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February 15, 2022 2 min read

schopenhauer-hinduism-moksha-meme

 

Arthur Schopenhauer, who became known as a philosophical pessimist, borrowed many of his views from Buddhist and Hindu teachings on salvation. He was able to do this because in his time there were the first translations of the important works from the Far East, although these were also rather poor compared to our age and had prententious tendencies.

The metaphysical goal of "Moksha", i.e. the exit from the cycle of rebirths (Samsara), is therefore formulated as a possibility to end the state of eternal suffering. The basic assumption here is that "all life is suffering", since there is no state in which body and mind can imagine themselves in complete and lasting satisfaction. Instead, every day we check off a kind of chain of needs that is characterized by very fundamental things like food and sleep. Of course, "higher" needs such as education, leisure, self-realization and also procreation (as pleasure or purpose) are also coming into the mix. One can actually observe oneself very well while working off this list, but in the awareness of one's own finality, the question necessarily arises whether this should go on forever, especially if the metaphyical assumption of an eternal rebirth cannot be excluded.

The meme shows in an exaggerated way exactly this: we have (sexual) needs, but we could also strive to overcome these very needs by asking: don't I at least minimize suffering if I minimize my needs as well? If I have less to do on my list of needs? Will my life become more pleasant and can I too one day sit under a fig tree meditating, keeping my mind at rest? If sex thereby holds the possibility of creating new life, then this very activity is a game with fire and thus precisely the opposite of giving up the will to live. Overcoming the will to live would ultimately mean to break out of the cycle of rebirths. To prefer the non-existence to the existence is not meant suicidal at all, but set as a goal for the own existence. The pessimistic note, which the whole inevitably gets, is thereby surely a component from the western cultural sphere.


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