July 28-B, 2022

Sunrise A East Fork Overlook 05/30/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
Arthur Schopenhauer talks a lot
(In "The World As Will And Representation")
about "The Will to Life,"
without mentioning the Will to Power,
or the Will to Create,
or the Will to Have/Own/Possess,
or the Will to Explore/Investigate/Inquire/Understand
or the Will to Know/Do/Be...
And I don't think we generate
any of these out of our own reason and logic,
as in, "I think I will will myself to power today."

We are gripped by all of these Wills
and forced into them against our will,
compelled to serve them,
obey them
as though they are some mythic vision
sweeping up out of the murky regions
to claim us as its own
and carry us off 
into an existence not of our design.

Come back to the table, Arthur!
We have some things to discuss!

After spending forever talking about The Will to Life,
he opens up another line of reasoning
with the term "Representation,"
meaning "What we take the things we see to be."

He goes on and own about how we cannot see
things as-they-are but as they appear to us to be.
But he thought we could see ourselves as we are,
and not as we appear to ourselves to be,
conveniently ignoring the 10,000 ways
we do not know ourselves to be,
and surprising ourselves to discover
that we can yodel of all things for example,
or our propensity to deny the truth
about ourselves
and refuse to acknowledge the things
that are patently plain to everyone else.

And the he goes off for endless pages
on the phrase, "the principle of sufficient reason,"
which says, "nothing can exist without a reason
for its existence,"
completely ignoring Sheldon Kopp's observation
that "Some things can be experienced,
but not understood,
and some things can be understood,
but not explained,"
and what good is a reason
that cannot be explained?

But my biggest complaint about Arthur's opus
is that he never digs about in
the place of wanting in our lives.
Wanting drives us off cliffs
and into deep water all of the time.
We need a cure for ceaseless wanting.
Some way to cut it off,
to lay it aside,
and be free of it for days at a time--
particularly when we want 
what we have no business having!

What's the point of talking
without having something helpful to say?
What would help us most
is knowing what needs doing
and what doesn't--
and how to do what does,
when, where and how it does,
and leave what doesn't quite alone.


Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

2 thoughts on “July 28-B, 2022

  1. I did not want to put this in comments.   Sharing something probably you know anyway – Johari’s Window (“an excellent tool for comparing self-perception to public perception.”) From your piece below:  “Conveniently ignoring the 10,000 ways we do not know ourselves to be”   Some of the ways we can know ourselves can be found by using a tool called “Johari’s Window”- ” https://www.implicitbiascleanse.com/uploads/1/0/8/5/10851850/johariwindow.pdf

    When I first became aware of this tool in a group therapy session, it opened a window to understanding myself, especially the “Blind Area” – things others perceived about me that were unknown to me. Best,Sandy



    1. Thanks for the link! We can never be too aware of ourselves, in a not-self-conscious kind of way, and being attentive to who we
      “also are” is the on-going work of soul, and there is always “spinach in our teeth.”


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