The Ideal Constitution

Tiny, jolly epilogue

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860): From: Parerga & Paralipomena book 2:
To the doctrine of the indestructibility of our genuine essence by death.
(Dialogue between Trachymachos (Prof. Lovelife) and Philalethes (Art Ratherdead))
(own translation from German)



Arthur Schopenhauer
Parerga & Paralipomena

Prof. Lovelife: “In short: what am I beyond death? – crisp & clear!”

Art Ratherdead: “Everything and nothing.”

Prof. Lovelife: “That's what I was afraid for: a contradiction as solution. Go pull somebody else his leg.”

Art Ratherdead: “Answering transcendental questions in a language that was developed for immanental knowledge might end in a contradiction.”

Prof. Lovelife: “What do you mean by transcendental and immanental knowledge?"
Art Ratherdead: “Transcendental knowledge transcends all experience and endeavors to grasp the essence of the inner self of things. In contrast, immanental knowledge is confined within the boundaries of experience and hence is merely able to conclude about phenomena. You - as an individual - ends in death. But your individual is not your genuine and final essence, merely an expression of it: it is not the inner self but merely its appearance that manifests itself in the shape of time, and hence has a start and finish. The inner self posesses no qualities as time, start and finish, nor the boundaries of a random individuality; thus it cannot be regarded as disjunct of individuality, but is omnipresent in all creatures. Immanental you'll be annihilated by your death, transcendental you'll remain and stay omnipresent. That's why I said you'll be everything and nothing beyond your death; it is the shortest and only correct answer to your question, which indeed is a contradiction because your life is bound by time, but your immortality is in eternity. Your genuine essence can also be regarded as an indestructibility without duration - which again is a contradiction.
But that's where transcendental questions always end up which are asked in an immanent language that was not created for this and thus seems to be raped and abused".

Prof. Lovelife: “Hear, without the continuation of my individuality I won't give a penny for all your immortality.”

Art Ratherdead: “Maybe I can convince you. Suppose I would guarantee the continuation of your individuality under the condition that before you awake, you went through a complete unconscious apparent death for a duration of 3 months."

Prof. Lovelife: “I can go along with that.”

Art Ratherdead: “Since, in a total unconscious condition - with no recollection at all about duration - we couldn't care less whether 3 months or 10.000 years have passed. Because we shall have to accept all what happens in the meantime in good faith. That's why you couldn't care less whether your individuality is restored in 3 months or 10.000 years."

Prof. Lovelife: “In fact, I cannot deny that."

Art Ratherdead: “What if one forgot to awake you after these 10.000 years? After a short existence followed by such a long absence you will have grown accustomed to it, at least your grief won't be huge. One thing for sure: you will not have suffered at all. And finally, you would find comfort in to know that this mysterious clockwork, which kept your present appearance going, kept ticking all these 10.000 years, creates and stimulates other phenomena in the same way."

Prof. Lovelife: “What the f...? Do you really think you can rob me of my individuality in this stealthy, underhanded way? I don't want to be treated that way. I have stipulated for the continuation of my individuality and without it, motives and appearances cannot comfort me. It is too precious to me and I will not let anybody rob it from me."

Art Ratherdead: “You probably find your own individuality amazingly outstanding, pleasant, perfect and not to compare with another, you could not imagine a better one, you would not want to trade with another even if one would claim that life would be so much easier in that other individual?"

Prof. Lovelife: “My individuality is as it is, and I am I.

Nothing prevails in this world over ME.
God is God and I am I.

ME, ME, ME wants to exist! That's what it's all about, and not an existence of which one has to convince me it's mine."

Art Ratherdead: “Please look around you! Every creature shouts: ME, ME, ME wants to exist! Not you alone, but everybody, every creature with a little bit of consciousness. Exactly that desire in you is NOT individual but is omnipresent in all creatures - without exception. It is not emerged from individuality but out of reality, it is essential to each existence, in fact the origin of each existence that satisfies itself with existing, and is primary focussed on existing, but not the existing of some special individual existence although it always seems that way because it cannot get immanent otherwise than by an individual, so it seems to be the focus of that individual. Still it is eyewash on which the individual bases its prejudice but we can be liberated from that by observing our fellow creatures. What it is that is, so longing for existence, is intermediary the individual; in fact and pressing it is the universal desire to live which is unanimous in all creatures. Since existence itself is his own creation, his reflection, it cannot escape him. He will be satisfied by existence itself as far as the malcontent can be satisfied. He is not concerned about individuals; he is not interested in them although he can only exist through them. In this manner he is safeguarding his own continuation with such a care as would never have happened without him, and thus assuring the survival of species. This proves that individuality is no perfection but a shortcoming: therefore to get rid of it is no loss, but an asset."

Prof. Lovelife: “That I - a decent citizen - am trying to discuss with these crazy philosophers is a disgrace! I will go on with my scientific research ..."