Arthur Schopenhauer – German philosopher
Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher. He was one of the most famous thinkers and misanthrope. He was fond of mysticism, highly appreciated the main works of Immanuel Kant, calling them “the most important phenomenon in philosophy for two thousand years”, appreciated the philosophical ideas of Buddhism, Epictetus, Cicero and others. He criticized his contemporaries Hegel and Fichte. He called the existing world “the worst of all possible worlds”, for which he earned the nickname “the philosopher of pessimism”. His main philosophical work is The World as Will and Idea (1818). His work influenced many well-known thinkers, including Friedrich Nietzsche, Richard Wagner, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Erwin Schrödinger, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Otto Rank, Carl Jung, Leo Tolstoy, and Jorge Luis Borges.
Arthur Schopenhauer was born on February 22, 1788 in Danzig. When Schopenhauer was 5, Danzig, formerly a free mercantile city, was annexed by Poland. As a consequence, his family moved to Hamburg, Germany.
Schopenhauer studied mostly the sciences and medicine but eventually turned to philosophy.
His passion for philosophy led him to the University of Berlin.
In 1831 cholera was epidemic in Berlin, and Schopenhauer fled to Frankfurt, where he stayed for the rest of his life.
In 1836 he published a study of contemporary science On the Will in Nature.
In 1839 he won a prize from the Norwegian Scientific Society for an essay on freedom of the will.
In 1841 he published The Two Fundamental Problems of Ethics.
In 1851, Schopenhauer published the book that brought him fame and followers – Parerga und Paralipomena.
Arthur Schopenhauer died on September 21, 1860 in Frankfurt.
Teresa and Arthur Schopenhauer
The most famous bachelor in Europe, Arthur Schopenhauer was the son of a wealthy and well-known Danzig merchant Heinrich Schopenhauer. However, in 1793 Schopenhauer family had to leave Danzig and go to Hamburg. At that time little Arthur was only five years old.
From Hamburg the future philosopher was sent to France, where he lived and studied for about two years in the home of his father’s friend. In 1799 Arthur returned to his parents and entered a private school for the children of the noble and wealthy families. After a few years of schooling Arthur went on a long trip to Europe, visiting England, Switzerland, and Belgium. There he became interested in philosophy and discovered a lot of amazing things that had a great influence on the formation of his future views.
In 1805, Arthur returned home, and after a few months his father became confined to a wheelchair. Always energetic, independent and autonomous, Heinrich became a helpless invalid. His wife did not need the sufferings and agony of her husband. She continued to be engaged in writing novels about travelling, which were published in Germany and were known. She was popular and wasn’t going to change her lifestyle. She spent all the time in the company of her friends.
When Heinrich Schopenhauer died, committed suicide, his son hated his mother and the rest of his life was cold and indifferent to her. In 1814 he finally left home and never saw his mother again.
At that time, he fell in love with the famous actress Carolina and wanted to create a family union with her. However, Carolina did not wish to change her free life of brilliant actress for life with gloomy pessimist.
When the actress asked Arthur to forget her, he did not think to look for the cause in himself. He found another, more intelligible explanation. He believed that women were stupid and narrow-minded creatures. The young man became a misogynist. But he continued to flirt with women.
In 1818 Schopenhauer went on a trip to Italy, where he visited the most famous Italian cities – Venice, Rome, and Florence. It is believed that there the philosopher met his love. She was rich, beautiful and perfectly educated. Most likely, her name was Teresa, however, in his memoirs, Schopenhauer never mentioned this name. He was seriously in love, but Teresa hardly liked Arthur: he was forever unhappy, irritable, stubborn and cynical.
Philosopher met easily accessible beauties, spent some time with them, and then quite rude and cynical part with them. So he took revenge on former lover, the Italian beauty Teresa.
When philosopher returned to Dresden he openly said to his friends that he didn’t want to love women any longer. After his trip to Italy Schopenhauer contracted syphilis, this seriously damaged his poor health.
He died on September 21, 1860, unable to cope with the severe form of pneumonia. Many years after his death people became interested in philosophy of the genius of pessimism, and Arthur Schopenhauer entered the ranks of the most famous philosophers.
– An asteroid, opened in 1915 by Russian astronomer Sergei Belyavsky, was named in honor of the philosopher’s sister Adele.
– Schopenhauer did not like people, but loved dogs. He had a poodle named Atma. 16 prints depicting dogs hung on the walls of his office.
– Schopenhauer tried to copy the Kant’s life in everything, except early awakenings. The scientist liked to sleep until noon.
– In 1840, Schopenhauer became one of the pioneers of the first animal welfare organizations.
– He believed that people’s thoughts were harmful for the mind and stood for independent thinking.
– Richard Wagner dedicated to Schopenhauer his opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen.