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Chapter 11 - Additional remarks on the doctrine of the nothingness of existence

from PARERGA AND PARALIPOMENA, VOLUME 2

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 November 2015

Adrian Del Caro
Affiliation:
University of Tennessee
Christopher Janaway
Affiliation:
University of Southampton
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Summary

§142

This nothingness finds its expression in the entire form of existence; in the infinity of time and space, as opposed to the finitude of the individual in both; in the fleeting present as the sole mode of reality's existence; in the dependence and relativity of all things; in constant becoming without being; in constant desire without satisfaction; in the constant obstruction of dying, of which life consists until the obstruction is overcome. Time and the transitoriness of all things in it and by means of it are merely the form under which the nothingness of its own striving is revealed to the will to life, which is intransitory as thing in itself. – Time is that by virtue of which everything at every moment turns to nothing in our hands, whereby it loses all true value.

§143

What has been, that is no more; it exists no more than that which has never been. But everything that is, in the next moment has already been. Therefore the most insignificant present has the advantage of reality over the most significant past, whereby it relates to the former as something to nothing.

All of a sudden, to one's astonishment, one exists after not having been for countless millennia, and after a brief period, one must not be again for the same length of time. – This can never be right, says the heart; and even a crude mind has to have an inkling of the ideality of time from considerations of this kind. But this, along with the ideality of space, is the key to all true metaphysics, because through it room is made for an entirely different order of things than nature. This is why Kant is so great.

Every event of our life belongs only for a moment to the Is, then forever to the Was. Each evening we are poorer by one day. Perhaps we would go insane watching the brief span of our time running out, if not for a mysterious awareness lying deep at the bottom of our being that the never to be exhausted fountain of eternity belongs to us, in order to enable us to refresh the period of life forever.

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Chapter
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Schopenhauer: Parerga and Paralipomena
Short Philosophical Essays
, pp. 255 - 261
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2015

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