On Arthur Schopenhauer’s The World As Will and Representation (1818), vol. 1, book 3, sections 34, 38-39, 40, 45, and focusing on 51 and 52, plus chapters 34 and 39 from vol. 3 (1844). This continues our previous discussion of book 2 and the beginning of book 3.
Is music just pleasing, structured sound? Schopenhauer thinks it’s much more than that: it’s our way of experiencing Will itself, the striving that underlies and unifies the universe. But oddly, the only way to really enjoy it or any other art (at least in the manner S. approves of, which does not involve “boogying”) is to in some sense leave our personal strivings behind and enter a state of will-less contemplation.
Mark, Wes, and Dylan are joined by Jonathan Segel (from the band Camper Van Beethoven) to discuss the beautiful (good!), the charming (bad!), the sublime (scary, but extra good), how music differs from the representational arts (it’s better), how music does or doesn’t go with words and images, and what Platonic Ideas have to do with all of this. And did you know that cellos are vegetables? You did not. Read more about the topic and get the readings. Also, check out the Aftershow where Mark and Jonathan chatted more with listeners and host Danny Lobell.
End song: “(Ever and) Always” by Jonathan Segel from All Attractions (2012). More info.
Young Schopenhauer picture by Cory Mohler.