THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE UNCONSCIOUS : Volume III - by Eduard von HARTMANN
The Masterpiece of Philosophy that first inspired Freud's psychological enquiry into the Unconscious. The work is presented in three volumes, in the first of which are the author's original prefaces, an interview with the author, an introduction to his life and work, and a select bibliography. This, the third volume in the set, is for those who wish to appreciate Hartmann's pessimistic vision of the cosmos. It is one of the most striking volumes in the history of philosophy, for within it Eduard von Hartmann sets forth his argument in favour of the annihilation of all existence: Cosmic Suicide. Certainly a pessimistic philosophy!
"Hence the veil of sadness that is spread over all Nature, the deep indestructible melancholy of all life." F.W.J. von Schelling
About the Final Volume: In Volume III Hartmann's focus is, as in the second volume, upon the 'Metaphysics of the Unconscious' (as opposed to the physical and the mental aspects, which he explored at the greatest length in Vol.I). For those who wish to appreciate Hartmann's pessimistic vision of the cosmos, this is the volume to read, for it is here that he sets forth his argument in favour of the annihilation of all existence, an end to all things. He shows what other directions might take the dark vision of his direct predecessor Arthur Schopenhauer, who himself suggested 'Nirvana' as the only solution. It is the most renowned volume of the work, infamous, in some ways, precisely because of the several stage argument he sets out in support of the preferred mass suicide of the human race, as opposed to the continuation of life on earth. In the first stage of this polemic, he examines what pleasures life has to offer in this world, while in the second stage of this argument he looks at the case of those who seek a Paradise beyond as opposed to one here on earth. Finally, in the last stage of this discussion, he examines the belief in the greatness of the future. His conclusion is, as already mentioned, on the negative side, in that he opts for the mass self-effacement of all life on this planet. In addition to this, the present volume is also of great value in that he summarizes his conclusions from the rest of the preceding stages, sections and chapters, as well as taking a brief retrospective view of the systems of other relevant philosophers.
Extra Features of this Volume: This book includes, as a supplementary bonus, Eduard von Hartmann's Appendix to the work, entitled 'The Physiology of the Nerve Centres', which he added later and considered to be essential to a full understanding of his viewpoint - though for those only interested in his general argument, it is in fact not obligatory reading. Today, the interest that lies in this additional essay is in the general view that it gives of the science of physiology as concerns the nerve centres in Hartmann's day.
An Extract from Volume III: "XIII. THE IRRATIONALITY OF VOLITION AND THE MISERY OF HUMAN EXISTENCE. NATURE OF THE PROBLEM - The object of this chapter is to inquire whether the being or the non-being of this present world deserves the preference. And here, more than at any other stage of our inquiry, must we crave the reader's indulgence, since a tolerably exhaustive treatment of the subject would require a book to itself. In this place our exposition must be rather of the nature of an episode, both on external grounds and more particularly because the result of this inquiry, although important for the clearing up of the ultimate principles of Philosophy, has no direct bearing on the main theme of the work as proclaimed in its title, "The Unconscious". Nevertheless, in a short examination, presenting many new points of view, I hope to afford suggestions even to the opponents of the opinions here advanced, which may to a certain extent compensate them for the perusal of this digression. If we glance at the judgments of the greatest minds of all ages, we find those, who have at all found occasion to express their opinion on the subject, pronouncing the condemnation of life in very decided terms".