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373
SCHOPENHAUER

symptoms of mental alienation, fell or threw himself into the canal. After his death the young widow (still under forty), leaving Arthur at Hamburg, proceeded with her daughter Adele in the middle of 1806 to Weimar, where she arrived only a fortnight before the tribulation which followed the victory of Napoleon at Jena. At Weimar her talents, hitherto held in check, found an atmosphere to stimulate and foster them, her aesthetic and literary tastes formed themselves under the influence of Goethe and his circle, and her little salon gained a certain celebrity. Arthur, meanwhile, became more and more restless, and his mother allowed him to leave his employment. He began his education again at Gotha, but a satire on one of the teachers led to his dismissal. He was then placed with the Greek scholar Franz Passow, who superintended his classical studies. This time he made so much progress that in two years he read Greek and Latin with fluency and interest.

In 1809 his mother handed over to him (aged twenty-one) the third part of the paternal estate, which gave him an income of r50, and in October 1809 he entered the university of Göttingen. The direction of his philosophical reading was fixed by the advice of G. E. Schulze to study, especially, Plato and Kant. For the former he soon found himself full of reverence, and from the latter he acquired the standpoint of modern philosophy. The names of "Plato the divine and the marvellous Kant" are conjunctly invoked at the beginning of his earliest work. But even at this stage of his career the pessimism of his later writings began to manifest itself, together with a susceptibility to morbid fears which led him to keep loaded weapons always at his bedside. He was a man of few acquaintances, amongst the few being Bunsen, the subsequent scholar-diplomatist, and Bunsen's pupil, W. B. Astor, the son of Washington Irving's millionaire hero. Even then he found his trustiest mate in a poodle, and its bearskin was an institution in his lodging. Yet, precisely because he met the world so seldom in easy dialogue, he was unnecessarily dogmatic in controversy; and many a bottle of wine went to pay for lost wagers. But he had made up his mind to be not an actor but an onlooker and critic in the battle of life; and when Wieland, whom he met on one of his excursions, suggested doubts as to the wisdom of his choice, Schopenhauer replied, "Life is a ticklish business; I have resolved to spend it in reflecting upon it." After two years at Göttingen he took two years at Berlin. Here also he dipped into divers stores of learning, notably classics under Wolf. In philosophy he heard Fichte and Schleiermacher. Between 1811 and 1813 the lectures of Fichte (subsequently published from his notes in his Nachgelassene Werke) dealt with what he called the "facts of consciousness" and the "theory of science," and struggled to present his final conception of philosophy. These lectures Schopenhauer attended - at first, it is allowed, with interest, but afterwards with a spirit of opposition which is said to have degenerated into contempt, and which in after years never permitted him to refer to Fichte without contumely. Yet the words Schopenhauer then listened to, often with baffled curiosity, certainly influenced his speculation.

In Berlin Schopenhauer was lonely and unhappy. One of his interests was to visit the hospital La Charite and study the evidence it afforded of the interdependence of the moral and the physical in man. In the early days of 1813 sympathy with the national enthusiasm against the French carried him so far as to buy a set of arms; but he stopped short of volunteering for active service, reflecting that Napoleon gave after all only concentrated and untrammelled utterance to that self-assertion and lust for more life which weaker mortals feel but must perforce disguise. Leaving the nation and its statesmen to fight out their freedom, he hurried away to Weimar, and thence to the quiet Thuringian town of Rudolstadt, where in the inn "Zum Ritter," out of sight of soldier and sound of drum, he wrote, helped by books from the Weimar library, his essay for the degree of doctor in philosophy. On the 2nd of October 1813 he received his diploma from Jena; and in the same year from the press at Rudolstadt there was published - without winning notice or readers - his first book, Über die vierfache Wurzel des Satzes vom zureichenden Grunde, trans. in Bohn's Philological Library (1889).

In November 1813 Schopenhauer returned to Weimar, and for a few months boarded with his mother. But the strain of daily association was too much for their antagonistic natures. His splenetic temper and her volatility culminated in an open rupture in May 1814. From that time till her death in 1838 Schopenhauer never saw his mother again. During these few months at Weimar, however, he made some acquaintances destined to influence the subsequent course of his thought. Conversations with the Orientalist F. Mayer directed his studies to the philosophical speculations of ancient India. In 1808 Friedrich Schlegel had in his Language and Wisdom of the Old Hindus brought Brahmanical philosophy within the range of European literature. Still more instructive for Schopenhauer was the imperfect and obscure Latin translation of the Upanishads which in 1801-1802 Anquetil Duperron had published from a Persian version of the Sanskrit original. Another friendship of the same period had more palpable immediate effect, but not so permanent. This was with Goethe, who succeeded in securing his interest for those investigations on colours on which he was himself engaged. Schopenhauer took up the subject in earnest, and the result of his reflexions (and a few elementary observations) soon after appeared (Easter 1816) as a monograph, Über das Sehen und die Farben (ed. Leipzig, 1854). The essay, which must be treated as an episode or digression from the direct path of Schopenhauer's development, due to the potent force of Goethe, was written at Dresden, to which he had transferred his abode after the rupture with his mother. It had been sent in MS. to Goethe in the autumn of 1815, who, finding in it a transformation rather than an expansion of his own ideas, inclined to regard the author as an opponent rather than an adherent.

The pamphlet begins by re-stating with reference to sight the general theory that perception of an objective world rests upon an Essay on sight and coloursinstinctive causal postulation, which even when it misleads still remains to haunt us (instead of being, like errors of reason, open to extirpation by evidence), and proceeds to deal with physiological colour, i.e. with colours as felt (not perceived) modifications of the action of the retina. First of all, the distinction of white and black, with their mean point in grey, is referred to the activity or inactivity of the total retina in the graduated presence or absence of full light. Further, the eye is endowed with polarity, by which its activity is divided into two parts qualitatively distinct. It is this circumstance which gives rise to the phenomenon of colour. All colours are complementary, or go in pairs; each pair makes up the whole activity of the retina, and so is equivalent to white; and the two partial activities are so connected that when the first is exhausted the other spontaneously succeeds. Such pairs of colour may be regarded as infinite in number; but there are three pairs which stand out prominently, and admit of easy expression for the ratio in which each contributes to the total action. These are red and green (each=), orange and blue (2:1), and yellow and violet (3:1).[1] This theory of complementary colours as due to the polarity in the qualitative action of the retina is followed by some criticism of Newton and the seven colours, by an attempt to explain some facts noted by Goethe, and by some reference to the external stimuli which cause colour.

The grand interest of his life at Dresden was the composition of a work which should give expression in all its aspects to the idea of man's nature and destiny which had been gradually forming within him. Without cutting himself altogether either from social pleasures or from art, he read and took notes with regularity. More and.more he learned from Cabanis and Helvetius to see in the will and the passions the determinants of intellectual life, and in the character and the temper the source of theories and beliefs. The conviction was borne in upon him that scientific explanation could never do more than systematize and classify the mass of appearances which to our habit-blinded eyes seem to be the reality. To get at this reality and thus to reach a standpoint higher than that of aetiology was the problem of his as of all philosophy. It is only by such a tower of speculation that an

  1. In this doctrine, so far as the facts go, Schopenhauer is indebted to a paper by R. Waring Darwin in vol. lxxvi. of the Transactions of the Philosophical Society.