By GUILLAUME DE ROUVILLE
January 9, 2018
“Life swings like a pendulum backward and forward between pain and boredom.”
I’m surprised that no one talked about Schopenhauer.
This is the saddest sentence in the history of philosophy. Why ?
It describes perfectly our real-life experience of happiness.
- When I do not have what I want, when my desire is not fulfilled, I feel frustrated.
This is what Schopenhauer calls pain
- When my desire gets satisfied, it is no longer pain since there is no more lack. It is not happiness since there is no more desire.
This is what Schopenhauer calls boredom, which is the absence of happiness in the very place of his expected presence.
We say to ourselves: “ I would be so happy if …”
Sometimes the if never shows up making us feel unhappy; Sometimes it does but we still can’t feel happy : we’ve gotten used to what we have.
Hence the sentence I announced, which summarizes so sadly the essential:
“Life therefore oscillates, like a pendulum, from backward to forward, from pain to boredom.”
Suffering because I desire what I do not have, and suffer from this want; Boredom because I have what I do not want anymore.