Mostly (not) on McSweeney's!

A blog for my academic ideas, more or less.

Schopenhauer and compassion

I listened to the In Our Time podcast on Schopenhauer on my cycle to Goldsmiths today. I enjoyed it. I did not know much about him before. They talked about human endeavour fluctuating between boredom and desire. They mentioned the pain associated with both of these. They said he thought compassion was a way out of this. This resonates with things I’ve been thinking about lately. They said he picked up “compassion” as a philosophical strand from Buddhism. About recognising the “will” of another. The Anthony Doerr story in McSweeney’s 32 is about being subject to the literal thoughts of another. This compassion changes the behaviour of both the subjected character and the original character in interesting ways.


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