The Life of Arthur SchopenhauerJune 26, 2021
He was born on February 22, 1788 in Danzig. His father was Heinrich Floris Schopenhauer, a gifted merchant, and his mother was Johanna, a young freedom-loving woman. Heinrich Schopenhauer’s greatest wish was for his son Arthur to become a great merchant like himself. The Schopenhauer family was far from the ideal family a child dreams of, Heinrich was too jealous and Johanna was too selfish and freedom-loving.
Therefore, the quarrels in the family would never cease until Heinrich Schopenhauer died. Arthur Schopenhauer, on the other hand, would grow up with negative feelings towards his mother and would be the mother he disliked at the base of most of his negative thoughts on women in the future. When Arthur was very young, the family moved to Hamburg when Prussia brought Danzig under its rule. After the family moved to Hamburg, Arthur’s younger sister Adele was born. She lived with her family in Hamburg from 1793 to 1797.
Then, at the age of nine, he was sent by his father to a family friend in Paris to learn social grace. Arthur lived in Paris for two years. At the age of fifteen, Arthur’s dreams were not at all to become a merchant. Although he was only fifteen years old, he had an insatiable interest in literature and philosophy. However, his father’s attempts were unwilling, but in 1804 he became an apprentice to the famous Hamburg merchant Senator Jenisch. Then in April 1805, the momentous event took place that would change Arthur Schopenhauer’s life and thoughts; His father, Heinrich, committed suicide by jumping into the Hamburg Canal from the top floor window of his warehouses in Hamburg. Arthur was emotionally depressed, continuing his merchant apprenticeship for a while after his father’s death.
While Schopenhauer mourned the death of his father in a state of deep depression, his mother Johanna liquidated the family business and moved from Hamburg to Weimar after a few months of mourning. The salon he founded in Weimar became famous in a short time and he became friends with many important artists of the period. Over time he became a well-known author and wrote many novels, articles and biographies. The novels she wrote often contained feminist themes, often the subject of women who were forced into an unwanted marriage but still did not give up their freedom and therefore refused to have children.
Arthur Schopenhauer entered the University of Göttingen in 1809. He was influenced by Kant and Plato. Two years later he went to Berlin and entered the University of Berlin. In 1813, he defended a thesis called “Über die vierfache Wurzel des Satzes vom Zureichender Grunde” (The Four Roots of Sufficient Reason) in Jena, with which he received his doctorate from the University of Jena. Around this time, he had a serious fight with his mother, and they never met until her mother died.
In 1818 he published his major work, Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung (The World as Will and Representation). The work, which will sell well in the future and will become a philosophical classic today, unfortunately never sold at that time. Arthur Schopenhauer later became associate professor at the University of Berlin (1820). When he started teaching at the University of Berlin, he had set the timetable to the same time as Hegel, the famous philosopher of the time, so mostly no one would come to listen to him. He left his teaching position in 1831 and lived a reclusive life in Frankfurt.
In 1844, the second supplementary volume of his World as Will and Representation was published. Except for the last years of his life, he could not achieve the fame he believed he deserved. But perhaps the greatest thing he wanted in the world was fame. He has a lot of words on the fame that he did not earn for a long time, he overly expressed his longing for recognition. His unexpected bestseller, Parerga et Paralipenoma (from the Greek for “leftover and supplementary work),” which he published in 1850, became famous in his last years. Parerga et Paralipenoma was a two-volume work of Schopenhauer’s philosophical essays and aphorisms.
He died of liver congestion on September 21, 1860, while dining in Frankfurt am Main.
Schopenhauer is mostly known for his pessimistic philosophy, which he developed against Hegel’s optimistic philosophy. Plato, Kant, and eastern philosophy, especially Buddhism in a unique way, influenced important names such as Tolstoy, Mann, Wagner, Freud, Nietzsche and Wittgenstein.