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Chapter 26 - Psychological remarks

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

§304

Every animal being, especially the human, requires a certain suitability and proportion between his will and his intellect in order to exist and get on in the world. The more precisely and properly nature has achieved these, the more easily, certainly and pleasantly he will go through the world. Meanwhile a mere approximation to the actual correct point suffices to protect him from ruin. Accordingly there is a certain latitude within the borders of the correctness and suitability of said relationship. Now the norm that applies to this is as follows. Since the determination of the intellect is to be the beacon and guide of the will's steps, then the more vehement, impetuous and passionate the inner stress of a will, the more perfect and bright must be the intellect assigned to it, so that the vehemence of willing and striving, the smoulder of the passions and the impetuosity of the affects do not lead the human being astray, or sweep him towards thoughtless, wrong and ruinous activity, all of which will inevitably be the case given a very vehement will and very weak intellect. On the other hand a phlegmatic character, and thus a weak, dull will, can even manage and get by with a negligible intellect, while a moderate will requires a moderate intellect. Generally any misalignment between a will and its intellect, i.e., any deviation from the proportion resulting from the above norm, tends to make someone unhappy, and this regardless of which side is misaligned. That is, even the abnormally strong and overwhelming development of the intellect and the disproportionate preponderance over the will that stems from it, as that which constitutes what is essential in the real genius, are not only superfluous for the needs and purposes of life, but outright harmful to them. For then in youth the excessive energy of apprehending the objective world, accompanied by lively imagination and lacking all experience, renders the mind susceptible to and easily fills it with extravagant concepts and even chimeras, which produces an eccentric and indeed fantastical character.

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Schopenhauer: Parerga and Paralipomena
Short Philosophical Essays
, pp. 520 - 549
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2015

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