Page:A Brief History of Modern Philosophy.djvu/201
is the same thing seen objectively (physically) as the will seen subjectively (metaphysically). The operation of will is manifest throughout the whole of physical nature — in organic growth, in the functional activity of muscles and nerves, in fact in all the forces of nature. Schopenhauer endeavors to prove this in detail in his book, Der Wille in der Natur (1836), and in the second volume of his masterpiece, because here he likewise operates with analogies. We behold the operation of will in nature through a series of steps (which are however no more to be regarded as temporal, real evolutional steps than in Schelling and Hegel). The steps accordingly vary to the degree of difference between cause and effect. On the level of mechanism cause and effect are equivalent, showing a slight degree of dissimilarity already in chemism, whilst in the organic realm the cause dwindles to a mere discharging stimulus, and where consciousness enters it simply furnishes the motive. The dissimilarity is greatest when we come to the last step — and here indeed the causal relation is revealed as an act of will!
Will manifests itself everywhere as the will to live — for the mere sake of living, of pure existence. Here the question, why, no longer occurs; the principle of sufficient reason does not apply to the will itself. The multiplicity of forms and energies in nature, the movements which are forever renewed, and the everlasting unrest in the world reveal the presence of the ever-active energy of the impulse of self-assertion. This vague impulse involves us in the illusion that life is good and valuable. The will employs this illusion as the inducement for us to maintain our existence at any cost. Existence understood in its real nature, just because it consists essentially in a restless and insatiable impulse, is pain, and pleasure or satisfaction