Tuesday, December 04, 2007

6.423 Of the will as the bearer of the ethical, nothing can be said.

And the will as a phenomenon is interesting only to psychology.

Very Schopenhaurian/Kantian. But then so is the kind of ethics he is talking about, and perhaps criticizing. See Wiggins (2004, in Philosophy) on this passage. Some of Schopenhauer’s thoughts on ethics: The aim of all art is to communicate platonic Ideas, not concepts. Allegorical paintings are mere hieroglyphics. These Ideas are the various grades of the will’s objectification. “[T]he Idea can be known only by perception; but knowledge of the Idea is the aim of all art.”[1] Poetry uses abstract concepts, but skillful poets combine them in such a way that, given imagination in the reader, the desired idea is communicated.

“The poet comprehends the Idea, man’s inner nature apart from all relations, outside all time, the adequate objectivity of the thing-in-itself at its highest grade. Although even in the historian’s perspective, the inner nature, the significance of the phenomena, the germ within all those husks, can never be utterly lost (and he, at least, who seeks it, may still find it and recognise it), what is significant in itself and not in its relations, the real unfolding of the Idea, will be found far more accurately and distinctly in poetry than in history; and therefore, however paradoxical it may sound, far more actual genuine inner truth is to be imputed to poetry than to history.”[2]

“The poet is … the universal man; … And no one has the right to prescribe to the poet what he ought to be – noble and sublime, moral, pious, Christian, one thing or another – still less to reproach him because he is one thing and not another. He is the mirror of mankind, and brings to its consciousness what it feels and does.”[3]

“For both in poetry and in painting we demand the faithful mirror of life, of man, of the world – only made more clear by the presentation and more meaningful by the arrangement.”[4] Cf. 6.43 and Bearn (Waking to Wonder) on how the world of the happy differs by being more meaningful.

Perhaps here also see Schopenhauer Fourfold Root p. 211: “Now the identity of the subject of willing with that of knowing by virtue whereof (and indeed necessarily) the word “I” includes and indicates both, is the knot of the world, and hence inexplicable.” Again, pp. 211-212: “But whoever really grasps the inexplicable nature of this identity, will with me call it the miracle “par excellence.””

[1] Everyman edition of Schopenhauer’s WWR, p. 153.

[2] Ibid., p. 155.

[3] Ibid., p. 157.

[4] Ibid., p. 158.

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