Saturday, March 28, 2009

oh that droll Schopenhauer

In Arthur Schopenhauer's preface to the first edition of his "The World as Will and Idea" (AKA "The World as Will and Representation") he advises the reader to do the following things:

  1. Read the works of Immanual Kant first

  2. Read Schopenhauer's own "On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason" first

  3. Read his own "On Vision and Colors" first

  4. Read the Upanishads first

  5. Read the appendix of "The world as will..." first.

  6. Read both the appendix and "The world as will...", twice.

If you can't be bothered to follow his advice, Schopenhauer has a few thoughts for you:
...Therefore my advice is simply to lay down the book. But I fear I shall not escape even thus.The reader who has got as far as the preface and been stopped by it, has bought the book for cash, and asks how he is to be indemnified. My last refuge is now to remind him that he knows how to make use of a book in several ways, without exactly reading it. It may fill a gap in his library as well as many another, where, neatly bound, it will certainly look well. Or he can lay it on the toilet-table or the tea-table of some learned lady friend. Or, finally, what certainly is best of all, and I specially advise it, he can review it.

Mark Twain was never more droll.