Arthur Schopenhauer, ‘On the Suffering of the World’ (1850)
Answer one of the following questions in 100 words based on the attach document.
1. What does Schopenhauer mean when he writes, “…the happiness of a given life is not to be measured according to the joys and pleasures it contains but according to the absence of the positive element, the absence of suffering”? (43)
(Answer the question in your own words. Also find examples in the text).
2. In the reading, what does Schopenhauer state about the ‘future’ – more specifically, our human ability to anticipate and think about the future? What are his views about ‘time’? In short, what does he think about both concepts in relation to human suffering (p.42, and 44).
(Find examples in the text to support your answers).
3. What are the “twin poles of human life” according to Schopenhauer? How do they relate to his views on suffering? (p.45).
(Again, find examples in the text).
4. What does he write about “passionate love” in the essay? According to Schopenhauer, should we pursue romantic and sexual relationships? (p.45).
(Find examples in the text to support your points).
5. Why do humans experience the highest amount of pain and suffering (more than animals) according to Schopenhauer? (p.46).
(Find examples in the text).
6. How does Schopenhauer view religion? What are his views about the “story of the Fall…[in the] Old Testament”? (p.49).
(Find examples in the text
7. How can a view of life as suffering provide us with a possibly helpful “outlook” in society? What are some potential benefits, if any, to seeing and understanding one another as “fellow sufferers,” according to Schopenhauer? And ultimately, how does he conclude his essay? How might you interpret his views into an ‘ethics for society?’
8. Finally, can you apply Schopenhauer’s views to the world today? If viewing our contemporary society today, how might he advise us to live and to act? And also, what aspects of his philosophy might be helpful (or not) to you in your own life, and to our present society in general?
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