On life

The pessimist Arthur Schopenhauer says this about life

..it is then well said that life should be, from one end to the other, only a lesson; to which, however, any one might reply: for this very reason I wish I had been left in the peace of the all sufficient nothing, where I would have had no need of lessons or anything else.

He continues, I guess, as a response to those who claim life is a gift

For human existence, far from being a gift, has entirely the character of a debt that has been contracted. The calling in of this debt appears in the form of the pressing wants, tormenting desires, and endless misery established through this existence. As a rule, the whole lifetime is devoted to the paying off of this debt; but this only meets the interest. The payment of the capital takes place through death. And when was this debt contracted?  At the begetting.

I am tempted to agree with him.

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

22 thoughts on “On life

  1. Eric Alagan says:

    He is a pessimist, all right!


  2. I’m pretty pessimistic myself.


  3. archaeopteryx1 says:

    Sounds like he could have used a better philosophy – life isn’t a gift and it isn’t a debt, it just is, and it becomes whatever we make of it.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Scottie says:

    Yes maybe part of what he says is true. But what about the positives of life. Love, happiness, joys, excitements, loving sex with a person who loves you, eating food that has such wonderful tastes. There is more but you get my idea. Look I know about the bad side of life, the disappointments and the hurts. IF you read my blog you know I just fell flat on my face so to speak and hurt my self over being upset. Not proud of it. However I also had such joy in the acceptance of my husband who took care of me and helped me make the bad things go away. I am sorry, but life is a seesaw, a roller coaster of ups and downs. Our goal should be to fill it with far more joys than sadness. To make it more positive than negative. That is my goal anyway. I love life, despite all the bad stuff. Thanks and hugs


    • makagutu says:

      That is like saying Job’s losses would be made good by providing him with a new set of children.
      The argument here is that no amount of pleasure is sufficient to pay for even a single moment of suffering

      Liked by 1 person

      • Scottie says:

        No I am sorry I disagree with you on both . I am not saying his suffering over the deaths of his dead children would be OK with a set of new ones. I am saying in life there is the chance to heal and to grow. OK look, not kids but pets. I have known people who say they wont have another pet because the death of a former pet hit them too hard. I tell them simply that what they are doing is denying themselves and the new pet a world of love and pleasure, a time of great joy. I have lost pets, I have held them while they died. I have had to put down some of the longest and greatest pet friends I ever had. I miss them and remember them. But I have a chance in this life , while I am living to experience new heights of joy, to find new depths of love with new pets, with new friends. I wont stop living and stop caring and stop trying because it hurts so bad when I lose someone. I want to go on and feel all of the joys and positives life has to offer and that means I will some times suffer the negatives of live as well. Life is not just all down or all ups. It is not all sadness or all sorrow. If I felt that I would have stopped living in childhood, and look at what I would have missed out on. Such a great love with my husband of 26 years, such wonderful friends, such wonderful adventures and yes, the hurts, tears and fears. Thanks and hugs


        • makagutu says:

          I don’t think you understand me. You and I say the same thing, there is still pain from the loss and no number of new pets can erase the pain/ loss of a loved pet. And the same with human life, no amount of pleasure can erase the suffering even momentary suffering

          Liked by 1 person

          • archaeopteryx1 says:

            On Joy and Sorrow
            — Kahlil Gibran —

            Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
            And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises, was oftentimes filled with your tears.
            And how else can it be?

            The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
            Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
            And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

            When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
            When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

            Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
            But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
            Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

            Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
            Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

            Liked by 3 people

          • Scottie says:

            Again I feel Mak, we are just siding past off side of each other, not really seeing the whole thing. I did not say that no number of new pets can’t erase the pain, they can actually. They wont erase the memory of the old pet but they will erase the pain. I have felt in love, before I met Ron, thought I would break when the love failed, but when I met Ron I did not forget my old loves, but I found a new and grand joy in the love I have with him. It is different than love I had with others. I wish there was a world with out pain for anyone, I know I could do with out the night mares. Ron had to wake me up last night, I was having one again, whimpering in my sleep. But that wont stop today , my new and shining day be wonderful and grand. Ron is making my favorite for Easter dinner. Life is good.

            I think that maybe I am not hearing you as well as I wish, I want to try again to see if I can explain. I love each new day as a chance to be better and happier than the last, the pain and suffering I felt before, the memories are still there of the actions, but the feelings are covered, surpassed by the better things I have experienced and felt since then. I know we don’t forget what caused the pain, but the pain itself dies down from a soaring out control wild fire, to a small embers of its former self, by experiencing newer and greater joy.

            You are correct and I agree no joy will ever take from me the memories, bu they can take the horror the pain, the mind numbing fears. Joy can transform the feeling of breaking into a feeling of hope. At least for me.

            Thanks, Happy Holiday. Hugs


          • I’m with Arch, that’s a powerful poem and makes a great deal of sense.

            I don’t believe new pets take away any pain of loss at all, they add some happiness of their own, the pain of loss remains just the same.

            Living gets harder the longer we survive and the more sentient beings we love die before us. I’m actually very positive, but also a realist. And a rather happy one considering how bloody terrible things often are *smiles*. Good post mak. And thank you to Arch too, I’d not read those words before.

            – esme neither past nor future, but right now upon the Cloud.


            • archaeopteryx1 says:

              Could I suggest, Esme, that you might enjoy the rest of Gibran’s poetry in his book, The Prophet? He covers the spectrum of life’s issues.

              I particularly like his entry, “On Children“:

              Your children are not your children,
              They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
              They come through you, but not from you,
              And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

              You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
              For they have their own thoughts.
              You may house their bodies but not their souls,
              For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
              which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
              You may strive to be like them,
              but seek not to make them like you.
              For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

              You are the bows from which your children
              as living arrows are sent forth.

              He tends to wax a bit religious, but in a Deist sort of way, not to any god in particular.

              Liked by 1 person

            • makagutu says:

              Sometimes one wants to say life is something to be overcome. You look at the anxieties, dangers and desires that we navigate and you ask, all this for what?

              Liked by 1 person

              • There needn’t be a specific purpose beyond ‘being’, we do have the power make this a happier and more fulfilling experience for those we come into contact with though, and in turn, this practice alone will make your own life more of a contented one. If you are fortunate, said people, and other will do the same in return. The glass can be half full or half empty.

                – esme nodding upon the Cloud


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