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Borodino and Waterloo. It is a remarkable fact that the rate of increase
of the population of England was highest in the first twenty years of the


present century, during fifteen years of which \ve were engaged in a gigan-
tic war with Napoleon. The vast standing armies of recent years are fed
mainly by recruits taken at an early age from the population, and restored
to it, invigorated in mind and body, after a short service of three or four
years. Germany, with its three millions of soldiers, may show signs of
financial pressure, but none hitherto of declining population.

Pestilence in times past has played a great part in keeping down ex-
cess of population. The black death in the reign of Edward III. is re-
ported to have swept away nearly a third of the population of England,
and to this day large parish churches, often standing within a stone's
throw of one another, in Norfolk, testify to the existence of a dense pop-
ulation where now there are only a few large farmers and agricultural
laborers. The sweating sickness, plague, and small-pox also counted
their victims by millions, and defective sanitary arrangements kept the
death-rate high almost down to the present day. But science and sani-
tation, aided by better food, clothing, and lodging, have of late years
rapidly brought down and are still bringing down the death-rate, and even
since the tables of the principal Life Assurances Offices were framed,
the average duration of life has been lengthened by from five to ten per

Famine remains, and in some of the Eastern countries of old civiliza-
tion and dense population it is still the main check by which Nature
asserts the inexorable law of the struggle for existence. But in European
countries generally, the establishment of settled order, the accumulation
of wealth, and above all the improvement of communications, have for a
long time past prevented scarcity from degenerating into famine. Eng-
land especially, as long as present conditions continue, and there is sur-
plus food left anywhere in the world, is not likely to see famine an effec-
tive operating cause in checking the advance of population.

In one instance, however, at our own doors and in our own days, we
have seen that Nature, "red in tooth and claw," asserts its inevitable
laws even by this extreme and cruel remedy. The redundant population
of Ireland has been reduced from eight to five millions by famine, and its
results, fever and forced emigration. There has been no such destruction
of life and arrest of the progress of population since the black death.
The causes no doubt were exceptional, and we can place our fingers on
them. Long years of oppression, bad legislation, and a vicious land
system led to the multiplication of a pauper population reduced to the
very lowest subsistence on the precarious potato, with the life-blood of
the country, which should have accumulated capital in the form of the
multiplied little savings of individual cultivators, drained from them by
alien and absentee landlords ; and all hope, providence, and energy
crushed out of them by the knowledge that they were liable to be rack-
rented on their own improvements.

This important lesson may be learned from the experience of Ireland,


that when a population is brought down, by unfavorable circum-
stances, to a very low standard of food and comfort, the immediate
tendency is not to retard but to accelerate the rate of increase.
Where there is nothing to look forward to from providence, pru-
dential restraints on early marriages cease to operate. In fact, as
far as they operate at all they operate the other way, for the only
chance for a man plunged in hopeless poverty is to have grown-up
sons and daughters able to help him when he is getting old and past
work. Half the population of Ireland who are tenants of small
holdings, have for years past only been able to live and pay rents so
as to keep a roof over their heads, by the aid of remittances from
members of the family who had emigrated to America and Australia.
Thus, as the condition of a people deteriorates, and food and employ-
ment become scarce, the pent-up fires accumulate more rapidly
until nature relieves itself by some great explosion.

This brings us to the practical consideration of what is likely to
happen in the future. As long as present conditions continue, and
the reserve of food-producing land remains unexhausted, it is
probable that England will progress and prosper. The condition of
Ireland will improve by better legislation, and England and Scotland
have such resources in their mineral wealth, their facilities of com-
munication, their accumulated capital, and in the character and
industrial aptitudes of their people, that as long as there is any
surplus food in the world they will get the lion's share of it. The
rate of progress is not even likely to slacken until we approach more
nearly to the exhaustion of the world's reserves. More poverty
there may be, for if five per cent, be a fair average of failures in
the struggle for existence, owing to weakness of mind or body,
unfavorable surroundings, and ill luck, five per cent, on forty millions
is a larger figure than five per cent, was on twenty millions. But I see
no reason to doubt that for many years to come the mass of the popu-
lation will eat as good or better food, be paid as high or higher
wages, work as short or shorter hours, deposit as much or more
money in Savings Banks and Provident Societies, as they do at
present. And although it is never safe to prophesy unless you
know, it is not a very hazardous prediction that each id in the
pound of income-tax will give future Chancellors of the Exchequer
a larger rather than a smaller contribution to the national revenue.

Foreign competition does not much alarm me, for the inevitable
tendency of manufacturing and mining labor in France, Germany,
and Belgium must be to level up towards our standard, or else to
explode in strikes and socialist revolutions, to which they are all
much nearer than we are in this country. If we are behind any other
nation, as for instance Germany, in technical education, we can and
will apply a remedy, and with equal brains and more money we are
not likely to be long outstripped in anything which intelligence and
capital can cure.

The only really formidable competition I can imagine in the near


future would be from the United States of America, if they ever
came to adopt President Cleveland's policy of taxing no free citizen
for more than his share of necessary national expenditure, and thus
incidentally were brought to abandon Protection. We should then
have to compete in foreign markets with a people fully equal to our
own in all essential qualities, and with the advantage of being more
adaptable, more inventive, more eager to get on, and less under the
influence of routine and prejudice; while in certain respects nature
gives them an advantage, as in growing their own cotton, and having
larger reserves of land and larger deposits of coal and iron. Even
here, however, it is probable that competition would lead rather to
the diversion of certain branches of our foreign trade into other
channels and the substitution of others, than to a diminution of its
aggregate amount, and there would be a large compensation to us
from throwing open a market of sixty millions of people which is
now greatly restricted by prohibitory tariffs.

It is not therefore in the near future that I anticipate any of the
dangers and difficulties of a redundant population, but the present
rate of progress cannot last for ever, and our prosterity, if not in
one, then in a few generations, will eventually have to face them.
The latest statistics, those of Professor Levasseur, show that since
1800 the population has increased

In the United Kingdom from . . . . 1&/2 to 37.

Russia in Europe 35 to 88.

German Empire 27 to 47.

while he estimates that between 1810 and 1874 the entire population
of the world increased from 682,000,000 to 1,391,000 or about
doubled. If anything like this rate of increase were maintained for
another century, nature will obviously have to provide remedies.

Can we foresee what these remedies will be when reserves of land
are approaching exhaustion and supplies of food begin to fail?
Scarcely, for in these cases evolution works by its own laws rather
than by any logical deduction of philosophers or politicians, and
all we know is that there will be a " struggle for existence," and
that " the fittest will survive." Still we may gather dimly from
present and past experience, that there are two directions from
which the inevitable checks may be expected to come. One from
a diminution of the birth-rate owing to fewer and later marriages,
as the result of education and improved conditions. We have seen
in the case of Ireland that poverty tends to accelerate the birth-rate,
and commonly the well-to-do and upper classes scarcely keep up
their numbers unless recruited from below. As the mass of the
population rise to a higher standard of respectability and comfort
they will be less ready to risk falling below that standard by con-
tracting early and imprudent marriages. The possession of prop-
erty also, especially of property in land, is, as we may see in France,
a powerful factor in chicking the progress of population. In that


country, while the population of England, Germany, and Russia has
more than doubled, the increase has only been during the same time
from 33,000,000 to 38,000,000. Should these checks prove insuffi-
cient, I confess I can see no other outcome than an increase of the
death-rate on a large scale, such as might come from the combina-
tion of war, pestilence, and famine, which would result from a
general upheaval of the dangerous and discontented classes of the
community, owing to distress and demagogic excitement. Society
is safe enough against any irruption of outer barbarians, but it is
not so safe against its own barbarians, who are accumulating in the
slums of its great cities. Or rather, it is safe as long as it has only
these barbarians to deal with, but not so safe if these are reinforced
by multitudes of honest and well-intentional men, who are driven
desperate by the difficulty of getting " a fair day's wages for a fair
day's work."

The history of the Commune in Paris may be a lesson to us of the
amount of death and destruction which might be occasioned by such
an uprising. A month of such a Commune in London would bring
about such a destruction of capital and credit as would throw mil-
lions out of employment, and reduce them to the dire necessity of
cutting one another's throats or starving. Fortunately such a result
is far distant, and at any rate we have the consolation of knowing,
that if the States of civilized Europe are to be swallowed up by such
a Polyphemus, our lot, like that of the man of many resources, the
wise and much-enduring Ulysses, will probably come last. The tide
of empire and civilization has hitherto followed the sun and flowed
westward. It has reached the shores of the Atlantic and crossed
ever to the New World. When that New World is fully occupied,
and the human tide reaches the Pacific, what will happen ? Will it,
like the army of lemmings in Lapland, march ever westward until it
topples over into the ocean ? We can only answer, it is a " Prob-
lem of the Future."



By Arthur Schopenhauer



fitam impendtrt v*r. JUVHHAL.





I. Drvisroj o* THE SUBJECT ,. . 263

II. PEBSONALITY, OB WHAT A MAN is ........ 263



Sect. 1. Reputation 294

" 2. Pride 299

" 3. RanK 801

" 4. Honor 301

" 5. Fame 2*


O CHOPENHAUER is one of the few philosophers who can be gen-
*-' erally understood without a commentary. All his theories claim to
be drawn direct from the facts, to be suggested by observation, and to
interpret the world as it is ; and whatever view he takes, he is constant
in his appeal to the experience of common life. This characteristic
endows his style with a freshness and vigor which would be difficult to
match in the philosophical writing of any country, and impossible in
that of Germany. If it were asked whether there were any circumstances,
apart from heredity, to which he owed his mental habit, the answer
might be found in the abnormal character of his early education, his
acquaintance with the world rather than with books, the extensive travels
of his boyhood, his ardent pursuit of knowledge for its own sake and
without regard to the emoluments and endowments of learning. He
was trained in realities even more than in ideas; and hence he is original,
forcible, clear, an enemy of all philosophic indefiniteness and obscurity ;
so that it may well be said of him, in the words of a writer in the
"Revue Contemporaine," cen'est pas un phttosophe comme les aulres,
c'esi un philosophe qui avu le monde.

It is not my purpose, nor would it be possible within the limits of a
prefatory note, to attempt an account of Schopenhauer's philosophy, to
indicate its sources, or to suggest or rebut the objections which may be
taken to it. M. Ribot, in his excellent little book,* has done all that is
necessary in this direction. But the essays here presented need a word
of explanation. It should be observed, and Schopenhauer himself is at
pains to point out, that his system is like a citadel with a hundred gates:

* La Philosophic de Schopenhauer, par Th. Ribot.


at whatever point you take it up, wherever you make your entrance, you
are on the road to the centre. In this respect his writings resemble a
series of essays composed in support of a single thesis; a circumstance
which led him to insist, more emphatically even than most philosophers,
that for a proper understanding of his system it was necessary to read
every line he had written. Perhaps it would be more correct to describe
Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung as his main thesis, and his other
treatises as merely corollary to it The essays in these volumes form
part of the corollary; they are taken from a collection published towards
the close of Schopenhauer's life, and by him entitled Parerga und
Paralipomena, as being in the nature of surplusage and illustrative of his
main position. They are by far the most popular of his works, and
since their first publication in 1851 they have done much to build up his
fame. Written so as to be intelligible enough in themselves, the
tendency of many of them is towards the fundamental idea on which his
system is based. It may therefore be convenient to summarize that idea
in a couple of sentences; more especially as Schopenhauer sometimes
writes as if his advice had been followed and his readers were acquainted
with the whole of his work.

All philosophy is in some sense the endeavor to find a unifying prin-
ciple, to discover the most general conception underlying the whole
field of nature and of knowledge. By one of those bold generalizations
which occasionally mark a real advance in science, Schopenhauer con-
ceived this unifying principle, this underlying unity, to consist in some-
thing analogous to that will which self-consciousness reveals to us. Will
is, according to him, the fundamental reality of the world, the thing-in-
itself; and its objectivation is what is presented in phenomena. The
struggle of the will to realize itself evolves the organism, which in its
turn evolves intelligence as the servant of the will. And in practical life
the antagonism between the will and the intellect arises from the fact
that the former is the metaphysical substance, the latter something
accidental and secondary. And further, will is desire, that is to say, need
of something; hence need and pain are what is positive in the world, and
the only possible happiness is a negation, a renunciation of the will to

It is instructive to note, as M. Ribot points out, that in finding the
origin of all things, not in intelligence, as some of his predecessors in
philosophy had done, but in will, or the force of nature, from which all


phenomena have developed, Schopenhauer was anticipating something of
the scientific spirit of the nineteenth century. To this it may be added,
that in combating the method of Fichte and Hegel, who spun a system
out of abstract ideas, and in discarding it for one based on observation
"and experience, Schopenhauer can be said to have brought down philos-
ophy from heaven to earth.

In Schopenhauer's view, the various forms of Religion are no less a
product of human ingenuity than Art or Science. He holds, in effect,
that all religions take their rise in the desire to explain the world; and
that, in regard to truth and error, they differ, in the main, not by preach-
ing monotheism, polytheism or pantheism, but in so far as they recognize
pessimism or optimism as the true description of life. Hence, any relig-
ion which looked upon the world as being radically evil appealed to him
as containing an indestructible element of truth. I have endeavored to
present his view of two of the great religions of the world in the extract
which comes in the third volume, and to which I have given the title of
The Christian System. The tenor of it is to show that, however little he
may have been in sympathy with the supernatural element, he owed much
to the moral doctrines of Christianity and of Buddhism, between which
he traced great resemblance.

Of Schopenhauer, as of many another writer, it may be said that he
has been misunderstood and depreciated just in the degree in which he is
thought to be new ; and that, in treating of the Conduct of Life, he is,
in reality, valuable only in so far as he brings old truths to remembrance.
His name used to arouse, and in certain quarters still arouses, a vague
sense of alarm ; as though he had come to subvert all the rules of right
thinking and all the principles of good conduct, rather than to proclaim
once again and give a new meaning to truths with which the world has
long been familiar. Of his philosophy in its more technical aspects, as
matter upon which enough, perhaps, has been written, no account need
be taken here, except as it affects the form in which he embodies these
truths or supplies the fresh light in which he sees them. For whatever
claims to originality his metaphysical theory may possess, the chief
interest to be found in his views of life is an affair of form rather than of
substance; and he stands in a sphere of his own, not because he sets new
problems or opens up undiscovered truths, but in the manner in which
he approaches what has been already revealed.

He is not on that account less important ; for the great mass of men


at all times require to have old truths imparted as if they were new
formulated, as it were, directly for them as individuals, and of special
application to their own circumstances in life. A discussion of human
happiness and the way to obtain it is never either unnecessary or
uncalled for, if one looks to the extent to which the lives of most men
fall short of even a poor ideal, or, again, to the difficulty of reaching any
definite and secure conclusion. For to such a momentous inquiry as
this, the vast majority of mankind gives nothing more than a nominal
consideration, accepting the current belief, whatever it may be, on
authority, and taking as little thought of the grounds on which it rests
as a man walking takes of the motion of the earth. But for those who
are not indifferent for those whose desire to fathom the mystery of
existence gives them the right to be called thinking beings it is just
here, in regard to the conclusion to be reached, that a difficulty arises, a
difficulty affecting the conduct of life: for, while the great facts of
existence are alike for all, they are variously appreciated, and conclusions
differ, chiefly from innate diversity of temperament in those who draw
them. It is innate temperament, acting on a view of the facts necessa-
rily incomplete, that has inspired so many different teachers. The
tendencies of a man's own mind the Idols of the Cave before which he
bows interpret the facts in accordance with his own nature: he elabo-
rates a system containing, perhaps, a grain of truth, to which the whole
of life is then made to conform; the facts purporting to be the founda-
tion of the theory, and the theory in its turn giving its own color to the

Nor is this error, the manipulation of facts to suit a theory, avoided
in the views of life which are presented by Schopenhauer. It is true that
he aimed especially at freeing himself from the trammels of previous
systems ; but he was caught in those of his own. His natural desire was
to resist the common appeal to anything extramundane anything out-
side or beyond life as the basis of either hope or fear. He tried to look
at life as it is ; but the metaphysical theory on which his whole philoso-
phy rests, made it necessary for him, as he thought, to regard it as an
unmixed evil. He calls our present existence an infinitesimal moment
between two eternities, the past and the future, a moment like the life
of Plato's " Dwellers in the Cave, " filled with the pursuit of shadows;
where everything is relative, phenomenal, illusory, and man is bound in
the servitude of ignorance, struggle and need, in the endless round of


effort and failure. If you confine yourself, says Schopenhauer, only
to some of its small details, life may indeed appear to be a comedy,
because of the one of two bright spots of happy circumstance to be found
in it here and there; but when you reach a higher point of view and a
broader outlook, these soon become invisible, and Life, seen from the
distance which brings out the true proportion of all its parts, is revealed
as a tragedy a long record of struggle and pain, with the death of the
hero as the final certainty. How then, he asks, can a man make the
best of his brief hour under the hard conditions of his destiny ? What is
the true Wisdom of Life ?

Schopenhauer has no pre-conceived divine plan to vindicate!; no relig-
ious or moral enthusiasm to give a roseate hue to some far-off event,
obliging us in the end to think that all things work together for good.
Let poets and theologians give play to imagination 1 he, at any rate, will
profess no knowledge of anything beyond our ken. If our existence
does not entirely fail of its aim, it must, he says, be suffering; for this is
what meets us everywhere in the world, and it is absurd to look upon it
as the result of chance. Still, in the face of all this suffering, and in
spite of the fact that the uncertainty of life destroys its value as an end in
itself, every man's natural desire is to preserve his existence ; so that life
is a blind, unreasoning force, hurrying us we know not whither. From
his high metaphysical standpoint, Schopenhauer is ready to admit that
there are many things in life which give a short satisfaction and blind us
for the moment to the realities of existence, pleasures as they may be
called, in so far as they are a mode of relief; but that pleasure is not
positive in its nature, nor anything more than the negation of suffering, is
proved by the fact that, if pleasures come in abundance, pain soon
returns in the form of satiety ; so that the sense of illusion is all that has
been gained. Hence, the most a man can achieve in the way of welfare
is a measure of relief from this suffering ; and if people were prudent, it
is at this they would aim, instead of trying to secure a happiness which
always flies from them.

It is a trite saying, that happiness is a delusion, a chimera, the_/a/a
morgana of the heart ; but here is a writer who will bring our whole con-
duct into line with that, as a matter of practice ; making pain the positive
groundwork of life, and a desire to escape it the spur of all effort. While
most of those who treat of the conduct of life come at last to the conclu-
sion, more or less vaguely expressed, that religion and morality form a



positive source of true happiness, Schopenhauer does not professedly
take this view ; though it is quite true that the practical outcome of his

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