March 08, 2008

To life

One doesn't need reasons to love Shaw, but he nevertheless provides us with so many of them. Here is another deduced by Chesterton:

Roughly speaking, Schopenhauer maintained that life is unreasonable. The intellect, if it could be impartial, would tell us to cease; but a blind partiality, an instinct quite distinct from thought, drives us on to take desperate chances in an essentially bankrupt lottery. Shaw seems to accept this dingy estimate of the rational outlook, but adds a somewhat arresting comment. Schopenhauer had said, "Life is unreasonable; so much the worse for all living things." Shaw said, "Life is unreasonable; so much the worse for reason." Life is the higher call, life we must follow. It may be that there is some undetected fallacy in reason itself. Perhaps the whole man cannot get inside his own head any more than he can jump down his own throat. But there is about the need to live, to suffer, and to create that imperative quality which can truly be called supernatural, of whose voice it can indeed be said that it speaks with authority, and not as the scribes.

This is the first and finest item of the original Bernard Shaw creed: that if reason says that life is irrational, life must be content to reply that reason is lifeless; life is the primary thing, and if reason impedes it, then reason must be trodden down into the mire amid the most abject superstitions.

Life is the important thing--something that my own life is proving to me with a sad empiricism. Nothing demonstrates so well the subordination of reason to life as seeing family and close friends struggle and suffer with illness and with death,

Posted by Ideofact at March 8, 2008 12:35 PM
Comments

The comma at the end of this post is a typo, but I particularly like it -- it seems far more appropriate than either a period or an ellipsis. I am in the midst of several unfinished thoughts, and am also the least consequential character in several dramas that may now be playing out. If it were up to me, everyone would be at a comma, drawing a breath to continue speaking, living, pleasuring, muddling,


Posted by: Bill at March 10, 2008 01:01 AM