A tragic history

But I wish some one would attempt a tragical history of literature, showing how the greatest writers and artists have been treated during their lives by the various nations which have produced them and whose proudest possessions they are. It would show us the endless fight which the good and genuine works of all periods and countries have had to carry on against the perverse and bad.

~ Arthur Schopenhauer

slip:4a830.

Time and strength [are] limited

One can never read too little of bad, or too much of good books: bad books are intellectual poison; they destroy the mind. In order to read what is good one must make it a condition never to read what is bad; for life is short, and both time and strength limited.

~ Arthur Schopenhauer

slip:4a825.

Footprints in the sand

When we read, another person thinks for us: we merely repeat his mental process. […] From all this it may be concluded that thoughts put down on paper are noth- ing more than footprints in the sand: one sees the road the man has taken, but in order to know what he saw on the way, one requires his eyes.

~ Arthur Schopenhauer

slip:4a820.

This is click bait

German Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860) influenced some of the more prominent minds in the world. His writings and lessons traverse time and discipline. Schopenhauer confronted similar problems with media to the ones we face.

~ Shane Parrish from, https://fs.blog/2017/01/schopenhauer-dangers-clickbate/

The scale of Philosophy—just “western” Philosophy alone, even—is mind boggling. Who thought what, at which point in their career. Who influenced whom. Who’s work is now considered bunk, and which is bunk but still necessary to understand some other piece. What is in which language, and then which translation of that should one choose. If so-and-so had an influence on other-person, in what way? …did they build upon, tear down and correct, or push farther the influencer’s work?

At one point, I had deluded myself into attempting a systematic survey of Philosophy. ahahhahaahhaahahhaahahahahahhahaaa. Silly human.

But this small-ish article from Parrish led me to actually wonder about some of Schopenhauer’s essays. And I’ve ended up with an English translation of his On Reading and Books now sitting on my read-next table.

ɕ

Grunt work

It’s important to take time to think about what we’re reading and not merely assume the thoughts of the author. We need to digest, synthesize, and organize the thoughts of others if we are to understand. This is the grunt work of thinking. It’s how we acquire wisdom.

~ Shane Parrish from, https://fs.blog/2015/08/schopenhauer-on-reading/

That’s a tiny taste from a delightful and sublime collection of thoughts on reading and books. Which will serve perfectly as an on-ramp to Schopenhauer’s actual essay, On Reading and Books. Which, furthermore, is even linked as a modern PDF from that same page. Wonders never cease.

ɕ