(Eulogy to a man I never new, but greatly admire)
I recently heard of a man that lamented the loss of his soul, not that he had you see, but then neither did he. He thought that life was void of reward, and as a result he was ever depressed and always grumpy and pessimistic. So pessimistic in fact, that he became known as the biggest pessimist the world had ever seen.
He died alone, not because he thought he lost his soul, but because he was such a foul mouth sourpuss. No woman who deemed herself respective, indeed no person who had any drop of self respect would ever want to be seen near the old geezer. Of course there was a couple of friends, but they where the lucky souls that knew of him, before they knew him. The rest of the people never got a chance before he ignored, insulted, harassed or pissed them off so badly that they were at pains to make sure that their paths never crossed. That is, if they didn’t go to the police and demand that charges be laid.
In fact, somebody did in his early years. a woman he had harassed went to the police and opened a criminal case of assault against him. Assault against her personage and dignity was the charge, and she won the case. The court awarded her damages that the acclaimed philosopher had to pay for the rest of his life.
He was a pessimist because he believed that humanity will never be satisfied, no matter what the reward. In his eyes you see, life was not worth the effort it took to be alive. In fact, he was often heard to comment that the he could never understand why he continued to live himself. It was secretly guessed that he only did so to piss off a few more people before he died.
Even in the halls of higher learning, where much may be tolerated and offered before the altar of thinking and learning and human advancement did he find himself an outcast. After completing his thesis, a brilliant piece of work about the corruption and power of man’s will, only 5 students enrolled in the course he offered at the University of Berlin. He promptly refused to continue the class and cancelled the course in his signature style, ending the matter with a lengthy and public and pompous discourse on the knowledge and wisdom that accused the whole of the student body, in fact, the whole of the faculty, and indeed the institute of higher learning itself of corruption and sloth. He then added that he had walked through these hallowed halls long enough to see the fester that rots in this institution!” He made ‘institution’ sound dirty when he said it.
His public protest did fire the belly of some very bright and young upstarts, and not by his want or his will, but by divine intervention he became 'friends’ with some very talented people.
People like the quiet and demure scientist that struggled to get a tenure in academia, and ended up working in a patent office as an assistant examiner. He was passed over for promotion because he had not fully mastered ‘machine technology’, but ten years after his diploma he had produced such a body of knowledge that he was appointed “Professor Extraordinaire” for his theory of relativity. A theory that reconciled the laws of mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field, and introduced us to the field of quantum physics. In doing so he unleashed our own curiosity on itself, allowing us to peek into the hart of the universe, and some to venture all the way to our very soul.
People like the flamboyant composer that changed the face of music forever by abandoning the ‘happy tune’ that was then in vogue and brought to our hearts and our ear a new sound. A harmony that is richer and deeper and fuller and bigger and overwhelmingly loader than anyone could ever imagine. A symphony that reaches deep within our soul, and drags it kicking and screaming from the misery and evil that it hides, and exults it to to glorious heights of divinity where it belongs.
People who, even today are still known and revered for their contributions to the worlds of art and science and humanity. People who challenged the status quo of our existence and permanently altered the course of history. People like Friedrich Nietzsche, Richard Wagner, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Erwin Schrödinger, Albert Einstein, and Sigmund Freud.
And so the man who is known as the greatest pessimist in the history of human thought, the man who searched for 72 years but could not find a single reason to live left behind a legacy that bared our collective soul to our very own eyes, and then showed it to us in all it’s glorious magnificence.
That man was Arthur Schopenhauer, a grumpy old geezer who spent his whole life searching for reward and who was answered through the life’s and the work of the people he tolerated in his life.
Wherever you are old man, I would like you to thank you and let you know that you did good. And I guess since you died you already know the reason for life, but just in case you’re still out there searching for reward, I’d like to invite you to take a look at the legacy you left through your word. And if you’re still wandering somewhere alone in the misery of your own existence, then may I suggest you try a little love? It is after all the quality most often attributed to spirit, the very last of mysteries still left to man and the heart and soul of the legacy you left to us.