Schopenhauer, Arthur - The World as Will and Idea - The Innocence of plants
Type of Spiritual Experience
BackgroundIntellect destroys innocence.
A description of the experience
The World as Will and Idea – Arthur Schopenhauer
I should like here in passing to draw attention to the naivety with which every plant expresses and lays open its whole character in its mere form, revealing its whole being and willing. This is why the physiognomy of plants is so interesting. But an animal, if we wish to know it in its Idea, requires us to observe it in action, and man requires to be exhaustively investigated and tested, for the faculty of reason makes him capable of a high degree of dissimulation.
Just as the animal is more naïve than the man, so by the same margin, the plant is more naïve than the animal. In the animal, we see the will to life more naked as it were, than in the man, in whom it is clad in so much knowledge and in addition, so cloaked by its capacity for dissimulation that the will’s true character shows through almost only by chance and only here and there. In the plant it shows itself quite naked, but also much weaker, as mere blind striving for existence without aim or purpose. For the plant reveals its whole being to our first glance.
The plant’s innocence is based on its lack of knowledge; for guilt lies not in willing, but in willing with knowledge.