had been reading Schopenhauer.  He gave me a warning of foreboding, “Be careful with philosophy.  It is extremely dangerous.  You are playing with a loaded gun.  That stuff is powerful – it could kill you!”

It was even suggested by my sponsor – someone in AA whose suggestions you are supposed to obey – that I burn my Schopenhauer books, that I would be better off reading pornography.  This amazed me.  There seems to be no middle ground.  Alcoholics Anonymous had become more and more unbearable for me.  I began to slowly fade away from AA.    I defied everyone’s suggestions to forget about Schopenhauer.  If I had to choose between Schopenhauer or Alcoholics Anonymous, there would be no contest.  Good-bye AA.  Actually, when I apply the principle of sufficient reason to the central concepts that AA is grounded on, AA becomes a hall of mirrors. 

What is this “principle of sufficient reason”?  This principle simply authorizes us to ask why.  People reach the causa prima (the Absolute, God) by annulling the principle of sufficient reason.  A few sing praises to the causa prima, and their voices find an echo in “the hollow emptiness of a thousand numskulls, an echo resounding and spreading even at the present time.”  (Schopenhauer)

Transcendental knowledge reduces the world of experience generally to a mere phenomenon of the brain, and this means the world is just as dependent upon us, as a whole, as we are upon it, in particular.  It is nearly impossible to even explain the ideality of time to people who see time as something that exists outside themselves independent of their brain.  Such people look at me like I am crazy when I say that time and space are mental functions in our perception of the world.

Schopenhauer shows how important it was for Theism to cling to the freedom of the will so as to protect the omnipotency and goodness of the Creator.  As long as man had free will, God was not responsible.  All events and volitions occur by necessity.  Man is capable of doing one thing at a time.  He can wish two actions, but only will one thing at a time.  He has a choice of which wishes to will, but motives compel him to will only one thing.  There is no freedom of the will.

When people get hung up with “keeping it simple,” they will join forces and attack any mind that ventures into higher orders of abstraction.  Such people are not so much interested in truth as they are interested in serenity.  Schopenhauer was financially independent as his father, Heinrich Schopenhauer,  had committed suicide when Arthur was 17.  Arthur was to take over the family business, but, instead, he sold it, living off the inheritance.  He was able to read all morning, take long walks outdoors to think, and to write these thoughts in his personal notebooks during the afternoons and evenings.
At that time in my life, I worked all day, and I often fell asleep on the sofa when I returned from my life as a day laborer, a prole exchanging physical labor for money, a wage-slave.  Whereas a university student may study for 4 years and stop abruptly, I knew that my “studies” would be life-long. 

Finding Charles Bufe’s AA: Cult or Cure? in the library would eventually lead me to Rational Recovery, which would strengthen my resoluteness to break out of 12 Step programs altogether, including Narcotics Anonymous, an  offshoot of AA.  When I would hear AA fanatics tell the new guy, “There is nowhere else to go.  This is the only place to be if you want to stay sober, if you want to avoid jails, institutions, and death,” I would just sit back and smirk.  I was suddenly aware of the monopoly the 12 Step programs had on addiction care.  There was no way I was going to start a campaign to enlighten people about alternatives.  The best I could hope for was to find a different way for myself.
Within a couple months after reading AA: Cult or Cure?, I got a copy of Jack Trimpey’s The Small Book: Rational Recovery From Alcoholism.  I found an RR group that met out in Lincroft, NJ once a week.  I learned that, unlike AA, where meeting attendance is a lifetime requirement, RR encouraged people to live life without dependence upon a group for support.  After about 6 months, with an understanding of the techniques for maintaining abstinence, people get on with the business of living, without constantly labeling themselves as “alcoholics”, “addicts”, “people with the disease of addiction”.  By January 1992, I broke out of and away from Alcoholics Anonymous. 

At a Rational Recovery meeting, the people told me something was not quite right with a disciple of Arthur Schopenhauer picking up trash, cleaning toilets, and mopping floors.  I tried to explain that the work was very zen-like, that I lose my ego in deep contemplation throughout the workday.  I was fortunate to have a job with the State in my hometown.  What would they have a philosopher do for a living?

In the writings of a hermit one always also hears something of the echo of the desolate regions, something of the widespread tones and the furtive look of solitude; in his strongest words, even in his cry, there still vibrates a new and dangerous silence.  When a man has been sitting alone with his soul in confidential discord and discourse, year in and year out, day and night; when in his cave he has become a cave bear, then even his concepts eventually acquire a peculiar twilight color, an odor just as much of depth as of must, something incommunicable and recalcitrant that blows at every passerby like a chill.
The hermit does not believe that any philosopher – assuming that every philosopher was first of all a hermit – ever expressed his real and ultimate opinions in books:  does one not write books precisely to conceal what one harbors?  Indeed, he will doubt whether a philosopher could possibly have ‘ultimate and real’ opinions, whether behind every one of his caves there is not, must not be, another deeper cave – a more comprehensive, stranger, richer world beyond the surface, an abysmally deep ground behind every ground, under every attempt to furnish ‘grounds’.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

Things I will not miss when I am dead:  desire, striving, drudgery, disappointment, getting shell-shocked when running into problems, going to work.  I would rather loaf around and think. 

Most people celebrate the birth of children, but my brain is filled with Schopenhauer’s words.

If children were brought into the world by an act of pure reason alone, would the human race continue to exist?  Would not a man have so much sympathy with the coming generation as to spare it the burden of existence?  Or at any rate, not take it upon himself to impose that burden upon it in cold blood?
~ Schopenhauer

We should repeat to ourselves, every day:  I am one of the billions dragging himself across the earth’s surface.  One, and no more.  This banality justifies any conclusion, any behavior, any action:  debauchery, chastity, suicide, work, crime, sloth, or rebellion…  Whence it follows that each man is right to do what he does. – Cioran

Pure reason would soon be challenged by the sexual impulse and a strong desire for a female companion.  I had been isolated from exposure to females in the withdrawn lifestyle I led, but the presence of a seasonal employee at the park would challenge the foundations of my philosophy.

Qualitas occulta is a force of nature, and to a 25 year old male who’s been involuntarily celibate for one reason or another for almost 5 years, an attractive 19 year old female is about as close to a force of nature as one can get.   When I was near her, I had not a single thought of philosophy.   In a matter of two months after first seeing her, I would become obsessed with my need to be consumed by her.  It was not long before we would be living together in an historic house I would be renting from my employer, the State Park Service.

Although I would have done it all again if I had the chance, from the very beginning, there was endless frustration, continual striving, unrelenting neediness, and one disappointment after another.  I will not go into any details, as I am quite certain these things are common occurrences, but I will share some material that exposes my self-doubts and the painful anxiety I experienced in coping with the highs and lows of my domestic entanglement with Sherry.  I had promised her that I would put the philosophy books behind me and give our “love” a chance to outshine my pessimism, but it was not too long before I returned to philosophy and even higher mathematics with a vengeance. 

Competing for the affections of Sherry against her recent x-boyfriend consumed all of my attention.  When in the grip of the sexual impulse, I understand why life goes on and on and on.  The pleasure involved in the rhythmic gyrations along with the hypnotic effect the bodily odors have on the entire being is enthralling.   The will-to-fuck had been shaken from its slumber.  It was not just the strong desire for continued copulation with her that commanded me, but the feeling of having her with me gave me the sense that were the beginnings of a family.  Together were the survival of the species, and the comfort her presence would blanket me in calmness and docility.  When she was not with me, I would become concerned about her safety. We both became possessive of each other. 

All seemed to be going smoothly with Sherry and I ever since we consummated our relationship during a camping trip, but then we began to argue over the future.  Sherry dreamed of owning or just operating a horse farm, and the not so funny thing was that I didn’t even want to own one horse.  We actually didn’t even have much in common, but we had already become attached to each other.  Why would I want something that eats my money while I sleep?  I told her that the only people in our area of New Jersey who owned horses were the wealthy.  She was furious with me.  This had become a sore subject.
After moving furniture into the Tark House, I went over to see her, and we argued about her wanting to own horses more than she wanted to raise children.   Her mother seemed to encourage her to be disagreeable.  I wondered if things might be moving too fast for us.  Sherry wrote a long letter to me in my journal that explained her doubts and fears.  She was afraid “the Hermit” would return when I got comfortable in the 9 room historic house out in the woods.  I had been considered for ’employee housing’ right next to our maintenance shop. Sherry was afraid I might not need her.  She wanted to know me better than I knew myself, but she doubted this was even possible since I was always writing about my inner experiences. 

When Sherry and I started considering the possibility of becoming husband and wife., we drove up to Pennsylvania, and Sherry met my 100 year old Great Grandmother.  My great grandmother suggested we live together for at least a year before even thinking about marriage.  This way we would know if we were suited for each other before making such a life-long commitment.  This was very wise guidance.

I had been officially deemed the sole tenant of the Tark House on Halloween 1992.  This was very appropriate for such a big old house surrounded by nothing but open fields and woods.   I had been feeling a little confused about a part of me dying since I became so intimate with Sherry.  My desire to be with Sherry seemed to have abruptly drowned out the Hermit.  The Hermit would have enjoyed the privacy of that sanctuary, that asylum, that personal monastery.   I shared my confusion with Sherry, explaining how I wanted to be able to continue my study of philosophy without losing her.   Sherry told me that she refused to be dragged along while I made up my mind about how I want to exist. 

There are men out there who are into owning horses.  I secretly figured Sherry would end up with one of them.  In the meantime, she could still enjoy painting in one of the rooms of the house … Every now and then, I would find myself haunted by the foreboding feeling that it was all a Fool’s Paradise, which it was, and that the whole thing could come tumbling down with the first sign of stormy weather, which it did.

I had trouble socializing with her friends.  I know this had to do with my years of isolating from people.  I don’t enjoy casual conversation, and my interests are unique.  This caused a disturbance between Sherry and I, and we both are prone to brood and sulk.  I can be a real asshole.  I would refer to her friends and her friends’ partners as phonies and fakers. I didn’t even try to be liked. Sometimes, during a visit, I would just wander up to one of the rooms on the second floor, or even up to the large attic. I would scribble in my notebook or study mathematics.

Then I returned to reading Schopenhauer’s The Pessimist’s Handbook. 

His pessimism is great in that he sees things as they are.  He advises us not to seek pleasure and happiness as they are chimerical.  He tells us to avoid pain and suffering.  I wanted to remember that the pain and frustration Sherry and I were experiencing was universal, not peculiar to us. 

Obviously, the only final and radical conquest of the will to live must lie in stopping the source of life – the will to reproduce.  Let men recognize the snare that lies in a woman’s beauty, and the absurd comedy of reproduction will end.  The development of intelligence will weaken or frustrate the will to reproduce, and will thereby at last achieve the extinction of the race. – Schopenhauer

I had been appreciating not having to commute to and from work; the shop was not 50 feet from my kitchen door.  I had even been proud of being an asset to the maintenance operation for the park.  Without the commute, I had more time to “fart around”, reclaiming my identity as a philosopher.  I frequently had to drop whatever I was doing in order to reassure Sherry of our love.  Still, the dark color of Schopenhauer’s philosophy had left a permanent impression on me.

It is impossible to live in the future, and the past is but a memory.  The only real existence we know is the ebbing and flowing present, which flows like a river.  Even this present immediately becomes the past just as the future instantaneously became the present (just now when we weren’t paying attention).  An infinity surrounds us on both sides.  The vastness of the universe is unfathomable, and yet, we deal with the ever pressing demands of biological necessity that compel us to postpone death, to maintain our existence.
Sherry had been complaining that I was not interested in the things she likes, that I don’t get into club music, dancing, horses, or UFO’s (heh heh, I don’t get into UFO,s).  I defended myself by pointing out that no two individuals are alike, and that each human differs from the next as much as one species of animal differs from another.  We both experienced pain as we allowed ourselves to entertain the idea that we were not “suited” for each other.  I wonder if either of us knew what we were getting into.  Sherry accused me of regretting having met her, that I had been on a path, that I had had it all figured out, and that she represented a mistake to me. 

My philosophy may have been too melancholy and pessimistic for Sherry to deal with.  She would not want to spend her life in the midst of such a dismal worldview.  I was forced to deal with this situation.  The conflict between Schopenhauer’s honest appraisal of life and the unbelievable love Sherry was looking for became a problem that just refused go away. 

In the meantime I had detected from my readings of Carl Jung that Schopenhauer may well be considered the grandfather of Jungian psychology.  Jung proposed that we cannot know everything about anything because we only know what we are conscious of from our conscious experience.  I was inspired by his definition of religion as being “carefully taking into account one’s experiences”.  I take into account my conscious experience each day when I pick up my pen to reflect upon none other than “my conscious experiences”.  I interpret daily life experiences as one would interpret dreams and visions.  All things in wakeful reality are like phantoms; all things slip away.

In India, idealism is the doctrine of their popular religions.  Only in Europe and North America is idealism paradoxical because of the realistic view of Judaism.  Realism overlooks the fact that the existence of these real things is nothing but their being represented.  These so-called “real things” are representations in the brain, and therefor of the nature of thought, of ideality.  This view is at the root of the saying, popular with Eastern philosophy, that all we see in this world is illusion.

The Hindu word for this dilemma is maya, the illusion of the reality of sensory experience and of the experienced qualities and attributes of oneself.  Schopenhauer was not one of those connivers who was hung up on trying to sound original.  He was sagacious enough to devote his mental powers to imparting to the world the thought of which the Upanishads and the ancient Indian wisdom was a consequence of.

The concept of a genesis, or a first cause, is an impossibility.  Confusion and the ulterior motives of those supporting theological explanations are the causes of the causa prima explanation.  A First Cause is just as inconceivable as the moment when time had a beginning or as the point where space comes to an end.   Also, matter does not arise out of nothing.  When we come across a body that did not previously exist, it must have materialized as a concrete form from invisible particles.

Coming out of a culture that has a fundamentally realistic, Judaic, world view, one may appear insane who has independently developed an idealistic view.  This condition, insanity, is not a step in the wrong direction; in fact, it is a cure.  A person is not considered insane if one person starts to believe him, or maybe two or three.  Then it is a religion.  It is villainous for the sane to coerce people into cultural conformity by crushing the drives that produce insanity.  When you are in accord with the sane, they are a great comfort, but when you dissent, things can get ugly.  It is sinister what they will do in order to “help” you.  Anyone who is sane is blameless because that is what mother culture tells them.  Anyone who goes against the grain is sick and needs “treatment”.   In treatment, a psychiatrist tries to convert you back to objective reality.  If you are in subjective ideality, this psychiatric treatment is not a search for truth, but the emission of an ideology.  Insanity cannot be observed as an object.  It is the alteration of observation itself!

Philosophy must take us to the border of the sphere that cannot be reached by language.  It should advance to the frontiers in order to discover that for which no concepts can exist.  The unutterable must not become the unknowable. – Schopenhauer

One cannot “have truth”, but one “stands in truth”.  Schopenhauer was not seeking a body of correct judgments, but a “mode of existence”.  He found contemplation missing in Kant, and he turned to Plato for what Kant denied him.  What fascinated Schopenhauer was not so much the dry moral duty of Kant’s doctrine, but the force of freedom summoned by Kant.  This force of freedom broke the chains of everyday reason, of mere self preservation.  Schopenhauer named this freedom the renunciation of the will.

Early German mystics and Indian teachings of wisdom used similar words to embrace that unknowable nothingness, which at the same time, is  everything.  It is clear to all who have read any biography on Schopenhauer’s life that Dionysus frightened him.  He wanted Dionysus out of the way.   I am unable to elude the Dionyssian impulses, and for this reason, I am a man torn apart by contradictory motives.  Mental activity is at its strongest when genital urges are strongest.  To give into the sex impulse is to lose the power that could have been put to mental activity.

The Indian salvation pattern – liberation from the series of forms and relapse into nothingness – is validation of what Schopenhauer calls “the denial of the will to live.”  Another thing Schopenhauer found inviting in the Upanishads is that it contained nothing that corresponded to the Western Creator, God.  He had unearthed a religion without a god, a metaphysics without a heaven.

“Where is the thing-in-itself most clearly comprehended?”

“In the will.”

“Where is the will most clearly experienced?”

“The most intimate knowledge of that inner essence of the world, the thing-in-itself, the will-to-live, is in the ecstasy of copulation.  The orgasm is the true essence and core of all things.  Copulation is the goal and purpose of all existence.”

The Upanishads awakened Arthur Schopenhauer to the wisdom of the East.  His pessimistic view of a demonic will, blind and insatiable, compelling  all things to share in its own futile unrest, had a tremendous influence on German thought.  It appears as though life unquestionably depends upon our not knowing it too well, for what healthy creature, whether man or beast, can oppose the demands of this essence of the world when in the grip of sexual ecstasy?


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