Essay on the Freedom of the Will by Arthur Schopenhauer by Arthur Schopenhauer

By Arthur Schopenhauer

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Additional info for Essay on the Freedom of the Will by Arthur Schopenhauer (2011-08-01)

Sample text

And so it happens that many men go through life full of oddities, caprices, fancies, and prejudices, until they finally become fixed ideas. He has never attempted to abstract fundamental ideas from his own observations and experience, because he has got everything ready-made from other people; and it is for this very reason that he and countless others are so insipid and shallow. Instead of such a system, the natural system of education should be employed in educating children. No idea should be impregnated but what has come through the medium of observations, or at any rate been verified by them.

Subsequently, principally on the observation of each thing preceding the idea one forms of it; further, that narrow ideas precede broader; so that the whole of one’s instruction is given in the order that the ideas themselves during formation must have followed. But directly this order is not strictly adhered to, imperfect and subsequently wrong ideas spring up; and finally there arises a perverted view of the world in keeping with the nature of the individual—a view such as almost every one holds for a long time, and most people to the end of their lives.

The other literature is pursued by people who live on science or poetry; it goes at a gallop amid a great noise and shouting of those taking part, and brings yearly many thousand works into the market. But after a few years one asks, Where are they? where is their fame, which was so great formerly? This class of literature lapse of a few years. They will then afford material for laughter as illustrating the follies of a former time. It is because people will only read what is the newest instead of what is the best of all ages, that writers remain in the narrow circle of prevailing ideas, and that the age sinks deeper and deeper in its own mire.

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