For what is not to our interest mostly seems absurd to us (A. SCHOPENHAUER)

For what is not to our interest mostly seems absurd to us (A. SCHOPENHAUER)

There is another trick which, as soon as it is practicable, makes all others unnecessary. Instead of working on your opponent’s intellect by argument, work on his will by motive; and he, and also the audience if they have similar interests, will at once be won over to your opinion, even though you got it out of a lunatic asylum; for, as a general rule, half an ounce of will is more effective than a hundred-weight of insight and intelligence. This, it is true, can be done only under peculiar circumstances. If you succeed in making your opponent feel that his opinion, should it prove true, will be distinctly prejudicial to his interest, he will let it drop like a hot potato, and feel that it was very imprudent to take it up.
A clergyman, for instance, is defending some philosophical dogma; you make him sensible of the fact that it is in immediate contradiction with one of the fundamental doctrines of his Church, and he abandons it.
A landed proprietor maintains that the use of machinery in agricultural operations, as practised in England, is an excellent institution, since an engine does the work of many men. You give him to understand that it will not be very long before carriages are also worked by steam, and that the value of his large stud will be greatly depreciated; and you will see what he will say.

 

In such cases every man feels how thoughtless it is to sanction a law unjust to himself — quam temere in nosmet legem sancimus iniquam! Nor is it otherwise if the bystanders, but not your opponent, belong to the same sect, guild, industry, club, etc., as yourself. Let his thesis be never so true, as soon as you hint that it is prejudicial to the common interests of the said society, all the bystanders will find that your opponent’s arguments, however excellent they be, are weak and contemptible; and that yours, on the other hand, though they were random conjecture, are correct and to the point; you will have a chorus of loud approval on your side, and your opponent will be driven out of the field with ignominy. Nay, the bystanders will believe, as a rule, that they have agreed with you out of pure conviction. For what is not to our interest mostly seems absurd to us; our intellect being no siccum lumen. This trick might be called “taking the tree by its root”; its usual name is the argumentum ab utili.

 

 

 

 

 

The essays of Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer



Facebook

Instagram

Follow Me on Instagram
  • There is only one way to avoid criticism : DO NOTHING , SAY NOTHING , AND BE NOTHING .

    lecturesbureau: "There is only one way to avoid criticism :
DO NOTHING ,
SAY NOTHING ,
AND BE NOTHING ."
    326
    0
  • All my life I've looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time .

    lecturesbureau: "All my life I've looked at words
as though I were seeing them for the first time ."
    232
    0
  • The world is divided into two classes , those who believe the incredible and those who do the improbable .

    lecturesbureau: "The world is divided into two classes ,

those who believe the incredible and
those who do the improbable ."
    336
    1
  • Live to the point of tears .

    lecturesbureau: "Live to the point of tears ."
    269
    0
  • The only one you need in your life is that person who shows you he needs you in his .

    lecturesbureau: "The only one you need in your life
is that person who shows you
he needs you in his ."
    368
    1
  • I love those who can smile in trouble .

    lecturesbureau: "I love those who can smile in trouble ."
    406
    2
  • The way you start your day determines how well you live your day !

    lecturesbureau: "The way you start your day
determines how well you live your day !"
    732
    1
  • In Art as in Love , instinct is enough .

    lecturesbureau: "In Art as in Love , instinct is enough ."
    384
    1
  • Nobody can bring you peace but yourself .

    lecturesbureau: "Nobody can bring you peace but yourself ."
    399
    0
  • Everything you can imagine is REAL .

    lecturesbureau: "Everything you can imagine
is REAL ."
    433
    0