Schopenhauer on Twitter

In the eternal life of fogeydom anything new is to be condemned. Twitter will addle our brains, mobile phones will give us brain tumours, the net will lead to a paralysing illiteracy. Eventually, by epigenesis, babies will be born with their necks already angled toward their future mobile phone screen ……

 Schopenhauer (1788–1860), a world class fogey, had this opinion of reading…

  ‘When we read, another person thinks for us: we merely repeat

  his mental process… Accordingly, in reading, the work of

  thinking is, for the greater part, done for us. This is why we

  are consciously relieved when we turn to reading after being

  occupied with our own thoughts… And so it happens that the

  person who reads a great deal — that is to say, almost the

  whole day, and recreates himself by spending the intervals in

  thoughtless diversion, gradually loses the ability to think for

  himself… Such is the case with many men of learning: they

  have read themselves stupid. For to read in every spare

  moment, and to read constantly, is more paralysing to the

  mind than constant manual work, which, at any rate, allows

  one to follow one’s own thoughts.’


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10 Comments on Schopenhauer on Twitter

  1. Schopenhauer is said to have said something along the lines of:

    “Life on Earth is so unfair it should not be”.

    Of course, the post-modernist Leftists who now people the media and who control the re-distribution of tax-payer funds would agree on the unfairness factor.

    But I think that S. actually meant that Life should not be, as unfairness was inevitable, and the unfairness would lead to post-modernist socialism, more or less.

    Now, perhaps I mis-read the situation, but I think that S. died quite happy, despite his gloom-saying along the way.

    Just another realist-pragmatist, eh?

    • ..and not only happy, but considerate, too. If memory serves me correctly, his last will bestowed (some of?) his assets to be used to aid the widows and orphans of soldiers who perished during German revolutions of 1848–49.

  2. There is a dangerous tendency to simply introject the ideas of others without consideration or analysis. I suspect that it is this tendecy to which Schopenhauer refers. It is commonly found in, but not confined to, left wing academics.

        • …and it’s believed by some (not me) that Our Lord preferred the KJV over other bible translations. Miriam “Ma” Ferguson, a governor of Texas in the early part of the last century, who opposed bilingual education, is reputed to have said: “If English was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for the schoolchildren of Texas.”

  3. Schopenhauer. A misanthrope for sure. Possibly even worse – a misogynist – but I can’t find the Latin quip he wrote in his workbook the night his landlady died. I’d appreciate help from smarter people here on that point. What was it? Perhaps apocryphal, but really, cruelly funny. Anyroad, I think he might have been wrong about the printed word. Were Homeric Greeks wiser on account of their oral hand-me-downs than are we deep readers de nos jours? I’ve not much regard for contemporary oral *traditions*.

    • “Obit anus, abit onus.”
      In English : “The old woman dies, the burden is lifted.”
      Schopenhauer was a genuine misogynist – Google his essay “On Women” !
      Here’s my favourite passage:
      “With girls, Nature has had in view what is called in a dramatic sense a “striking effect,” for she endows them for a few years with a richness of beauty and a, fulness of charm at the expense of the rest of their lives; so that they may during these years ensnare the fantasy of a man to such a degree as to make him rush into taking the honourable care of them, in some kind of form, for a lifetime—a step which would not seem sufficiently justified if he only considered the matter.”