Arthur Schopenhauer’s Understanding of Moral PhilosophyJune 26, 2021
Schopenhauer did not just describe reality and our relationship to it.
He also had views on how we should live. When you realize that we are all part of one energy and that individuals live only at the Earth level as Design, this should change what you do. According to Schopenhauer, harming other people actually means harming oneself in a way. This is the basis of all morality.
If I kill you, I destroy a piece of the life force that unites us all. When one harms another, it is like a snake biting its own tail, not knowing that it has burrowed its teeth into its own flesh. Therefore, the basic morality that Schopenhauer teaches is the morality of compassion. When fully understood, it says that other people are not outside of me. What happens to you is my business; because in a way you are also a part of the World as the Will of which we are all a part.
This is Schopenhauer’s familiar moral position. Although it is doubtful whether he has the same sensitivity towards other people as he instills in us. Once, an old woman chattering outside his door made him so angry that he pushed her down the stairs. When the woman was injured, the court sentenced Schopenhauer to pay the woman lifelong compensation. When the old woman died a few years later, Schopenhauer showed no mercy and wrote the following line in Latin on the death note to mock: obit anus, obit onus (The old woman goes, responsibility ends).
There is also a more unusual way of accepting the cycle of desire. In order not to get caught by it, simply turn away from the world completely and become an ascetic: lead a poor and chaste life. This, according to him, is the ideal way to deal with existence. Many Eastern religions also recommend this. However, although Schopenhauer retired from social life as he got older, he never led an ascetic life. For most of his life, he enjoyed having people around him, had love affairs, and ate good food, to the point of being a hypocrite. Indeed, the vein of pessimism in his writings is so deep that some readers thought that if he had been truly sincere, he should have committed suicide.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook