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Schopenhauer, Arthur - The World as Will and Idea - Fate and destiny



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

The World as Will and Idea – Arthur Schopenhauer

Suppose we were allowed, for once, a clear glance into the kingdom of the possible, and over all the chains of causes and effects; if the earth spirit appeared and showed us in a tableau all the greatest men, enlighteners of the world, and heroes whom chance destroyed before they were ripe for their work; then showed us the great events that would have changed the history of the world and brought in periods of the highest culture and enlightenment, but which the blindest chance, the most insignificant accident, hindered at the outset; lastly, the splendid powers of great individuals, that would have enriched whole epochs, but which, misled by error or passion, or compelled by necessity, they squandered on unworthy or unfruitful objects or even wasted in play.

If we saw all this, we would shudder and lament at the thought of the lost treasures of whole periods of history.  But the earth spirit would smile and say

‘The source from which the individuals and their powers proceed is as inexhaustible and boundless as time and space; for, like these forms of all phenomena, they too are only phenomena, visibility of the will’.

‘No finite measure can exhaust that infinite source; therefore undiminished eternity is still open for the recurrence of any event or work that was nipped in the bud.  In this world of phenomena, true loss is only as possible as true gain.  The will alone is; it is the thing in itself; and the source of all those phenomena.  Its self knowledge, and the affirmation or denial chosen as a consequence, is the only event in itself’.

The source of the experience

Schopenhauer, Arthur

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