19th century philosophy

My will to Walk

Schopenhauer’s book two “The World as Will and Representation” essentially introduced the thought of the will to live, which could be perceived and represented through our natural desires. Schopenhauer’s “we obtained a knowledge of it in respect of its content also, because it has content and meaning only in relation to the representation of perception, without which it would be worthless and empty.” He elaborates on how we can see the world more directly and representations can be presented on a more complex level.

With this, the personal experience I chose is walking. It may sound a little crazy, however I feel it connects Perfectly. I walk often with no goal other than to get lost and find my way back. I’ve occasionally walked for hours to explore and find or learn something new. We live in New York which is fast-paced. Especially when walking, so usually when I go for a walk, I see New York in a different light than I’ve ever noticed before. I’m able to perceive New York very differently in positive and negative aspects. Schopenhauer stated, “We direct our attention to mathematics, natural science, and philosophy, for each of these holds out the hope that it will afford us a part of the explanation we desire.” This quote from Schopenhauer explains one of the main reasons why I walk. Walking is an experience that I choose to do, and it helps me see New York the way it’s represented, unlike walking at a fast pace trying to get somewhere and being alert and looking just to make sure that I’m safe, I’m usually directly seeing everything for what it is with no external meaning. I’d argue walking doesn’t have much objectification. Unless using the bathroom or getting hungry would be one, but I feel like this could be one of the human experiences that don’t really have much objectification while also still being something that we willingly do.

How to Have a Life

A quote from a book called How to Have a Life written by Seneca and presented by James S Romm states “We speak of “quality time” but time well used actually has greater quantity.” Seneca was a philosopher, statesman, and playwright of Ancient Rome. He was famously known for his moral essays and playwrights of Greek tragedies. I took a liking to this book and that was one of the quotes that I highlighted. This quote explains if we acted on creating quality time instead of only speaking of it, we’d have more quantity in our lives. Hegal speaks about how we can know immediate things because we can sense them with our five senses. Everyone understands we have a certain amount of time on earth. I’m confident we’ve all experienced that same frightening realization around the age of 10 that one day we and everyone we love are going to die. We also know certain moments may seem to move slower, faster, and even extremely fast, and because of this most people’s perception of life is “I don’t have enough time”. Followed by an immediate thought of “I should’ve spent more quality time with the people and things I love”.

This brings me to my next statement from Hegel “Likewise we ourselves have to conduct ourselves immediately, or receptively.” Hegal says along with perceiving we should also be receptive to what we’re perceiving. We tend to waste a lot of time knowing we are given a certain amount of time. If we take a moment to contemplate all the times we decided to idly watch TV, go zombie on phones, or give almost all our time to work or school (Unless that’s what you’ve chosen for yourself and you’re satisfied), that time cannot be given back, however, the reaction is  “there’s not enough time” when that’s simply not true. If we were receptive to having a certain amount of time we would act on it and surely use our time more wisely.

Lastly, Hegel expresses “We, therefore, are to alter nothing in the object as it presents itself,” we should not alter or change what we perceive to fit our own perception. Instead, we should be able to understand what we’re perceiving and accept it as it’s illustrated through our five senses. If we were to follow Hegal’s advice, instead of changing the perception to we don’t have enough time we could understand that we are given a certain amount of time and now it’s on ourselves to be receptive to that knowing and act on it.