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A Critical Investigation of the Sublime and the Moral in

Schopenhauers Metaphysical Aesthetics

Alexander Fox
Alexander Fox wrote this paper in his third year of honours at the University of
Dundee. His interests within continental philosophy include German idealism,
existentialism, and the links between philosophy and literature. It is with his
philosophical engagement with Schopenhauer, however, that his original love for
philosophy was born , as he believes, like the arch pessimist himself, that it is better to
be wise than happy. The present paper was submitted as part of an honours course,
and its final form is therefore indebted to discussions with the module co-ordinator
Dr. Rachel Jones.

Arthur Schopenhauer is one of the few philosophers to offer a system of

metaphysics that is entirely immanent in its orientation. Such an approach is
characterised by its attempt to provide a hermeneutic of existence, and so its central
concern is to delineate what the essence of the world is. For Schopenhauer, the answer
to this question, in his own words, is: The world is self-knowledge of the will,1 and
it is clear from this response that he means that the essence, or purpose of the world is
to allow the will to manifest itself in order to achieve understanding of itself. Less
obvious, however, is whether what the will learns is of purely theoretical interest, or
whether it instigates some form of fundamental change. According to Schopenhauer,
it is the latter that happens, as he advocates that the will understanding itself amounts
to two lessons, which are both of a profoundly ethical nature. Firstly, the will discerns
that it is inherent in everything, and so a person can start to realise that it is incorrect
to make a distinction between ones underlying will and anothers. This engenders a
compassionate stance, as when another persons will is frustrated and suffering
ensues, one can consider this as essentially ones own suffering. Secondly, and
building upon the first, the will can not only learn that it exists in every object, and
constitutes its essential nature, but that it is also in conflict with itself, and therefore
causes its own suffering. Furthermore, as the will exists entirely within every

Arthur Schopenhauer, The World As Will And Representation, Vol. 1 (New York: Dover, 1969), 410.

individual, each person is the supporter of this conflict and suffering, and it is the
recognition of this culpability that leads to the ascetic position. It is the purpose of this
paper to argue that the mathematical sublime and the dynamic sublime are structured
such that they can provide these first and second lessons respectively to the will.2
Moreover, in the case of the dynamic sublime, it shall be argued that the ascetic is
strongly associated with the aesthetic.3
The logical place to begin is with the examination of what the concepts of
egoism and altruism mean for Schopenhauer, as these will more specifically delineate
the content of the wills lesson at this stage of ethical development. With this in mind,
the following passage comprehensively defines Schopenhauers position:
Individuation is real; the principium individuationis and the diversity
and variety of individuals based on this are the order of things-inthemselves. Each individual is a being radically different from all
others. In my own self alone I have my true being; on the other hand,
everything else is non-ego and foreign to me. This is my knowledge to
whose truth flesh and bone bear witness; it lies at the root of all egoism
and is really expressed in every loveless, unjust and malicious action.
Individuation is mere phenomenon or appearance and originates
through space and time. These are nothing but the forms of all of the
objects of my cerebral cognitive faculty and are conditioned by them.
And so even plurality, and diversity of individuals are mere
phenomenon, that is, exist only in my representation. My true inner
being exists in every human being as directly as it makes itself known
in my self-consciousness only to me. In Sanskrit tat tuam asi (this art
thou) is the formula, the standing expression for this knowledge. It is
this that bursts forth as compassion.4

The connection between the sublime and the moral within Schopenhauers thought is a virtually
unexplored area, and so for this reason there will not be a heavy reliance on secondary resources in this
For readers unacquainted with the terms mathematical and dynamic sublime, they mean within the
context of Schopenhauers oeuvre that an object poses a threat to the human will. In the case of the
mathematical sublime, the object concerned makes the persons body, which is an objectification of
their will seem immensely small in comparison. As for the dynamical sublime, these kinds of objects
are immensely powerful in comparison to the resistance that a human being can utilise when
confronted by them, and they threaten to annihilate the individual. Like other philosophers, however,
Schopenhauer defines the general feeling of the sublime as being one of pain mixed with pleasure. As
one shall see later in this paper, the pleasure in the sublime experience is explained by the individual
becoming the pure subject of knowing, which implies a loss of individuality, and the pains associated
with a threat to ones person. Schopenhauers own definition of the sublime shall be offered later in
this paper.
Arthur Schopenhauer, On the Basis of Morality (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1995), 210.

From this excerpt, it is evident that what distinguishes the egoist from the altruist is
that he or she is committing a metaphysical error. What constitutes this mistake is that
the egoist believes individuation is real whilst the altruist knows that individuation
can only exist in space and time, which are phenomena, and is therefore not
characteristic of the thing-in-itself. In short, the egoist, rooted in his or her
individuality fails to realise that the same will exists in everyone, and it is this that
constitutes the real self, as individuation is an illusion. Now given this information, a
natural question to ask is whether there is an experience that can motivate awareness
of these features, and thereby provide the will with this ethical lesson. The answer to
this, according to this paper, is that the mathematical sublime experience can
engender such awareness, and it is to a consideration of this that this paper shall now
Having given the preliminaries regarding egoism and altruism, one can now
concentrate on how the mathematical sublime can help a subject to realise the
metaphysical truths that engender such altruism. Since this requires an exploration
into the sublime, it is appropriate to offer beforehand a brief definition of what
constitutes the sublime for Schopenhauer:
But these very objects, whose significant forms invite us to a pure
contemplation of them, may have a hostile relation to the human will
in general, as manifested in its objectivity, the human body. They may
be opposed to it; they may threaten it by their might that eliminates all
resistance, or their immeasurable greatness reduces it to nought [the
dynamic and mathematical sublime respectively]. Nevertheless, the
beholder may not direct his attention to this relation to his will which is
so pressing and hostile, but, although he perceives and acknowledges
it, he may consciously turn himself away from it, forcibly tear himself
from his will and its relations and, giving himself up entirely to
knowledge, may quietly contemplate, as pure, will-less subject of
knowing, those very objects so terrible to the will.5

Arthur Schopenhauer, The World As Will And Representation Vol.1 (New York: Dover, 1969), 201.

From this, it is clear that the sublime experience involves something being hostile to
the human will,6 and not specifically the individual will, but this discomfort is
transcended, after a struggle, in becoming a pure subject of knowing. Now with this
established, one can observe that since a compassionate disposition requires the
overthrowing of egoism, and the mathematical sublime is experiential in orientation,
and therefore non-conceptual, it is necessary to examine first whether the nature of
egoism can be established concretely, rather than in the abstract form so far
considered. Fortunately it can, and to begin to see this, one can look for the hints in
the following passage:
Every knowing individual is in truth, and finds himself as the whole
will-to-live or as the in-itself of the world itself, and also as the
complementary condition of the world as representation, consequently
as a microcosm to be valued equally with the macrocosm. Nature
herself, always and everywhere truthful, gives him, originally and
without independently of all reflection, this knowledge with simplicity
and immediate certainty. Now from the necessary determinations we
have mentioned is explained that fact that every individual, completely
vanishing and reduced to nothing in a boundless world, nevertheless
makes himself the centre of the world and considers his own existence
and well-being before everything else.7
From this excerpt, it is readily apparent that egoism experientially consists of the
subject placing him or herself at the centre, and everything else is seen only in relation
to this centre. What therefore establishes egoism experientially is the body.8 Julian
Young calls this feature egocentricity and he describes it as follows:
In ordinary, will-serving consciousness, all spatio-temporal locating of
things is relative, ultimately, to a here and a now that is determined by
my own location in space-time as an embodied being. All lines of

By advocating that the objects are hostile to the human will rather than merely the individual will,
Schopenhauer not only ensures the universality of the sublime experience, but also that contemplation
can occur in an admittedly hostile environment. This latter feature shall be important later.
Ibid., 332.
For readers unacquainted with Schopenhauers work, ones individual will is manifested, or
objectified as ones body. Since ones will reflects ones personal strivings, or desires, one can say that
ones body is a manifestation of ones ego, hence why Julian Young refers to this as egocentricity.

direction, as it were, radiate out from myself as the worlds centre. I
shall call this mark of ordinary consciousness its egocentricity.9
Schopenhauer describes this situation in a comparable manner:
For the individual finds his body as an object among objects, to all of
which it has many different relations and connexions according to the
principle of sufficient reason. Hence a consideration of these always
leads back, by a shorter or longer path, to his body, and to his will.10
Now, it is clear from this discussion that if the body can be displaced from its centre,
and suggested to be a nothingness, then the metaphysical truth that individuation is an
illusion will be conveyed experientially. This is precisely what happens in the first
part of the mathematical sublime encounter, as the human will, represented by the
body, is humiliated, as the vastness of the object not only displaces it from its centre,
thereby suggesting that the individual cannot be the genuine supporter of the world,
but it also suggests the eternal, and since the body is so small in comparison, this
indicates how transient it is to be an individual. Both the displacement and the feeling
of being transient therefore indicate how unreal individuation is. As Schopenhauer
himself expresses it:
If we lose ourselves in contemplation of the infinite greatness of the
universe in space and time, meditate on the past millennia and on those
to come; or if the heavens at night actually bring innumerable worlds
before our eyes, and so impress upon on our consciousness the
immensity of the universe, we feel ourselves reduced to nothing; we
feel ourselves as individuals, as living bodies, as transient phenomenon
of will, like drops in the ocean, dwindling and dissolving into
Nevertheless, in spite of the mathematical sublime conveying in a pre-reflective
fashion that being an individual is transient and therefore not genuinely real, it does
not seem to have portrayed the other fundamental component, namely that it is the
same will that resides in everyone. Indeed, it is difficult to see how it can convey this

Julian Young, Schopenhauer (London: Routledge, 2005), 109

Arthur Schopenhauer, The World As Will And Representation, (New York: Dover, 1969), 176-177.
Ibid., 205.

truth, as the mathematical sublime experience only concerns one person at a time, and
it seems clear that it requires at least two to intuit it that it is the same will.
Furthermore, it is not evident how one can discern from the mathematical sublime
experience that it is ones moral vocation to empathise with anothers suffering.
Dealing with the former difficulty first, one has to realise that to say that it is
the same will in everyone is equivalent to saying that there is only one will. An
awareness that there is only one will is therefore all that is required for a subject to
then deduce that his or her underlying will must be the same as anothers, and the
mathematical sublime offers such an awareness. In order to see this, one has to realise
first that the experience latterly involves the emergence of the pure subject of
knowing.12 According to Schopenhauer, upon becoming a pure subject of knowing
one becomes aware
that, as such, he is the condition, and hence the supporter of the world
and of all objective existence, for this now shows itself as dependent
on his own existence. He therefore draws nature into himself, so that
he feels it to be only an accident of his own beingBut how could the
person who feels this regard himself as absolutely perishable in
contrast to perishable nature?13
Elsewhere he remarks: We are only that one eye of the world which looks out from
all living creatures.14 Clearly then, in the latter phase of the mathematical sublime
experience, the subject realises that there is only one true, permanent self.
Nevertheless, this does not indicate, at least directly, that there is only one will.
Fortunately, however, this difficulty can be overcome by realising the import of the
phrase that nature is only an accident of his own being. What this means is that the

To elaborate on the notion of the pure subject of knowing, Schopenhauer believes that ones intellect,
referred to him as the subject of knowing, is normally ensnared by ones will in order to serve that will.
In some cases, however, such as in aesthetic contemplation, the intellect breaks free from the will, and
becomes the pure subject of knowing. As one can appreciate, this change in the mode of knowing is
also a change in what is known: the subject of knowing knows particulars, whilst the pure subject of
knowing knows Ideas, or universals. Furthermore, there is only one pure subject of knowing which
supports the world as representation.
Ibid., 181.
Ibid., 198.

subject of knowing, and the Ideas that he or she discerns, come from the same source,
namely the will. Schopenhauer puts it in the following way:
The will is the in itself of the Idea, which completely objectifies itAs
will, outside the representation and all its forms, it is one and the same
[will] in the contemplated object and in the individual, who soaring
aloft in this contemplation becomes conscious of itself as pure subject;
those two [the contemplated object and the pure subject] are therefore
in themselves not different; for in themselves they are the will, which
here knows itself15
In essence then, the aesthetic experience partially involves the insight that the pure
subject itself is will, and as the mathematical sublime experience is a species of the
aesthetic, it is evident that it can provide the insight that there is only one will. John
Atwell sums this insight up nicely:
The pure subject of knowing knows every object as a grade of the
wills objectification, as Idea, and it is conscious of itself as in itself
that very same will. In aesthetic contemplation, then, the will knows
the will; therein, too, there arises the clearest, most distinct instance of
what the world is, the self-knowledge of the will.16
As to the second difficulty, one does not require, at least initially, another persons
suffering to realise ones moral vocation. In order to see this, one has to realise that
ones moral vocation, according to Schopenhauer, is to recognise that each person has
the same underlying self, and therefore will, and to adjust ones actions in light of
this. Already it has been observed that the mathematical sublime provides an
awareness of there being only one underlying will and self, but what has yet to be
established is whether such an experience can put a value judgement on this
recognition in order to orientate someone towards this vocation. Indeed it can, as what
happens in the mathematical sublime is that the vastness of the object not only
prevents the human subject from centring itself, but also conveys the impression of
transience. Such a subject therefore goes into crisis in both of these senses, and there

Ibid., 180.
John Atwell, Art as liberation in Schopenhauer, philosophy and the arts ed. by Dale Jacquette
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 90.

is subsequent discomfort. Fortunately, however, the will tears itself away from this
and establishes the pure subject of knowing,17 and there is a feeling of pleasure at this
transcendence. As Schopenhauer describes it: It is an exaltation beyond ones
individuality, a feeling of the sublime.18 The reason for this exaltation is, firstly, that
there is a tearing away from uncomfortable human willing towards establishing the
painless subject of knowing. Furthermore, there is an exaltation in becoming the pure
subject as it is both stable and permanent, in contrast to the individual or human
subject, which being decentred cannot be the real centre, or supporter, of the world,
and is also impermanent.19 Evidently then, the mathematical sublime, in the move
from the first part of the experience to the next, teaches one that the pure subject of
knowing is of far greater value than ones individual self, and since it also conveys
that the basis of it is the one underlying will, one is therefore committed to attending
to this self, even in others, at the potential expense to the latter. It can thus be said that
the mathematical sublime experience provides a complete lesson to the will at this
stage of ethical development.
So far, it has been observed that the mathematical sublime teaches the will that
the same will is inherent in everyone, and that it is ones moral vocation to attend to
this will whenever suffering is present. Nevertheless, Schopenhauer believes that this
stage does not constitute the termination of ones ethical development, but rather that
there is still progress to be made. In the following passage, Schopenhauer offers a


Obviously this tearing away cannot be done by the individual nor human will, as this is precisely
what one is required to be liberated from. Clearly then, it has to be the underlying will that liberates the
pure subject of knowing.
Ibid., 206.
This is equivalent to Schopenhauer saying, The vastness of the world, which previously disturbed
our peace of mind now rests upon us; our dependence on it is now annulled by its dependence on
us.(ibid., 205) In other words, the vastness of the object decentres the egoistic subject and puts the
world at the centre, but upon becoming the pure subject, the world being a representation, is now the
one that is supported by the permanent and real supporter of the world.

definition of this second, and final stage of ethical development, known as the
In other words, it is no longer enough for him [the ascetic] to love
others like himself, but there arises in him an aversion to the essence
whose expression is his own appearance, to the will to life, to the
kernel and essence of that world recognized as full of misery. He
therefore renounces precisely this essence, which appears in him and is
expressed already by his body; and his action now gives lie to his
appearance and comes into open contradiction with it.21
Upon inspection of this passage, Schopenhauer suggests that what necessitates the
move from the first stage to the next is that the will is no longer something to be
aligned with through compassion, but rather should be considered with deep aversion,
and hence denied. The natural question to ask at this point is what leads to such
aversion. Quite simply, asceticism is pursued when a person realises that the will,
which constitutes his or her essential nature, is the cause of its own suffering, as a
consequence of it being in conflict with itself. Moreover, it is the realisation that even
when one is seemingly innocent, one is nevertheless ultimately aligned with the
guilty. Schopenhauer summarises these ideas in the following highly significant
passage, which concerns the doctrine of eternal justice:
Deceived by the knowledge bound to its service, the will here fails to
recognize itself; seeking enhanced well-being in one of its phenomena,
it produces great suffering in another. Thus in the fierceness and
intensity of its desire it buries its teeth into its own flesh, not knowing
that it always injures only itself, revealing in this form through the
medium of individuation the conflict with itself which it bears in its
inner nature. Tormentor and tormented are one. The former is mistaken
he does not share the torment, the latter in thinking he does not share
the guilt. If their eyes were both opened, the inflictor of suffering

For readers not fully acquainted with Schopenhauers work, the notion of the ascetic, and eternal
justice might need more explanation. With this in mind, his doctrine of eternal justice is that, as the
world is a manifestation of the underlying will, this will is only able to satisfy itself through one of its
objectifications by causing suffering to another of its objectifications. The suffering it brings upon
itself is therefore deserved, as in trying to satisfy itself, it actually violates against itself. An ascetic is
someone who is aware that their essence is shared by everything, and that every case of suffering is
caused by the essence that he or she shares. It is such a recognition that horrifies the ascetic, and leads
him or her to try and negate that essence, which is the underlying will. These points will be discussed
in greater depth in what follows.
Ibid., 380.

would recognize that he lives in everything that suffers pain in the
whole world, and if, endowed with the faculty of reason, ponders in
vain why it was called into existence for such suffering, whose cause
and guilt it does not perceive. On the other hand, the tormented person
would see that all the wickedness that is or ever was perpetrated in the
world proceeds from that will that constitutes his own inner being, and
appears also in him.22
From this excerpt, it is clear that Schopenhauer believes that as soon as the will
offends, it punishes itself, and the punished, in their essential nature thus deserve such
punishment, as they were responsible for the offence. Crucially, a period of time does
not therefore elapse between offence and punishment. Unfortunately, however, this
poses a problem for Schopenhauer, in terms of how the innocent party23 can recognise
that he or she is nevertheless responsible for the torment caused, and proceed to deny
the will. What this means is that the innocent person would be so preoccupied with
the harm done to his or her individual will that he or she would not be able to
contemplate that they have same underlying will as the wrongdoer, and that this
implies that they are equally guilty. To resolve this problem, one would therefore
have to say that for a person to have such an insight, the harm could not be done to
that person him or herself, but rather to another.24 Such a person would be sufficiently
distanced from the incident to not feel his or her individual will threatened, but would
nevertheless feel discomfort, as witnessing the infliction of pain is hostile to the
human will25. Moreover, what would make it especially offensive to the human will is
the wrongdoer inflicting pain on the innocent party, and the latter being powerless to


Ibid., 354.
One is only considering the doctrine of eternal justice from the perspective of the innocent party. The
reason for this is that the purpose of this investigation is to determine how a compassionate agent
would move to becoming an ascetic. Since such an agent is compassionate, it is unlikely that they
would be the tormentor.
To clarify this issue, the rationale behind this procedure is that as the directly affected party cannot
contemplate these truths, one therefore has to posit an innocent party that is indirectly affected by the
incidents. Nevertheless, although indirectly involved, such a person can realise that on the level of the
noumenal he or she is as responsible as any individual who inflicts pain, and this insight can lead to a
denial of the will.
Naturally, if one were of a sadistic orientation, then there would be no feeling of discomfort.
Nevertheless, what one is dealing with here is how one should feel, whether one actually does.


defend itself. Indeed, Schopenhauer considers the concept of wrong to be intimately

connected with the concept of power:
The will of the first [the wrongdoer] breaks through the boundary of
anothers affirmation of will, since the individual either destroys or
injures this other body itself, or compels the powers of that other body
to serve his will, instead of serving the will that appears in that body.
Thus if from the will, appearing as the body of another, he takes away
the powers of this body, and thereby increases the power serving his
will beyond that of his own body, he in consequence affirms his own
will beyond his own body by denying the will that appears in the body
of another. This breaking through of the boundary of anothers
affirmation of will has at all times been distinctly recognized, and its
concept has been denoted by the word wrong.26
Clearly then, the phenomenal component of the eternal justice experience involves
matters of dominance and consequent suffering, but these must only affect a person on
the level of the human will, if he or she is to discern that the same will both offends
and punishes itself, and therefore that he or she is responsible on the level of the
noumenal for all offences. Now, in order for this person to have this insight that leads
to an aversion towards the will, he or she must recognise that the will, revealing its
nature in its highest objectification, namely the human being, is eternally selfdivisive, and causes its own suffering, which it deserves. In short, one must intuit the
essence of humanity, which lies outside of space, time and causality, to possess this
insight. This therefore requires a person to necessarily enter an aesthetic state, as it is
only in such a state that one can intuit the Idea, or essence, as evidenced in the
following passage:
If, therefore, the object has to such an extent passed out of all relation
to something outside it, and the subject has passed out of all relation to
the will, what is thus known is no longer the individual thing as such,
but the Idea, the eternal form [the essence], the immediate objectivity
of the will at this gradeThe pure subject of knowledge and its
correlative, the Idea, have passed out of all these forms of the principle


Ibid., 334.

of sufficient reason. Time, place, the individual that knows, and the
individual that is known, have no meaning for them.27
A natural question to ask at this point is whether the aesthetic experience that arises is
of the beautiful or sublime variety. Immediately, one realises that it could not be the
former, as there is initial discomfort and therefore a struggle to establish the pure
subject of knowing. It is therefore evident that it must be of the latter type, and more
specifically, of the dynamically sublime kind, as the reason for the hostility to the
human will is a result of an exercise of power. Unfortunately, however, there are three
objections to such an analysis. Firstly, Schopenhauer only refers to the dynamic
sublime in connection with impersonal nature, and so it can be construed as taking
liberties with the text to apply it to the human realm. Fortunately, this objection has
little weight, as the essence of the dynamic sublime is, to quote Julian Young, that
which makes us aware of our causal insignificance.28 One has already observed that
the nature of wrong consists in the wronged being incapable of preventing the
wrongdoer asserting his or her dominance, and so one still has a sense of causal
impotence, if not insignificance.
As to the second objection, this raises the difficulty of how the individual can
deny the will when it is the pure subject that realises that the will is in conflict with
itself. The answer to this is that the objection is based on a misunderstanding, as it is
the will, and not the individual who does the denying. As John Atwell puts it:
Denial of the will is not, literally speaking, something that an
individual person can execute at will (despite talk of voluntary
asceticism). Rather, it is the will that denies the will, though in or
through an individual person.29


Ibid., 179. This is Schopenhauers own statement of what was said in footnote 12. To reiterate, Ideas
are known by the pure subject, and are universals. For Schopenhauer, particulars are conditioned by
space, time and causality, whilst Ideas are only conditioned by being object for the pure subject.
Julian Young, Schopenhauer (London: Routledge, 2005), 116.
John Atwell, Schopenhauer On The Character Of The World: The Metaphysics Of Will (London:
University of California Press, 1995), 160.


Finally, there is the objection that the insight that leads to the ascetic position
cannot come about as a result of a dynamic sublime experience, as there could be no
exaltation in the will breaking free to become a pure subject of knowing to then
discern that it is in conflict with itself, and therefore causes its own suffering. In
response to this, one can say that it is an erroneous claim, as it fails to make precise
phenomenological distinctions. What this means is that there is some degree of
exaltation in moving from being in discomfort to being a painless subject before the
insight that leads to the ascetic position comes to pass. One can therefore characterise
this particular dynamic sublime experience as one that cannot sustain itself, precisely
because the exaltation cannot be sustained. The main point, however, is that it is most
often30 through this form of dynamic sublime experience that the will learns its second
ethical lesson, namely that it is in conflict with itself, such that tormentor and
tormented are one.
Over the course of this paper, one has seen how the mathematical sublime and
dynamic sublime respectively teach the will its first and second ethical lesson.
Moreover, whilst one can learn the first lesson by other means than the
mathematically sublime experience, the dynamic sublime nearly always has to be
experienced in a certain form in order to progress to asceticism, and it is this that
justifies a strong link between the aesthetic and the ascetic. Whilst Schopenhauer


This passage raises two important points. Firstly, the strong correlation between the dynamic sublime
and the second lesson of the will is not negated even in the extremely rare case of someone being
directly tortured or wronged, and coming experientially to the insight that tormentor and tormented are
one. The reason for this is that such a person would have to not feel their individual will that strongly,
and would thus not be compelled to run away or retaliate. As a result of this, in that moment, any
discomfort would be more attributed to the human will, and the insight that they subsequently arrived
at would involve reaching the aesthetic state via a struggle. Consequently, even in this case the person
would have to move through a dynamically sublime framework. Secondly, the reason that this
correlation between the dynamic sublime and the second lesson of the will is not made more strongly is
that it is possible, albeit less powerfully, for the subject to learn the lesson of the ascetic through an
experience of the beautiful. This is unlikely, however, as an intimation that tormentor and tormented
are one would normally involve some degree of pain, and the experience of the beautiful, unlike that
of the sublime, has no pain attached to it.


himself never established the connection between the sublime and the moral, he made
the statement that:
I become aware of one member, one blood vessel, one part of another,
i.e. I write them down unconcerned how each will fit the whole; for I
know that it is all sprung from one basis. Thus originates an organic
whole and only such a thing can live.31
One can therefore say that an investigation of the connection between the sublime and
the moral is not only important on its own basis, but also as it provides a concrete
illustration that his system is indeed a unity, and very much does live.


Arthur Schopenhauer, Manuscript Remains In Four Volumes, Vol.1 (London: Berg, 1988), 234.



Atwell, John. Art as liberation.In Schopenhauer, Philosophy and the Arts, edited
by Dale Jacquette (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).
Atwell, John. Schopenhauer On The Character Of The World: The Metaphysics Of
Will. London: University of California Press, 1995.
Schopenhauer, Arthur. On the Basis of Morality. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1995.
Schopenhauer, Arthur. Manuscript Remains in Four Volumes. Vol. 1. London:
Berg, 1988.
Schopenhauer, Arthur. The World As Will And Representation. Vol.1. Translated by
E.J. Payne. New York: Dover, 1969.
Young, Julian. Schopenhauer. London: Routledge, 2005.