Ethics also occupies about one quarter of his central work, The World as Will and Representation. In occasional political comments in his Parerga and Paralipomena and Manuscript Remains , Schopenhauer described himself as a proponent of limited government. What was essential, he thought, was that the state should "leave each man free to work out his own salvation ," and so long as government was thus limited, he would "prefer to be ruled by a lion than one of [his] fellow rats"—i. Schopenhauer shared the view of Thomas Hobbes on the necessity of the state, and of state action, to check the destructive tendencies innate to our species.
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He also defended the independence of the legislative, judicial and executive branches of power, and a monarch as an impartial element able to practise justice in a practical and everyday sense, not a cosmological one. Schopenhauer, by his own admission, did not give much thought to politics, and several times he writes proudly of how little attention he had paid "to political affairs of [his] day".
In a life that spanned several revolutions in French and German government, and a few continent-shaking wars, he did indeed maintain his aloof position of "minding not the times but the eternities". He wrote many disparaging remarks about Germany and the Germans. A typical example is, "For a German it is even good to have somewhat lengthy words in his mouth, for he thinks slowly, and they give him time to reflect. Schopenhauer attributed civilizational primacy to the northern "white races" due to their sensitivity and creativity except for the ancient Egyptians and Hindus, whom he saw as equal :.
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The highest civilization and culture, apart from the ancient Hindus and Egyptians, are found exclusively among the white races; and even with many dark peoples, the ruling caste or race is fairer in colour than the rest and has, therefore, evidently immigrated, for example, the Brahmans, the Incas, and the rulers of the South Sea Islands.
All this is due to the fact that necessity is the mother of invention because those tribes that emigrated early to the north, and there gradually became white, had to develop all their intellectual powers and invent and perfect all the arts in their struggle with need, want and misery, which in their many forms were brought about by the climate. This they had to do in order to make up for the parsimony of nature and out of it all came their high civilization. Despite this, he was adamantly against differing treatment of races, was fervently anti-slavery, and supported the abolitionist movement in the United States.
He describes the treatment of "[our] innocent black brothers whom force and injustice have delivered into [the slave-master's] devilish clutches" as "belonging to the blackest pages of mankind's criminal record". Schopenhauer additionally maintained a marked metaphysical and political anti-Judaism. Schopenhauer argued that Christianity constituted a revolt against what he styled the materialistic basis of Judaism, exhibiting an Indian-influenced ethics reflecting the Aryan - Vedic theme of spiritual self-conquest. He saw this as opposed to what he held was the ignorant drive toward earthly utopianism and superficiality of a worldly "Jewish" spirit:.
While all other religions endeavor to explain to the people by symbols the metaphysical significance of life, the religion of the Jews is entirely immanent and furnishes nothing but a mere war-cry in the struggle with other nations. The State, Schopenhauer claimed, punishes criminals to prevent future crimes. It does so by placing "beside every possible motive for committing a wrong a more powerful motive for leaving it undone, in the inescapable punishment.
Accordingly, the criminal code is as complete a register as possible of counter-motives to all criminal actions that can possibly be imagined In Schopenhauer's essay On Women , he expressed his opposition to what he called "Teutonico-Christian stupidity" of reflexive unexamined reverence abgeschmackten Weiberveneration  for the female.
Schopenhauer wrote that "Women are directly fitted for acting as the nurses and teachers of our early childhood by the fact that they are themselves childish, frivolous and short-sighted. Western philosophy". He claimed that "woman is by nature meant to obey". The essay does give some compliments, however: that "women are decidedly more sober in their judgment than [men] are", and are more sympathetic to the suffering of others. Schopenhauer's writings have influenced many, from Friedrich Nietzsche to nineteenth-century feminists.
When the elderly Schopenhauer sat for a sculpture portrait by the Prussian sculptor Elisabet Ney in , he was much impressed by the young woman's wit and independence, as well as by her skill as a visual artist. I believe that if a woman succeeds in withdrawing from the mass, or rather raising herself above the mass, she grows ceaselessly and more than a man.
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Schopenhauer viewed personality and intellect as being inherited. He quotes Horace 's saying, "From the brave and good are the brave descended" Odes , iv, 4, 29 and Shakespeare's line from Cymbeline , "Cowards father cowards, and base things sire base" IV, 2 to reinforce his hereditarian argument. For Schopenhauer the "final aim of all love intrigues, be they comic or tragic, is really of more importance than all other ends in human life.
What it all turns upon is nothing less than the composition of the next generation. It is not the weal or woe of any one individual, but that of the human race to come, which is here at stake. Here Schopenhauer wrote:. With our knowledge of the complete unalterability both of character and of mental faculties, we are led to the view that a real and thorough improvement of the human race might be reached not so much from outside as from within, not so much by theory and instruction as rather by the path of generation.
Plato had something of the kind in mind when, in the fifth book of his Republic , he explained his plan for increasing and improving his warrior caste. If we could castrate all scoundrels and stick all stupid geese in a convent, and give men of noble character a whole harem , and procure men, and indeed thorough men, for all girls of intellect and understanding, then a generation would soon arise which would produce a better age than that of Pericles.
In another context, Schopenhauer reiterated his eugenic thesis: "If you want Utopian plans, I would say: the only solution to the problem is the despotism of the wise and noble members of a genuine aristocracy, a genuine nobility, achieved by mating the most magnanimous men with the cleverest and most gifted women. This proposal constitutes my Utopia and my Platonic Republic.
As a consequence of his monistic philosophy, Schopenhauer was very concerned about the welfare of animals. The word "will" designated, for him, force, power, impulse, energy, and desire; it is the closest word we have that can signify both the real essence of all external things and also our own direct, inner experience. Since every living thing possesses will, then humans and animals are fundamentally the same and can recognize themselves in each other.
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Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to living creatures cannot be a good man. Nothing leads more definitely to a recognition of the identity of the essential nature in animal and human phenomena than a study of zoology and anatomy. The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity.
Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality. Schopenhauer even went so far as to protest against the use of the pronoun "it" in reference to animals because it led to the treatment of them as though they were inanimate things. He was very attached to his succession of pet poodles. Schopenhauer criticized Spinoza's  belief that animals are a mere means for the satisfaction of humans.
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In the third, expanded edition of The World as Will and Representation , Schopenhauer added an appendix to his chapter on the Metaphysics of Sexual Love. He wrote that pederasty did have the benefit of preventing ill-begotten children. Concerning this, he stated that "the vice we are considering appears to work directly against the aims and ends of nature, and that in a matter that is all important and of the greatest concern to her it must in fact serve these very aims, although only indirectly, as a means for preventing greater evils".
I have done so by giving them the opportunity of slandering me by saying that I defend and commend pederasty.
He was so impressed by their philosophy that he called them "the production of the highest human wisdom", and believed they contained superhuman concepts. The Upanishads was a great source of inspiration to Schopenhauer. Writing about them, he said:. It is the most satisfying and elevating reading with the exception of the original text which is possible in the world; it has been the solace of my life and will be the solace of my death.
The book Oupnekhat Upanishad always lay open on his table, and he invariably studied it before sleeping at night. He called the opening up of Sanskrit literature "the greatest gift of our century" and predicted that the philosophy and knowledge of the Upanishads would become the cherished faith of the West.
Schopenhauer was first introduced to the Latin Upanishad translation through Friedrich Majer. They met during the winter of — in Weimar at the home of Schopenhauer's mother according to the biographer Safranski. Majer was a follower of Herder , and an early Indologist. Schopenhauer did not begin a serious study of the Indic texts, however, until the summer of Safranski maintains that between and , Schopenhauer had another important cross-pollination with Indian thought in Dresden. This was through his neighbor of two years, Karl Christian Friedrich Krause. Krause was then a minor and rather unorthodox philosopher who attempted to mix his own ideas with that of ancient Indian wisdom.
Krause had also mastered Sanskrit , unlike Schopenhauer, and the two developed a professional relationship. It was from Krause that Schopenhauer learned meditation and received the closest thing to expert advice concerning Indian thought. Schopenhauer noted a correspondence between his doctrines and the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism. Thus three of the four "truths of the Buddha" correspond to Schopenhauer's doctrine of the will.
For Schopenhauer, will had ontological primacy over the intellect. In other words, desire is prior to thought. If I wished to take the results of my philosophy as the standard of truth, I should have to concede to Buddhism pre-eminence over the others.
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In any case, it must be a pleasure to me to see my doctrine in such close agreement with a religion that the majority of men on earth hold as their own, for this numbers far more followers than any other. And this agreement must be yet the more pleasing to me, inasmuch as in my philosophizing I have certainly not been under its influence [emphasis added].
For up till , when my work appeared, there was to be found in Europe only a very few accounts of Buddhism.
Buddhist philosopher Nishitani Keiji , however, sought to distance Buddhism from Schopenhauer.