This preview shows page 1 out of 1 page. I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero. University of California, Berkeley. PHIL
The enchantment of distance shows us paradises which vanish like optical illusions when we have allowed Curvy nude babes to be mocked by them. When it conquers, and accordingly the. Notify me of new posts via email. For all love, however ethereally it may bear itself, is rooted in the sexual impulse alone, nay, it absolutely is only a more definitely determined, specialised, and indeed in the strictest sense individualised Vanity and suffering of life impulse. Look at the wood-snail, without any means of flight, of defence, of deception, of. The question simply is in what this true being consists. I avSpcw Qualis foliorum generatio, talis et hominum. However, two inevitable limi tations must here be borne in mind, which only open. Brahmanism and Buddhism, which teach man to regard himself as himself, the original being, the Brahm, to which all coming into being and passing away is essentially foreign, will achieve much more in this respect than such as teach that man is made out of nothing, and actually begins at birth his existence derived from another.
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Each of these Vanity and suffering of life books attempt to answer it in their own way. I could proudly give out my five-star rating to this book even when I am still lingering it's first chapter. That s Another must read on a regular basis book. First, we have "The Meaning of Life" which is declared as nothingness and emptiness in Ecclesiastes. My favorite section dealt with Song of Songs, the final "philosophy of life. This interpretation, I believe, fails to deal with the book as it was originally intended. Read together through the light of the rest of Faith, they provide an answer. As Kreeft explains, it is a time full of hope, of transformation, a building of suffeding Vanity and suffering of life. The three Old Testament books that Kreeft explores all add to the meaning of love in our lives. A Pharisee can fell morally sufferimg spiritually healthy, when if fact he is so rotten that gentle Jesus calls him a tomb Trans femoral amputation of dead men's bones. What is the meaning of all this? Kreeft wrote it in a clear way, without avoiding the complexity and depth of the concepts. Lewis and G.
Below is a condensed version of it.
- The lengthy exchange began with Cooper recalling the death of his mother Gloria Vanderbilt earlier this year , and remarking how strangers often offer condolences to him or share their own experiences with grief.
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- But earlier in the essay I noticed that he came up with this rather interesting observation:.
Below is a condensed version of it. If the modern reader -- particularly the modern American reader -- should find the passages here to be rather gloomy, then perhaps he or she will also see in them an antidote to that highly marketable fashion known as "positive psychology. Yet till then its desires are limitless, its claims inexhaustible, and every satisfied desire gives rise to a new one. No possible satisfaction in the world could suffice to still its longings, set a goal to its infinite cravings, and fill the bottomless abyss of its heart.
Then let one consider what as a rule are the satisfactions of any kind that a man obtains. For the most part nothing more than the bare maintenance of this existence itself, extorted day by day with unceasing trouble and constant care in the conflict with want, and with death in prospect If it has promised, it does not keep its word, unless to show how little worth desiring were the things desired: thus we are deluded now by hope, now by what was hoped for.
If it has given, it did so in order to take. The enchantment of distance shows us paradises which vanish like optical illusions when we have allowed ourselves to be mocked by them. Happiness accordingly always lies in the future, or else in the past, and the present may be compared to a small dark cloud which the wind drives over the sunny plain: before and behind it all is bright, only it itself always casts a shadow.
The present is therefore always insufficient; but the future is uncertain, and the past irrevocable. Life with its hourly, daily, weekly, yearly, little, greater, and great misfortunes, with its deluded hopes and its accidents destroying all our calculations, bears so distinctly the impression of something with which we must become disgusted, that it is hard to conceive how one has been able to mistake this and allow oneself to be persuaded that life is there in order to be happy.
Rather that continual illusion and disillusion, and also the nature of life throughout, presents itself to us as intended and calculated to awaken the conviction that nothing at all is worth our striving, our efforts and struggles, that all good things are vanity, the world in all its ends bankrupt, and life a business which does not cover its expenses; -- so that our will may turn away from it.
It is the form by means of which that vanity of things appears as their perishableness; for on account of this all our pleasures and joys disappear in our hands, and we afterwards ask astonished where they have remained. That nothingness itself is therefore the only objective element in time, i.
For at last time makes known the judgment of nature concerning the work of all the beings which appear in it, in that it destroys them:. Is worthy only of being destroyed. Hence were it better that nothing arose. Thus old age and death, to which every life necessarily hurries on, are the sentence of condemnation on the will to live, coming from the hands of nature itself, and which declares that this will is an effort which frustrates itself.
Lead him to death, and make him understand,. After a search so painful and so long,. That all his life he has been in the wrong. We feel pain, but not painlessness; we feel care, but not the absence of care; fear, but not security. We feel the wish as we feel hunger and thirst; but as soon as it has been fulfilled, it is like the mouthful that has been taken, which ceases to exist for our feeling the moment it is swallowed.
Pleasures and joys we miss painfully whenever they are wanting; but pains, even when they cease after having long been present, are not directly missed, but at the most are intentionally thought of by means of reflection In proportion as pleasures increase, the susceptibility for them decreases: what is customary is no longer felt as a pleasure.
Just in this way, however, is the susceptibility for suffering increased, for the loss of what we are accustomed to is painfully felt. Thus the measure of what is necessary increases through possession, and thereby the capacity for feeling pain. How man deals with man is shown, for example, by negro slavery, the final end of which is sugar and coffee.
But we do not need to go so far: at the age of five years to enter a cotton-spinning or other factory, and from that time forth to sit there daily, first ten, then twelve, and ultimately fourteen hours, performing the same mechanical labour, is to purchase dearly the satisfaction of drawing breath. But this is the fate of millions, and that of millions more is analagous to it The absurdity is glaring.
Is the world, then, a rareeshow? These things are certainly beautiful to look at , but to be them is something quite different. But this and all like it are mere conditiones sine quibus non [conditions without which there is nothing -- ed.
If in general there is to be a world at all, if its planets are to exist at least as long as the light of a distant fixed star requires to reach them, and are not But if one goes on to the results of this applauded work, considers the players who act upon the stage which is so durably constructed, and now sees how with sensibility pain appears, and increases in proportion as the sensibility develops to intelligence, and then how, keeping pace with this, desire and suffering come out ever more strongly, and increase till at last human life affords no other material than this for tragedies and comedies, then whoever is honest will scarcely be disposed to set up hallelujahs.
For at last time makes known the judgment of nature concerning the work of all the beings which appear in it, in that it destroys them: "And rightly so, for all that arises Is worthy only of being destroyed.
Kreeft succinctly explains why reading and studying these three books of the Bible are essential to leading a good life. Suffering is life moving towards God, but not fully embracing Him yet. Rating details. That s Another must read on a regular basis book. I appreciated his insights and dry humor. Today's Top Stories.
Vanity and suffering of life. See a Problem?
If a human father deliberately lets his child be run over by a car when he could have prevented it he would not be a good father. God can save, yet he is good in not saving people from all harm because in his infinite wisdom he can see what we need for our ultimate fulfillment and wisdom. Kreeft continues to hash out the problem through the rest of the premises. Symbolically, Solomon is God and the chosen bride is a symbol of the soul, or his chosen people.
A love relationship with God is hope of the heart, the purpose of our lives, and the hidden key the rest of the Bible. The Bible is a love story because God is love. Song of Songs is the answer to the question of Ecclesiastes and to the quest of Job. View all 3 comments. Apr 19, Tania rated it it was amazing. Another must read on a regular basis book. It's so rich with thought that I'm sure I missed a lot of it on the first read. If you want some insights to the books of Ecclesiastes, Job and Song of Songs, this is a great view.
I love how he introduced Ecclesiastes for the dark silouette that is the backdrop for the beauty and light of the gospel - especially for modern man. Since I've read this, I've seen it in so many conversations that I've had with people. What is the meaning of all this? That s Another must read on a regular basis book. That striving for vanity and more vanity - and then what is the answer?
He moves to Job. Finally, landing in the Song of Songs to reveal the beauty of Love. If I can read this book, you probably can, too. Be prepared to grow! Sep 28, Ryan rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites.
Outside of books of the Bible, this is one of only 2 "5-Star" Books I read in Kreeft is known for saying that he recommends starting with Ecclesiastes as the first book to study in the Bible, because it presents the case for the pain of living in vanity when God is rejected.
What is the meaning of life? While "The Preacher" in Ecclesiastes fails to answer that question, the rest of the Bible Outside of books of the Bible, this is one of only 2 "5-Star" Books I read in While "The Preacher" in Ecclesiastes fails to answer that question, the rest of the Bible provides the answer. Here is a gem from each of the commentaries. From Ecclesiastes: "Love, true love, agape, charity, total self-giving, is the one thing in this life under the sun that is 'stronger than death', that smells of eternity, that alone never gets boring, that is never exhausted, that becomes more fulfilling, not less, the more it is practiced.
Love is infinite. A Pharisee can fell morally and spiritually healthy, when if fact he is so rotten that gentle Jesus calls him a tomb full of dead men's bones.
A saint can be going through 'the dark night of the soul' and feel totally dried up inside, while in fact God is perfecting him like an artist perfecting his masterpiece.
Your soul is so small and arrogant that it feels comfortable and cuddly with God, then the only size love you will admit into your soul is a comfortable and cuddly love. No matter how much we rant and rave, we cannot change the essential, eternal laws of the very structure of reality to conform to our latest ideological fashions and fancies.
Jan 29, Matt Bianco rated it really liked it Shelves: theology. An exposition of Ecclesiastes the philosophy of vanity , Job the philosophy of suffering , and Song of Songs the philosophy of love. Peter Kreeft's interpretation of Ecclesiastes is the standard interpretation: Solomon is writing as if he were an atheist. This interpretation, I believe, fails to deal with the book as it was originally intended.
Douglas Wilson starts to wrestle with this in his Joy at the End of the Tether. And, I believe, Jeffrey Myers does so successfully in his An exposition of Ecclesiastes the philosophy of vanity , Job the philosophy of suffering , and Song of Songs the philosophy of love. And, I believe, Jeffrey Myers does so successfully in his A Table in the Mist--although I haven't read it yet, so this statement is based on hearsay.
That being said, Kreeft still makes some meaningful observations about the human condition when one sees life as meaningless--meaning being something that can only come from God. He says this of vanity: The essence of Hell is not suffering but vanity, not pain but purposelessness, not physical suffering but spiritual suffering. Suffering is not the essence of Hell, because suffering can be hopeful. It was for Job. It is not without doubts. Indeed, his doubts came from his faith.
When faith is full, it is open and can include doubts; when it is weak, it cannot tolerate doubts. But Job remains a hero of faith. He waits in faith, and he sees the glory of God. For Kreeft, vanity is life without God. Suffering is life moving towards God, but not fully embracing Him yet. And love is full union with God, and that love can only come from Him and cast out all of the vanity and suffering that went before it.
Overall, I enjoy Kreeft's writing. He was clearly influenced by C. Lewis and G. Chesterton, and this comes out in his writing. This is hardly a bad thing. Nov 10, Brian Watson rated it really liked it. Kreeft, a Catholic philosopher, calls these three books of the Bible Ecclesiastes, Job, and Song of Songs the three greatest pieces of philosophy. He relates Ecclesiastes to hell on earth, Job to purgatory on earth, and the Song of Songs to heaven on earth.
I appreciated his insights and dry humor. This book is no a Kreeft, a Catholic philosopher, calls these three books of the Bible Ecclesiastes, Job, and Song of Songs the three greatest pieces of philosophy. Finished October 31, May 26, Rick Davis rated it really liked it Shelves: philosophy , nonfiction , bible-theology , bible-commentary-ot. Three Philosophies of Life is a wonderful set of meditations centered on the biblical books of Ecclesiastes, Job, and Song of Songs.
Peter Kreeft does not attempt to write commentary about the books or delve into critical debates about composition, dating, etc. Rather he approaches these three books as books of philosophy, and seeks to understand them in light of what they can teach us about the human condition and the life of the Christian.
He focuses on the three books as representing three philos Three Philosophies of Life is a wonderful set of meditations centered on the biblical books of Ecclesiastes, Job, and Song of Songs.
Kreeft is strongest when discussing the book of Job, and I will probably return to this time and time again as I walk through the book of Job with my high school students. Jun 23, Don Mario rated it liked it.
La recensione in italiano qui Kreeft affirms that in his life the three most influential philosophical books he ever read are books from the Bible: Qoelet , Job and the Canticle of Canticles. These books represent three different views on life: Qoelet representing nihilism, Job fatalism, and the Canticle mysticism.
In a different perspective, the first is a meditation on Hell, the second on Purgatory, the third on Heaven. The first is the best wisdom a man can reach without God, the second reflects on evil and reac La La recensione in italiano qui Kreeft affirms that in his life the three most influential philosophical books he ever read are books from the Bible: Qoelet , Job and the Canticle of Canticles.
The first is the best wisdom a man can reach without God, the second reflects on evil and reaches God at the end, the third is a joyful opening of the self to God the Creator.
This wise and brilliant thinker puts together a deep and enjoyable book. Sep 19, Thadeus rated it really liked it Shelves: own , philosophy. This is a book that struck me as a fundamental book.
Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. The book is full of wisdom and useful insights that can help to provide a good perspective on life. There were plenty of gems in it that I wil This is a book that struck me as a fundamental book. There were plenty of gems in it that I will look forward to revisiting. Highly recommended! Feb 05, Isaac Hicks rated it liked it. A interesting book with some valuable insights on Ecclesiastes, Job, and Song of Songs.
Though the interpretive lens that Rome requires led to several errors in interpretation. It was really my first book about philosophy so most of his references I did not understand fully. Others more acquainted with philosophy may like it more than I did. Jul 12, Erik marked it as to-read Shelves: catholic. Inspiring and unique insights into Ecclesiastes life as vanity , Job life as suffering , and Song of Songs life as love.
Aug 25, Mary Karam rated it really liked it. One of philosophy's working definitions is deep thinking or thinking deeply, and that's what the book's three sections do about three concepts in life First, we have "The Meaning of Life" which is declared as nothingness and emptiness in Ecclesiastes.
But Ecclesiastes' claim creates a silence, a black hole that needs to be dealt with or else life wouldn't be worth living. And so in our continual search, we proceed to Job, to find the inevitability of suffering, where life's meaning One of philosophy's working definitions is deep thinking or thinking deeply, and that's what the book's three sections do about three concepts in life And so in our continual search, we proceed to Job, to find the inevitability of suffering, where life's meaning is suffering The unraveling of what Job's question was really about and the glimpses of what God's answer meant to him was beautifully contemplated upon and this section is so far the best thing I've read on the problem of pain and the book of Job.
And since the answer was composed by and in Love, we find ourselves in the "Song of Songs", Kreeft does a parallel to 1 Corinthians listing 26 characteristics of this mysterious, life-giving, electrifying objective truth that is Love. It's a challenge to modern thoughts about love and a personal challenge to what comes to your mind when you think about love. Apr 10, Tyler Wood rated it it was amazing. I've never read anything by Kreeft and felt a tinge of regret.
I love philosophy of all types, but he really does a proficient job of keeping it elevated and joyously readable. I'm sure if you reject the Bible, this might not be your cup. On the other hand, it's filled with such practical wisdom, it may be great for audiences with all levels of faith. I'm not breaking any church attendance records, but Kreeft's writing runs strong from the start and continues down the stretch. Fun and illuminati I've never read anything by Kreeft and felt a tinge of regret.
Fun and illuminating. Yes, please. Mar 22, Kyler Martin rated it it was amazing Shelves: fb. Kreeft writes a stirring and provoking commentary on the Bible's wisdom literature. This philosophical work is woven in a delightful style, almost playful at times, but never in a flippant way.
At the most fundamental level, Kreeft awakes the contemporary reader of Scripture to the life and vigor of the Scriptures. By way of commentary then, his exposition brings illumination and insight to the entire Bible and really to life. After all, these are philosophies of life. Oct 21, Christina rated it it was amazing. This is such an intriguing philosophical, Scripture based book, analyzing the commonalities of the three philosophy books of the Bible.
This book brought so much clarity into the distinct purposes of each of these books, and enlightened my understanding of God that these books of the Bible impart.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Kreeft wrote it in a clear way, without avoiding the complexity and depth of the concepts. I would highly recommend! Sep 21, Damien Rappuhn rated it it was amazing. It set out to do exactly what Kreeft said he would: establish these three books of Wisdom literature in the Old Testament as allegories for Dante's Divine Comedy, while also presenting them as philosophies of ways of life.
These three parts should be read as introductions to each respective book. If you are interested in studying Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, or Job, this book should be your introduction to them. Dec 18, Michael Joosten rated it it was amazing. Ecclesiastes, Job, and the Song of Songs: three books of the Bible that reside somewhere near the back of thought when you're inclined more toward the narrative parts of the Old Testament, or to the New Testament generally.
But each of these, and the more if you read them together, are titanic books of literature, as Kreeft lays out. Each is a work of philosophy, propounding an answer to the meaning of life. Read together through the light of the rest of Faith, they provide an answer. Aug 05, Mary rated it it was amazing. Never read Ecclesiastes, Job or Song of Songs? Or have you and didn't quite understand? This book is fantastic.
Peter Kreeft's writing is solid and manageable. I learned a lot you should see all the underlining! Give it a try. Another great book! Merry never disappoints. A great read and very insightful. It opened up The Song of Songs to me in a way I never considered before. I highly recommend. Sep 30, Yolanda rated it it was amazing. Kreeft illuminated truths about these books that I have never seen before. He is readable and original. Jun 27, Eric rated it really liked it. Insightful and was helpful to reflect on more of the Bible.
Dec 31, John rated it it was amazing Shelves: theology , philosophy. Another excellent book by Dr. Kreeft succinctly explains why reading and studying these three books of the Bible are essential to leading a good life. Aug 13, Jason Kanz rated it really liked it Shelves: Peter Kreeft's Three Philosophies of Life is a philosophical, theological, and practical exploration of the the themes of vanity, suffering, and love.
He explores each of these "philosophies of life" through the biblical wisdom literature. In particular, ecclesiastes represents vanity, Job represents suffering, and the Song of Songs represents love.
The longest section dealt with Ecclesiastes, which Kreeft regards as one of the finest philosophical "books" ever produced because it deals s Peter Kreeft's Three Philosophies of Life is a philosophical, theological, and practical exploration of the the themes of vanity, suffering, and love.
The longest section dealt with Ecclesiastes, which Kreeft regards as one of the finest philosophical "books" ever produced because it deals so well with a basic human issue. He writes, "Ecclesiastes is as great, as deep, and as terrifying as the ocean. The second section, which deals with the suffering of Job, is also deeply relevant to modern life.
He wrestles deeply with the what suffering means in life without minimizing it or avoiding its reality, much like the author of Job did. My favorite section dealt with Song of Songs, the final "philosophy of life. But who would go on living life as it is, if death were less terrible? And who could bear even the mere thought of death if life were a pleasure? But the former still always has the good point of being the end of life and we console ourselves with death in regard to the sufferings of life, and with the sufferings of life in regard to death.
The truth is that the two belong to each other inseparably, since they constitute a deviation from the right path, and a return to this is as difficult as it is desirable. So the harm of death makes continuing to live bearable and the sufferings of life make the prospect of death bearable. First thank you for your interesting blog I'm sorry to write in french mais I fear my english is not good enough to make me understand by you. If you don't understand french, next time I'll try to do my best in your own language
I strive after nothing but the truth, and write as the an cients wrote, with the sole intention of preserving my thoughts, so that they may be for the benefit of those who understand how to meditate upon them and prize. On this account, then, whoever wishes to learn from me and understand me must leave nothing unread that I have written. Meanwhile the space gained by the said elimination of two important subjects will be very welcome to us.
For since those explanations, which every man has more at heart than anything else, and which therefore in every system, as ultimate results, form the apex of its pyramid, are also crowded together in my last book, a larger space will gladly be granted to every firmer proof or more accu rate account of these. Indeed without death men would scarcely philosophise.
Therefore it will be quite in order that a special consideration of this should have its place here at the beginning of the last, most serious, and most important of our books. But as everywhere in nature with every evil a means of cure, or at least some compensation, is given, the same reflection which introduces the knowledge of death also assists us to metaphysical points of view, which comfort us concerning it, and of which the brute has no need and is incapable.
Yet the degree in which they attain this end is very different, and certainly one religion or philosophy will, far more than the others, enable men to look death in the face with a quiet glance.
Brahmanism and Buddhism, which teach man to regard himself as himself, the original being, the Brahm, to which all coming into being and passing away is essentially foreign, will achieve much more in this respect than such as teach that man is made out of nothing, and actually begins at birth his existence derived from another. Answering to this we find in India a confidence and a contempt for death of which one has no conception in Europe.
It is, in fact, a hazardous thing to force upon a man, by early imprinting them, weak and untenable conceptions in this important regard, and thereby making him for ever in- r capable of taking up correct and stable ones. If, then, when the mind j ripens and reflection appears, the untenable nature of I such doctrines forces itself upon him, he has nothing better to put in its place, nay, is no longer capable of understanding anything better, and thus loses the comfort which nature had destined for him also, as a compensation for the certainty of death.
However, after all that has been taught concerning death, it cannot be denied that, at least in Europe, the opinion of men, nay, often even of the same individual, very fre quently vacillates between the conception of death as abso lute annihilation and the assumption that we are, as it were, with skin and hair, immortal. In these considerations I shall first of all start from the purely empirical standpoint.
Here there primarily lies before us the undeniable fact that, according to the natural consciousness, man not only fears death for his own person more than anything else, but also weeps violently over the death of those that belong to him, and indeed clearly not egotistically, for his own loss, but out of sympathy for the great misfortune that has befallen them. Therefore he also censures those who in such a case neither weep nor show sadness as hard-hearted and unloving.
It is parallel with this that revenge, in its highest degree, seeks the death of the adversary as the greatest evil that can be inflicted. Now here it seems distinctly to say that death is a great evil. In the language of nature death means annihilation.
And that death is a serious matter may be concluded from the fact that, as every one knows, life is no joke. We must indeed deserve nothing better than these two. In fact, the fear of death is independent of all know ledge; for the brute has it, although it does not know death.
Everything that is born brings it with it into the world. But this fear of death is a priori only the reverse side of the will to live, which indeed we all are. There fore in every brute the fear of its destruction is inborn, like the care for its maintenance.
Thus it is the fear of death, and not the mere avoidance of pain, which shows itself in the anxious carefulness with which the brute seeks to protect itself, and still more its brood, from every thing that might become dangerous. Why does the brute flee, trembling, and seek to conceal itself? Because it is simply the will to live, but, as such, is forfeited to death, and wishes to gain time. Such also, by nature, is man! The greatest evil, the worst that can anywhere threaten, is death; the greatest fear is the fear of death.
If one knocked on the graves, and asked the dead whether they wished to rise again, they would shake their heads. Such is the opinion of Socrates in " Plato s Apology," and even the gay and amiable Vol taire cannot help saying, "On aime la vie; mais le ndant ne laisse pas tfavoir du Ion; " and again, "Je ne sais pas C6 que cest que la vie dtemelle, mais celle-ci est une mauvaise plaisanterie. Accordingly it appears to reflection even ludicrous to be so anxious about this span of time, to tremble so much if our own life or that of another is in danger, and to com pose tragedies the horror of which has ite strength in.
Knowledge, on the contrary, far from being the source of that attachment to life, even works against it, for it discloses the worthlessnesjpjj.
When it conquers, and accordingly the. We may here ask, in passing, how could this boundless love of life and endeavour to maintain it in every way as long as possible be regarded as base, con- temptible, and by the adherents of every religion as unworthy of this, if it were the gift of good gods, to be recognised with thankfulness?
And how could it then seem great and noble to esteem it lightly? Meanwhile, what is confirmed by these considerations is i. If what makes death seem so terrible to us were the thought of not being, we would necessarily think with equal horror of the time when as yet we were not.
For it is irrefutably certain that not being after death cannot be different from not being before birth, and consequently is also no more deplorable. A whole eternity has run its course while as yet we were not, but that by no means disturbs us. On the other hand, we find it hard, nay, unendurable, that after the momentary inter mezzo of an ephemeral existence, a second eternity should follow in which we shall no longer be. Should, then, this thirst for existence have arisen because we have now tasted it and have found it so delightful?
To tho hope, also, of the immortality of the soul there is always added that of a " better world " a sign that the present world is not much good. Notwithstanding all this, the question as to our state after death has certainly been dis cussed, in books and verbally, ten thousand times oftener than the question as to our state before birth. Yet no question presents itself more naturally to knowledge, uncorrupted.
All proofs, also, for continued existence after death may just as well be applied in partem ante, where they then demonstrate existence before life, in the assumption of which the Hindus and. Buddhists therefore show themselves very consistent. Kant s ideality of time. But we are not speaking of that now. This, however, results from what has been said, that to mourn for the time when one will be no more is just as absurd as it would be to mourn over the time when as yet one was not; for it is all the same whether the time which our existence does not fill is related to that which it does fill, as future or as past.
To have lost what cannot be missed is clearly no evil. Therefore ceas ing to be ought to disturb us as little as not having been.
Accordingly from the standpoint of knowledge there ap pears absolutely no reason to fear death. But conscious ness consists in knowing; therefore, for consciousness death is no evil. If now the will, by means of knowledge, beholds death as the end of the phenomenon with which it has identified itself, and to which, therefore, it sees itself limited, its whole nature struggles against it with all its might.
Whether now it has really something. Corresponding to this, then, what makes death so ter rible to us is not so much the end of life for this can appear to no one specially worthy of regret but rather the destruction of the organism; really becjjiSjSLJihi the will itself exhibiting itself as bodyi But we only really feel this destruction in the evils of disease or of old age; death itself, on the other hand, consists for the subject only in the moment when consciousness vanishes because the activity of the brain ceases.
The extension of the stoppage to all the other parts of the organism which fol lows this is really already an event after death. Thus death, in a subjective regard, concerns the consciousness alone. Even violent death cannot be painful, for even severe wounds are not felt at all till some time afterwards, often not till the outward signs of them are observed. Little by. The old man stricken in years totters about or rests in a corner now only a shadow, a ghost of his former self.
What remains there for death to destroy? I believe we dream them even now. I have here also to remark that the maintenance of the life process, although it has a metaphysical basis, does not go on without resistance, and consequently not without effort. It is this to which the organism yields every night, on account of which it then suspends the brain function arid diminishes certain secretions, the respiration, the pulse, and the development of heat.
In general the moment of death may be like the moment of awaking from a heavy dream that has oppressed us like a night mare. Up to this point the result we have arrived at is that death, however much it may be feared, can yet really be no evil.
But often it even appears as a good thing, as something wished for, as a friend. All that have met with insuperable obstacles to their existence or their efforts, that suffer from incurable diseases or inconsolable griefs, have as a last refuge, which generally opens to them of its own accord, the return into the womb of nature, from which they arose for a short time, enticed by the hope of more favourable conditions of existence.
That return is the cessio lonorum of life. This partly explains itself from the reflections we have just made. At the empirical point of view at which we still stand, the following consideration is one which presents itself of its own accord, and therefore deserves to be accurately defined by illustration, and thereby referred to its proper limits. I conclude from this with certainty that what actuated these hitherto, which was yet always something unknown to me, now actuates them no longer, thus has departed from them.
But if I should now wish to add that this must have been just what I have known only as consciousness, consequently as intelligence soul , this would be not only an unjustified but clearly a false conclusion. Nay, I may also have seen that the complete derangement of consciousness, madness, far from dragging down with it and depressing the other forces, or indeed endangering life, heightens these very much, especially irritability or muscular force,.
If a pendulum, by finding its centre of gravity, at last comes rest, and thus its individual apparent life has ceased no one will imagine that gravitation is now annihilated but every one comprehends that, after as before, it is active m innumerable phenomena.
So much the less, then, should it come into our mind to regard the ceasing of life as the annihilation of the living principle and consequently death as the entire destruction of the man.
Because the strong arm which, three thousand years ago, bent the bow of Ulysses is no more no reflec tive and well-regulated understanding will regard the force which acted so energetically in it as entirely anni- ulated, and therefore, upon further reflection, will also tot assume that the force which bends the bow to-day first. But the principle of our life we must, primarily at least, conceive as a force of nature, until perhaps a more profound investigation has brought us to know what it is in itself.
Thus so far the imperishable nature of our true being can be proved with certainty. But it is true this will not satisfy the claims which are wont to be made upon proofs of our continued existence after death, nor insure the consolation which is expected from such proofs. Nay, the paradox might be set up, that that second thing also which, just like the forces of nature, remains untouched by the continual change under the guidance of causality, thus matter, by its absolute per manence, insures us indestructibility, by virtue of which whoever was incapable of comprehending any other might yet confidently trust in a certain imperishableness.
Learn to know it before you despise it. Is it, then, absolutely nothing to continue to exist as such matter? IsTay, I seriously assert that even this permanence of matter affords evidence of the in destructibility of our true nature, though only as in an image or simile, or, rather, only as in outline. To see this we only need to call to mind the explanation of matter given in chapter 24, from which it resulted that mere formless matter this basis of the world of experience which is never perceived for itself alone, but assumed as constantly remaining is the immediate reflection, the visibility in general, of the thing in itself, thus of the will.
Therefore, whatever absolutely pertains to the will as such holds good also of matter, and it reflects the true eternal nature of the will under the image of temporal imperishable- ness.
Because, as has been said, nature does not lie, no view which has sprung from a purely objective comprehen sion of it, and been logically thought out, can be absolutely false, but at the most only very one-sided and imperfect. Only they are all exceedingly one-sided comprehensions, and therefore, in spite of their opposition, they are all true, each from a definite point of view; but as soon as one has risen above this point of view, then they only.
The highest standpoint alone, from which one surveys them all and knows them in their relative truth, but also beyond this, m their falseness, can be that of absolute truth so far as this is in general attainable. Tho considerations which have brought us to this point, and to which the further explanations link themselves on, started from the remarkable fear of death which fills all living beings.
But now we will change the standpoint and consider how, in contrast to the individual beings, the whole of nature bears itself with reference to death. In doing this, however, we still always remain upon the ground of experience. Certainly we know no higher game of chance than that for death and life. On the other hand, nature, which never lies, but is always straightforward and open, speaks quite differently upon this theme, speaks like Krishna in the Bhagavadgita.
What it says is: The death or the life of the individual is of no significance. It expresses this by the fact that it exposes the life of every brute, and even of man, to the most insignificant accidents without coming to the rescue.