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Schopenhauer, Arthur - The World as Will and Idea - Losing yourself in perceptions



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

The World as Will and Idea – Arthur Schopenhauer

Raised by the power of the mind, a person relinquishes the usual way of looking at things, stops tracing, as the forms of the principal of sufficient reason [memory] prompt him to do, only their interrelatedness, the final goal of which is always a relation to his own will [decision making process].

He ceases to consider the where, the when, the why, and the whither of things and looks solely at the what [the perceptions].

He does not allow abstract thought, the concepts of the reason, to take possession of his consciousness, but instead, gives the whole power of his mind to perception, immerses himself entirely in this, and lets his whole consciousness be filled with the quiet contemplation of the natural object actually present, whether a landscape, a tree, a crag, a building, or whatever it may be.

He loses himself in this object, that is he forgets his very individuality, his will, and continues to exist only as the pure subject, the clear mirror of the object, so that it is as if the object alone were there without anyone to perceive it, and he can no longer separate the perceiver from the perception, but the two have become one, because the whole consciousness is filled and taken up with one single sensuous picture.

If the object has to such an extent passed out of all relation to something outside it, and the subject out of all relation to the will, then what is known is no longer the individual thing as such, but the Idea, the eternal form, the immediate objectivity of the will at this grade.  The person rapt in this perception is thereby no longer individual – for in such perception the individual has lost himself – but he is a pure, will-less, painless, timeless subject of knowledge………..

In such contemplation the particular thing becomes at a stroke the Idea of its species, and the perceiving individual becomes pure subject of knowing.

The source of the experience

Schopenhauer, Arthur

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps