For in the end, time pronounces nature’s verdict on the worth of all the beings (A. SCHOPENHAUER)

For in the end, time pronounces nature’s verdict on the worth of all the beings (A. SCHOPENHAUER)

The fascination of distance presents a paradise, vanishing like an optic delusion when we have allowed ourselves to be enticed thither. Happiness therefore always lies in the future, or even in the past, and the present may be compared to a small dark cloud that the wind drives over a sunny plain: before and behind it all is clear, it alone always casts a shadow. Consequently it is always inadequate, while the future is uncertain, the past irretrievable. Life, with its hourly, daily, weekly. and yearly, small, greater, and great tribulations, with its deluded hopes and its tunes thwarting all calculation, so clearly bears the stamp of something we should be sick of that it is difficult to comprehend how anyone could fail to recognize the fact and be persuaded that it is there to be gratefully enjoyed. and human beings to be happy.

But that continual deception and disabusal, as well as the pervasive character of life, rather display themselves as intended and calculated to awaken the conviction that nothing at all is worth our striving, driving, and struggling. that all goods are null, the world on all sides bankrupt, and life a business that does not cover the costs—so that our will may turn away from it. The mode in which this nullity of all objects of will makes itself known and comprehensible to the intellect, rooted in individuals. is in the first instance time. This is the form by means of which that nullity of things makes its appearance as their transitory character. in that, by virtue of the latter, all our enjoyments and pleasures come to naught in our hands, and we later ask in astonishment where they have gone. That nullity itself is therefore the sole objective fact about time, i.e., what corresponds to it in the essence in itself of things, hence that of which it is the expression. It is just for this reason that time is the a priori necessary form belonging to all our perceptions: everything has to display itself in it, even we ourselves. Consequently our life is in the first instance like a payment that gets doled out to us in nothing but pennies, but for which we must then give a receipt: our life is the days. the receipt is death. For in the end, time pronounces nature’s verdict on the worth of all the beings appearing in it, by destroying them:

And rightly said: for all of what takes rise,
In fairness. has to meet demise.
So better were, that naught arose.

Goethe, Faust I, 1339—1341
Thus old age and death, toward which all life necessarily rushes, are the condemnation issuing from the hands of nature itself, passed in judgment on the will for life; it states that this will is a striving that necessarily thwarts itself “What you have willed.” it pronounces, “ends thus: will something better.” — Hence the lesson that one’s life gives to everyone consists on the whole in the fact that the objects of his desires constantly deceive him, waver, and fall away, accordingly bring more torment than pleasure. until at last even the entire foundation on which they all stand collapses, his life itself being destroyed and he thus obtaining final corroboration that all his striving and willing were wrongheaded. an aberration:

Then old age and experience, hand in hand,
Lead him to death, and make him understand,
After a search so painful and so long,
That all his life he has been in the wrong.

Rochester, A satyr against mankind





The World as Will and Representation
Arthur Schopenhauer



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