Anti-Theistic Theories (1879)

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General Books LLC, 2009 - 334 pages
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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1879 edition. Excerpt: ...been able to exist at all. Had man been made only a little more wretched--had a small amount of deceitful pleasure not been poured into his cup--he would have refused to endure life. Things would thus have been better if they had been worse, seeing that humanity would then have taken its fate into its own hands and put an end to itself. Life is necessarily and hopelessly wretched. To live is to desire, to desire is to want, to want is to suffer, and hence to live is to suffer. No man is happy except when drunk or deluded; his happiness is only like that of a beggar who dreams that he is a king. Nothing is worth the trouble which it costs us. Wretchedness always outweighs felicity. The history of man is a long, confused, and painful dream. The notion of any plan or progress in it is erroneous. He who has read one chapter of it has read all. It is a tiresome repetition of horrors and follies which are ever essentially alike, however they may differ in accidentals. In a word, Schopenhauer has put forth all his power as a writer--and he was a vigorous and striking writer--to depict life as utterly worthless and wretched. Von Hartmann is rather more cautious. He will not say that the world is the worst possible; he will not deny even that it may be the best possible, since we do not know what is possible; but he holds decidedly that it is worse than would have been no world at all. He does not, like Schopenhauer, represent pleasure as merely negative and pain as alone positive, as the very ground and essence of life, but he fully accepts as true the well-known words of Sophocles, "Not to have been born at all is the happiest fate, and the next best is to die young;" and those of Byron--" Count o'er the joys thine hours have seen, Count o'er thy days...

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