enders_shadow (enders_shadow) wrote in open_philosophy,


Schopenhauer wrote:

1) I have always found the legend of Pandora incomprehensible, indeed preposterous and absurd. I suspect that Hesiod himself already misunderstood it and distorted its meaning. It is not all the evil but all the good things of the world which Pandora had in her box (as her name already indicates). When Epimetheus rashly opened it the good things flew out and away: Hope alone was saved and still remains with us.

Now, that's well and dandy. But elsewhere he writes:

2) Hope is the confusion of the desire for a thing with its probability.
He who is without hope is also without fear: this is the meaning of the expression 'desperate'. For it is natural to man to believe true what he desires to be true, and to believe it because he desires it; if this salutary and soothing quality in his nature is obliterated by repeated ill-fortune, and he is even brought to the point of believing that what he does not desire to happen must happen and what he desires to happen can never happen simply because he desires it, then this is the condition called despair.

Now--I'm trying to put these two passages together and get an understanding of what the hell Schopenhauer was trying to say about Hope. In 1, S implies hope is a good thing. But in 2, S clearly states that hope is a matter of confusion, and I would expect a philosopher to want clarity, not confusion. He would want people to recognize the probability of something (say, me winning the lotto) and not have them recognize their desire for it (I would like to win millions of dollars, after all).

So, fellow thinkers, tell me this, what do you make of Schopenhauers seeming inconsistencies?
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