The World as Will and Representation
Written by Arthur Schopenhauer
We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
― Anaïs Nin
"This amounts to saying that an object, as far as we can know it, is no more than an object of experience, and anything beyond experience we cannot say. After all, we can hardly jump outside of our experiential correlation with the world to view reality from a godlike perspectiveless view from nowhere. To know an object is to know it as we know it, and not as it is in itself." alistair robinson
The subject–object problem, a longstanding philosophical issue, is concerned with the analysis of human experience, and arises from the premise that the world consists of objects (entities) which are perceived or otherwise presumed to exist as entities, by subjects (observers).
How much of the knowledge of on an object is our own conception or thought? Only with our own ideas and concepts do objects start to have meaning because until then they are simply a collection of visual phenomena. Our own changing thoughts and moods can also influence how we see and feel about the things around us.
Schopenhauer explains it this way:
It is only when the understanding begins to act - a function not of a single delicate nerve extremity but of that complex and mysterious structure of the brain...only when the understanding applies it's sole form, the law of causality, that a powerful transformation takes place whereby subjective sensation become objective intuition Thus by virtue of it's own particular form and so a priori, in other words, prior to all experience (since until then experience was not yet possible) the understanding grasps the given sensation of the body as an effect (a word comprehended only by the understanding), and this effect must necessarily have a cause. Simultaneously the understanding summons to its assistance space, the form of the outer sense lying predisposed in the intellect, i.e., the brain. This it does in order to place that cause outside the organism; for only in this way does there arise an outside whose possibility is simply space, so that pure intuition a priori must supply the foundation for empirical intuition. On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason.
A key focus of Schopenhauer was his investigation of individual motivation. Before Schopenhauer, Hegel had popularized the concept of Zeitgeist, the idea that society consisted of a collective consciousness which moved in a distinct direction, dictating the actions of its members. Schopenhauer, a reader of both Kant and Hegel, criticized their logical optimism and the belief that individual morality could be determined by society and reason. Schopenhauer believed that humans were motivated by only their own basic desires, or Wille zum Leben ("Will to Live"), which directed all of mankind