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Chapter 10 - On the doctrine of the indestructibility of our true essence by death

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

§134

Although I treated this topic in context and detail in my main work, I still believe that a small selection of individual observations, which continue to shed light on that discussion, will not be without value to many readers.

One has to read Jean Paul's Selina to see how a highly eminent mind preoccupies himself with the absurdities of a false concept as they impinge on him. He does not want to give it up because he has set his heart on it, yet he is constantly disturbed by inconsistencies which he cannot digest. The concept is that of the individual continuation of our entire personal consciousness after death. It is precisely this struggling and wrestling of Jean Paul's that proves that such concepts, put together from elements false and true, are not wholesome errors as is maintained, but on the contrary are decidedly harmful. For what is rendered impossible through the false opposition of soul and body, as well as through the elevation of the entire personality to a thing in itself which is supposed to last forever, is the true knowledge of the indestructibility of our real essence as one untouched by time, causality and change, and resting on the opposition between appearance and thing in itself. Indeed, this false concept cannot even be embraced as a substitute for truth, because reason constantly revolts anew against the absurdity that underlies it, but then also has to give up the truth that is associated with it by amalgamation. For in the long term truth can only exist in its purity; mixed with errors it shares in their frailty, as granite crumbles when its feldspar disintegrates, even though quartz and mica are not subject to such disintegration. Therefore things go poorly for the surrogates of truth.

§135

If in the course of daily interactions one were asked by one of the many people who wish to know everything but do not want to learn anything, about the continuation of life after death, certainly the most suitable and above all the most correct answer would be: “After your death you will be what you were before your birth.”

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Chapter
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Schopenhauer: Parerga and Paralipomena
Short Philosophical Essays
, pp. 241 - 254
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2015

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