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The Mystic and the Misanthrope: the Enigma of Arthur Schopenhauer
(an astrological portrait)
by Gerry Goddard

Two and a half millenia ago, the Eastern sage Shakyamuni Buddha arrived at the insight that all life is suffering -- yet if we could only understand the root of that suffering as a relentless craving at the core of our being and renounce our very self and its desires, we would be released into Nirvana. Two centuries ago in Europe, the philosophical antipodies of the culture which had given birth to the Buddha, a more tortured soul driven by the force of intellect and passion and deeply influenced by the Eastern teachings that were just then becoming known in the West, would declare this same awesome Truth. But impaled on the horns of Western dualistic thought and caught in the prison of his own melancholic constitution, Arthur Schopenhauer would paint his grand canvas in stark Manichaean contrasts, projecting his depressive and pessimistic nature onto the greater world. Informed by the Western rational philosophical tradition from Plato to Kant, he would interpret the Eastern doctrines of self renunciation and nirvana in the light of Western dualistic categories and the distorting lens of his own difficult and incorrigible temperament.

Schopenhauer presents a paradoxical picture of a man who espoused compassion, art, music and the renunciation of self-interested striving as the highest values in a universe he characterized ultimately as a blind, striving universal will engaged in an endless and meaningless process of becoming. These philosophical antinomies reflected a personality that might be characterized on the one hand as, "the Schopenhauer of his outward biography: an irritable, petulant, paradoxical creature, plagued by a most unconquerable vanity; whose acts accuse him of being selfish, harsh-mannered. and sordid...deaf to the call of public and national interests;" and on the other as, "another soul which, freed from the bonds of temporal quarrels and the world's litigiousness, draws close to the great heart of life...recognizes the peaceful creations of art as the most adequate representation the sense-world can give of the true inward being of all things; and which holds the best life to be that of one who has pierced through the illusions dividing one conscious individuality from another, into that heart of eternal rest." (Wallace)

The birth chart of Arthur Schopenhauer

The birth chart of Arthur Schopenhauer
[The noon birth is from Edward Troinski, Les Cahiers Astrologiques, No. 152, Nice, 1971]


Sun conjunct Saturn in trine to Mars

A configuration that has clearly left its stamp on history stands out in the chart of Arthur Schopenhauer -- a simple and tight conjunction of a Piscean Sun and Saturn (conjunct Midheaven) in trine to a rising Cancerian Mars. How much can be unpacked from one configuration in a person's birth chart? I believe that within the multifaceted potentiality of this configuration is symbolized the personal source of the Schopenhaurian vision of a relentless striving of a blind and ever insatiable will in a dark, unconscious and Godless universe from which the only possible release is through an absolute and sacrificial self-negation. This symbol is testimony to the confluence of the psychological and the cultural in the astrological birth chart -- a signature of the character of the man himself and a picture of the dark and culturally formative world view he produced, a vision that anticipated the world of Darwin, contemporary science and existential philosophy and at the same time influenced, directly and indirectly, the thought of such towering figures as Nietzsche, Freud, and Wittgenstein along with numerous literary figures from Turgenev and Tolstoy to Hardy, Conrad and Mann.

In contrast to the earlier notedly 'optimistic' philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz [1] with his Sun/Jupiter conjunction, Schopenhauer has come to be known as the philosopher of pessimism. In fact it was in direct opposition to the popular eighteenth century claim especially promoted by Leibniz, that "this is the best of all possible worlds", that Schopenhauer argued to the contrary that this was "the worst of all possible worlds". Of particular interest to the astrologer searching for biographical exemplars, Schopenhauer is, virtually alone among philosophers to carry this particular textbook close Sun/Saturn astrological signature. Most interestingly, a search of 51 other prominent philosophers produced only two conjunctions within orb -- Benedict Spinoza and Noam Chomsky. [2] While Schopenhauer is paradigmatic of this particular manifestation of a Sun/Saturn conjunction, because of the multivalent character of astrological symbols, I do not wish to imply that such a dark pessimism usually goes along with this configuration. Simple formality, self containment and seriousness being a more typical expression, the close conjunction of Saturn and the Sun in Sagittarius in the chart of the rather stoical and persecuted Spinoza -- renowned for his formal Euclidian structuring of the philosophical method -- is a case in point. With his Sun and Saturn also conjunct in idealistic and truth disseminating Sagittarius, the linguist, philosopher, and social activist Noam Chomsky embodies Saturn in its finest form as the very conscience of the United States. His Saturn is expressed not only through his noted deep structural linguistic theory but in his meticulous and scholarly substantiation of all his political assertions and accusations.

In the mid-nineteenth century, a literary figure most resonant to Schopenhauer's dark expression of Saturn was Baudelaire whose close conjunction of the Sun and Saturn similarly manifested a Manichean and misanthropic temperament -- politically reactionary with a dark view of nature. The philosopher and cultural historian Charles Taylor identifies both Schopenhauer and Baudelaire as centrally embodying a significant nineteenth century negative reaction to the optimistic naivete and emotional expressivism of the Romantic movement. Contrary to Romanticism's idealization of nature, for Schopenhauer the universal "source from which all reality flows as expression is poisoned. It is not the source of the good, but of insatiable desire, of an imprisonment in evil, which makes us miserable, exhausts us, and degrades us." (Taylor, p. 442) While not in ultimate metaphysical agreement, yet sharing the concept of a foundational and universal unconscious from which the rational and conscious individual lately emerges, no less a profound thinker than Carl Jung spoke less critically of Schopenhauer. Jung described Schopenhauer as having "the courage to see that all was not for the best in the fundaments of the universe"; to be the first "to speak of the suffering of the world, which visibly and glaringly surrounds us, and of confusion, passion, evil -- all those things which...others hardly seemed to notice and always tried to resolve into all-embracing harmony and comprehensibility." (Jung, p. 69)

We see in Schopenhauer's Sun conjunct Saturn (especially in its conjunction with the global midheaven) the root of his projection of the shadow onto nature, the sense of life as burden, his inner stuckness and an anti-Romantic Saturnian naturalism interlaced with a Piscean quasi-mystical irrationalism. In his emotionally reactive Cancerian Mars conjunct the Ascendant in strong and unapologetic trine to the Sun/Saturn, we see his argumentative, combative, irascible and difficult personality (amplified by a square of Mars to a fiesty Venus in Aries which it disposits in the social 11th). Here are the roots of both a powerful self assertion and an instinct for self control passing into a condition of self negation as a release from his own compulsive and insatiable striving. For the Piscean type, a strong Saturnian influence such as Saturn in Pisces and/or conjunct the Sun, symbolizes a tension between the need for a sharp, defined, precise and concrete affirmation of self and a threatened dissolution of self, a blurring of clarity, a loss of grounding. Although the Piscean essence marks the soul of a Romantic or ecstatic mystic, there is, with the addition of Saturn, an overcompensatory denial. The emphatically atheistic and negative Schopenhauer could not accept the mystical as an ecstatic affirmation of a blissful transcendent dimension but only as a blessed release from the crushing force of individual manifestation, from the grinding wheel of samsara, the cycle of birth and death, "stretched on the revolving wheel of Ixion". (Works, p. 118).

For the Piscean Schopenhauer, poetry (i.e. poetic drama) was the highest form of literature, while music was the highest of the arts, an unmediated and most pure expression of the noumenal unconscious will. [3] Art is indeed that balance point between, on the one hand, the mystic void and self dissolution and, on the other, the heavy hand of mundane life. Schopenhauer affirmed in his writings that music and art provide a blessed though temporary reprieve from the pain of life, the pain of existing as a self, as a centre of relentless desire and striving. This he described as a temporary forgetting of the self. But the only true release was through the absolute negation of the will, of the self's desires -- like the ascetic renunciation of the saints, a quelling of the very desire for life, for continued existence. This could be achieved only through a certain sort of knowledge -- a knowledge of the nature of things the way that Schopenhauer and (as he thought) the Buddha realized -- the knowledge that "every biography is the history of suffering, for every life is, as a rule, a continual series of great and small the end of life, if a man is sincere and in full possession of his faculties, he will never wish to have it to live over again, but rather than this, he will much prefer absolute annihilation." (Works. p. 211).

According to Schopenhauer, only when we fully see that personal existence is nothing but a striving of the will to life which can never be satisfied, can we spontaneouly renounce our own self, our desire for life itself. At this point, consciousness, previously driven by the relentless force of a blind will has now become pure knowledge, a valid knowledge of the futile nature of things, and is thereby released from the crushing power of the will. Then when death comes as the ultimate annihilation of personal existence, it is no longer feared and resisted. In true Piscean fashion, deliverance comes when "the self, recognizing its ultimate identity -- as will -- with everyone and everything else, overcomes the egoistic fixation on its own individuality." (Zoller, p.37) From the elements of his own temperament, Schopenhauer projected a picture of the universal human being struggling for life and striving for an unattainable happiness doomed to certain frustration, the only possibility of happiness being a release from the relentless desires of the will. In a truly Saturnian 'the glass is half empty' fashion: " a constant hurrying of the present into the dead past, a constant dying....if we look at it from the physical side; it is clear that, as our walking is admittedly merely a constantly prevented falling, the life of our body is only a constantly prevent dying, an ever postponed death: finally, in the same way, the activity of our mind is a constantly deferred ennui. Every breath we draw wards off the death that is constantly intruding upon us." (Works. p. 197)

Life was simply too painful for Schopenhauer to endure even stoically (though stoicism is a usual option for Saturn). In emotionally vulnerable and hypersensitive Piscean fashion, "he loved animals, and his permanent sense of the reality behind the phrase 'nature red in tooth and claw' was like an unhealing wound: he actually felt the fact that at every single moment, in all the continents of the world, thousands of screaming animals are in the process of being torn to pieces alive." (Magee p.154) And as Saturn denotes age and experience often revealing a picture of life which is less than desirable: "We are all innocent to begin with, and this merely means that neither we nor others know the evil of our own nature: it only appears with the motives, and only in time do the motives appear in knowledge. Finally we come to know ourselves as quite different from what a priori we supposed ourselves to be, and then we are often terrified at ourselves." (Works. p.180)

The T-Square of the Moon and Mercury to Jupiter

Linked through the sign Pisces, another configuration emerges as profoundly formative -- a dynamic T-square formed by a Pisces Mercury opposed to a Virgo Moon in square to a focal twelfth house Jupiter in Gemini. Here is the philosophical and often expansively metaphysical Mercury square Jupiter aspect. (Hegel, the most intellectually expansive of the metaphysicians, too has the square). For one who thought that his philosophy would 'unveil the mystery of the world' (Copleston in Magee p.20), a powerfully confident Jupiter square Moon dares to generalize most ambitiously and passionately from the depths of his own subjectivity. Schopenhauer's multilingual proficiency and his highly organized, logical and highly accessible style of writing (in marked contrast to the convoluted and obscure prose of certain of his German contemporaries) is reflected by his Mercury in dynamic aspect to a meticulous Virgo Moon. Obscurantist or vague modes of expression would especially drive him to polemical rage. There was no one more maddening to Schopenhauer than the then renowned philosopher Hegel, whose conjunction of Mercury and Neptune fell on Schopenhauer's Virgo Moon and whom he felt moved to attack as "a commonplace, inane, loathsome, repulsive and ignorant charlatan, who with unparalled effrontery compiled a system of crazy nonsense that was trumpeted abroad as immortal wisdom by his mercenary followers, and was actually regarded as such by blockheads." (quoted in Magee. p.249). [4] Schopenhauer's Mercury/Moon oppositional dynamic can also be seen on a psycho-biographical level as reflecting the conflictual tension with his rather famous mother (a prominent hostess of salon life and a writer of popular novels) which ended in a permanent rift in the spring of 1814, perhaps laying the ground for his later spiteful misogyny giving an unfortunate expression to his Mars square Venus in Aries. [5]

The activation of the Virgo and Pisces archetypes reveals how Schopenhauer sought to express the interplay between the rational/conceptual and the ineffable/unknowable. In a Virgoian manner, he saw mind or thought as a pragmatic tool developed through the course of biological evolution for the purposes of effective survival rather than as characterizing the ultimate nature of things, or as providing a means by which ultimate reality might readily reveal itself. For Schopenhauer the ground of the rational (Virgo) is the non-rational (Pisces). The ground of reason is unreason; the ground of individual conscious rationality is universal unconscious irrationality, the universal or noumenal substratum lying 'behind' the phenomenal time/space universe which he named the will. But as said, he was no Romantic philosopher (understandably not, with Saturn on the Sun!): neither was he a simple naturalistic (Virgoian) scientist despite biological evolutionary theories as to the derivation of the intellect as a primarily adaptive instrument of survival -- insights which clearly anticipated Darwin. And despite his debt to Kant, he was no Enlightenment and liberal rationalist reducing everything to the autonomous and freely willing rational individual.

Schopenhauer's philosophy as rooted in Kant

In order to better appreciate the nature of Schopenhauer's philosophy and its reflection in his birth chart, we need to briefly situate him in relation to his principal progenitor and to the most important of his contempories. The philosophy of Schopenhauer is rooted in the thought of the eighteenth century German philosopher of the late Enlightenment, Emmanuel Kant. By the time of Kant, European philosophy from Descartes to Hume had reached an impass, in that logic had demonstrated that the natural universe revealed to us by Isaac Newton could by no means be demonstrated to possess a particular nature -- not even an existence -- independent of human experience. The very infrastructure of reality, the notion of the independent and continual existence of objects, the mechanically real processes of cause and effect, the fundamental coordinates of time and space -- all threatened to collapse into an anthropomorphic subjectivism, even an individual solpsism. [6]

To make a long and complex story short, Kant argued that the categories by which we describe the natural world, and predict the behaviour of its entities, are not random inventions of the human mind. Rather, nature is knowable and nature is as Newton had described it. But what we are referring to as nature is constituted by certain timeless inherent structures of our own perception by means of which we experience things (i.e. by means of our human perceptual 'glasses'). What these things ultimately are in themselves remains forever unknown to us. Kant thus made a fundamental distinction between the appearance of things-as-experienced and the existent, yet unknowable, nature of things-in-themselves: the phenomenal world and the noumenal worlds remain forever divided.

The attempt to address the philosophical problems raised by the Kantian division -- specifically, the attempt to articulate the nature of the unknowable noumenon -- gave rise to two distinct streams of German philosophy: the neo-Kantian school of absolute idealism embodied in Fichte, Schelling and Hegel and the philosophy of Schopenhauer. The most prominent of the idealist school -- Hegel -- Schopenhauer cast as his nemesis and, as we have glimpsed, became the target of many viciously polemical and ad hominem attacks. The synastry between these giants is revealing, for in addition to Hegel's Mercury/Neptune conjunction falling exactly on S's Virgo Moon (as we have seen), for Schopenhauer, Hegel's overly progressive optimism blissfully ignored the reality of evil and the obvious presence of suffering in the world -- Hegel's Sun was in close opposition to Schopenhauer's Sun/Saturn conjunction as well as H's Jupiter opposing S's Jupiter (the latter interaspect appropriately symbolizing their opposite yet still complementary philosophies).

The relationship of Schopenhauer to the neo-Kantians

For Hegel, reality is a gradual unfolding of Absolute Spirit, progressively awakening as the natural world from unconsciousness [7] and ultimately reaching its highest expressive fulfillment through human reason. This view overcame the Kantian duality by combining mind and matter, phenomenon and noumenon into one absolute and unfolding Spirit. This powerful idea of the ground of existence as a transcendent universal, as an absolute integration of the subjective and the objective, is I believe embodied in the symbol of the rare grand trine of the tranSaturnians (occurring approximately every 500 years) that occurred through the 1760's and 70's to be found in the birth charts of both Schelling and Hegel and the Romantics Holderlin, Novalis and the Schlegel brothers. [8] The grand trine of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto is a quintessential and most powerful symbol for the integral and metaphysically foundational wholeness of what we now call the transpersonal dimension (or in Jungian terms, the collective unconscious) which lies 'within', 'beneath' or 'behind' the apparent world. Embodying the principle of reason, Mercury is firmly entrenched in the grand trine of Uranus/Neptune/Pluto in the charts of both Schelling and Hegel where the idea of absolute and rational spirit achieves its clearest articulation. In Hegel's chart, Mercury is conjunct Neptune -- hence his particular obscurantist mode of expression. In Schelling, Mercury is conjunct Pluto in the same grand earth trine. Both thinkers saw mind, not as standing outside reality, but as constituting reality. They not only saw the ultimate 'noumenon' as inherently mind, consciousness and reason, but also believed that it was possible (and were strongly moved) to conceptually articulate that reality. It is in relation to these thinkers and to this historical trans-Saturnian formation that I think we can gain some understanding of Schopenhauer's contrary and antipathetic formulations.

When Schopenhauer was born (in the 1780's), Uranus (the out-of-step and contrary individualist) had moved along to break up and challenge the grand formation. However, S. too was born under a powerful grand trine now formed by Pluto, Neptune and Jupiter, a configuration which also symbolizes a grand metaphysical or ontological substratum. But now the planets denoting mind, consciousness, reason, and concept, namely, Uranus and Mercury, make challenging squares (or release points) to two points on the grand trine. [9] Although his grand trine is primal and foundational for Schopenhauer just as their grand trines are for Schelling and Hegel, the intellect is now held to be secondary and derivative -- in some way lying outside the absolute, not an inherent feature of it as in the charts of Schelling and Hegel.

In fact, we see that Schopenhauer's psyche and his philosophy is marked by a foundational duality between will and intellect. Not only is Schopenhauer opposed to Hegel's enthronement of reason as the essence of the absolute, but he maintains that Hegel (and the other idealists) simply got rid of the most important of Kant's insights; namely, the assertion of the independently existing and unknowable noumenon. Allegedly, Hegel is consequently left only with the phenomena and has not achieved the synthesis that he has claimed. Schopenhauer believed that he himself had at least been able to articulate the nature of the noumenon more adequately than Kant [10] and did so by pointing inward to our immediate and privileged experience of our own bodies and the activity of our wills in embodied action. [11] This is aptly symbolized by the intellectual T-square pointing into the twelfth house to reveal the universal inner to be contacted within the personal inner. Although the nature of this noumenal and unconscious substratum (unlike the experience of our own willing) could not be known directly, Schopenhauer called it will rather than the more scientifically neutral and phenomenal term 'energy'. This is because (anticipating Freud) he attributed to it an unconscious intentionality and because it most immediately manifested as the individual will and the intentional activity of the body.

Even though the mind is seen by Schopenhauer as derivative, he asserted that the mind as pure knowledge can break free of the hold of the will to contemplate the world free of the press of the will -- this is the state of release and repose of which he speaks: "We are no longer the individual whose knowledge is subordinated to the service of its constant willing...but the eternal subject of knowing purified from will....Such a man...continues to exist only as a pure, knowing being, the undimmed mirror of the world. Nothing can trouble him more, for he has cut all the thousand cords of will which hold us bound to the world....He now looks back smiling and at rest on the delusions of this and its forms now pass before him as a fleeting illusion..." (Works pp231-232) But Schopenhauer's interpretations of his own deep experience do not ultimately make philosophical sense. As Hans-Johann Glock puts it, "there is an incompatibility between two Schopenhaurian ideas: on the one hand, the most desirable condition is one in which the will is denied and hence nothing is wanted; on the other, compassion -- an exercise of the will -- is essential to morality. Indeed, the very idea of the 'will turning against itself' is problematic, since such a denial of the will would itself have to be an act of the will." But as Glock further remarks, "since the cosmic will which constitutes the thing in itself is so quintessentially undesirable, it is difficult to see how the mystical experience of feeling at one with this will should provide a kind of moral salvation." (Glock, pp. 442-443)

Understanding the Grand Trine

Perhaps this apparent philosophical confusion shows that Schopenhauer's own metaphysical formulations were insufficient to adequately interpret and explicate his actual intuitive insights -- those genuinely higher states of being that he was, at least to some degree, capable of experiencing in moments of contemplative clarity. Although I would argue that the grand trine constitutes Schopenhauer's experiential intuition and interpretative vision of the noumenal and universal will, it is Pluto more precisely which best captures the primitive qualities he directly ascribes to this dimension of hidden and dark depths, often seen as malevolent and evil. [12] When we differentiate the facets of the grand trine, it is interesting to follow his own explication of the layers that allegedly lie between the conscious self (including both the mind and the individual will) and the ultimate -- what I'm identifying as -- the Plutonian level.

Much to the chagrin of many philosophical critics, Schopenhauer appears to make a rather ad hoc and unexpected use of Plato's concept of eternal archetypes as a mediating dimension between the unconscious universal level and the individual. These archetypal Platonic 'Ideas' which exist prior to manifestation and concept are clearly represented by Jupiter. [13] Jupiter marks the point on the grand trine which, as the apex of the concretely manifesting T-square, connects most directly with the individual mind -- namely, Mercury opposite the Moon. The ontological substratum he characterized as will can be ultimately symbolized by the trine from Pluto to the focal and philosophical Jupiter (S's mediating archetypal level) while the concrete individual manifestation of will is appropriately symbolized by the rising Mars trine the Sun. Moving in the other direction from the manifest to the noumenal; if we follow from the individual mind (Mercury/Moon) across the dualistic boundary to the Platonic Idea (Jupiter) we may then continue along either of two paths -- toward Pluto, or toward Neptune.

Moving along the trine from Jupiter to Pluto, we experience the overwhelming power and force of the primal will. Conversely, as we move back from Pluto through the Platonic Jupiter manifesting through the T-square into individual embodiment, we have an apt symbol of the precise process described by Schopenhauer. On the other hand, moving along the trine from Jupiter to Neptune we reach that point of release through music and more deeply through a contemplative surrender of the will. This Neptunian dimension is experienced by Schopenhauer almost as an alternative to the phenomenal realm of nature, nature which manifests directly from the Will (Pluto) through the Platonic Idea (Jupiter). Schopenhauer claims that music in its relation to the will is not mediated through the Platonic idea but actually represents a more immediate manifestation of the will. This unmediated relation of music to the will is appropriately symbolized by the direct Neptune/Pluto connection: "Music is as direct an objectification and copy of the whole will as the world itself, nay, even as the Ideas, whose multiplied manifestation constitutes the world of individual things. Music is thus by no means like the other arts, the copy of the Ideas, but the copy of the will itself, whose objectivity the Ideas are." (Works p 150) Moira Nicholls (p185) maintains that there is evidence, given the influence of Eastern thought during the period between the earlier and later publications of The World as Will and Representation, which suggests that Schopenhauer was coming to the view that "the thing in itself is will only in one of its aspects." That is, in our language, he might have been coming closer to giving an equal ontological priority to Neptune as he did to Pluto which would then point to some sort of higher transcendent unity.

This threefold astrological picture best reflects Schopenhauer's nuanced differentiations of the universal substratum, with Pluto symbolizing the core of the noumenal will which is so relentless and diabolically all-powerful. These are the deepest sources of Schopenhauer's unique philosophical view. It is the Neptune dimension, first as poetic theatre, more deeply as music, then more deeply still as the surrender of the self -- the complete abnegation of the will's desire for life and existence itself -- which operates in resonance with his Piscean Sun and Saturn dissolving the resistant boundary and awakening him to a genuine mystical level which belies his darker theory. With Mercury and Uranus square to the grand trine as mediating the Sun/Saturn/Mars personal self's relation to the universal unconscious substratum, the vehicle of his personality was simply unable to carry the depths of his insight and transcendent experience and he would yet again fall back into his darker postulations.


[1]  Jul. 1, 1646, Leipzig. « Text

[2]  I consider the major hard aspects most decisive here, especially the conjunction. Bradley, Ortega y Gasset and Ayn Rand had out-of-orb conjunctions -- more than 9 degree orbs. Wittgenstein, Quine, Bosanquet, and Nietzsche had the square. Berkeley had an out-of-orb opposition. There are a number of philosophers with the trine or sextile as one might guess. « Text

[3]  The term noumenon (adjective -- noumenal) means the way that reality really is in itself independent from how it appears in experience. The will is Schopenhauer's carefully chosen term for this underlying noumenon. « Text

[4]  From Schopenhauer's Parerga and Paralipomena, p. i 96. « Text

[5]  Given the vagueness of the time of this relational schism with his mother (Magee p.11), only the action of the outermost planets can be broadly taken into account. Transiting Saturn was in opposition to natal Uranus: Transiting Neptune was opposed to natal Jupiter and square the natal Moon.
Concerning his misogyny: S's south node is closely conjunct the midpoint of his Moon and Venus suggesting the psychological hold of the past vis a vis the feminine and the maternal principle specifically. Also, Venus opposes the Moon/Neptune midpoint suggesting complexes around the issues of surrender and the numinous power of the personal feminine that he still struggled to control. This is probably the very reason that Schopenhauer could not better practice what he preached in terms of surrendering the ego, remaining angry and bitter, especially toward women. « Text

[6]  Solipsism -- an argument that we are trapped within our individual experience so we cannot be certain that anything exists beyond our experience of it. « Text

[7]  That is to say, what nature is, is nothing other than unconscious or 'sleeping' Spirit. « Text

[8]  General birth data -- no birth times given: Friedrich W. J. von Schelling, Jan. 27, 1775, Leonberg, Wurttemberg. George W. F. Hegel, Aug. 27, 1770, Stuttgart, Wurttemberg. (Also: Holderlin -- Mar. 20, 1770. Novalis -- May 2, 1772. A. W. von Schlegel -- Sept. 8, 1767. F. von Schlegel -- Mar. 10, 1772.) « Text

[9]  Rather than connected through a trine as would be the case with this configuration if there were closer orbs, Uranus and Mercury are connected through a rather troublesome sesquiquadrate, possibly symbolizing an 'out-of-stepness' with the prevailing view -- at loggerheads with it rather than being readily recognized as offering a creative or progressive alternative. « Text

[10]  To summarize S's philosophy as it goes beyond Kant: The universe we know including our own bodies and minds exists as the realm of phenomena dependent for its objective existence on the existence of the experiencing subject. But both the subject and the object are manifestations of the prior and fundamental noumenon, the "thing in itself" of Kant, which turns out to be the great and mysterious universal and entirely unkowable noumenon, the unversal Will. At death, individual consciousness is annihilated and falls back into the eternal but unconscious noumenal Will existing prior to space and time. « Text

[11]  This is a different and more immediate mode of perception than our experience of the outer world -- an important differentiation of the manifold of experience not addressed by Kant. Up to and including Kant, philosophers had tended to take sight, hearing and touch of outer objects on the one hand, and thinking on the other, as the full range of human experience which discloses 'reality'. Schopenhauer is anticipating the existentialists here. « Text

[12]  The close quincunx of Pluto with the Moon in S's chart suggests the intractable depths of personal pain and repression which darkly fed his view of the unconscious. In addition, it could symbolize a frustrated emotional connection with his mother who history paints, fairly or unfairly (generally critical of autonomous and strong women and always ready to blame the mother), as emotionally remote. « Text

[13]  The ninth principle (Sagittarius, Jupiter and the ninth house) is clearly the archetype of the Platonic Idea or Archetype itself, as I have discussed in my forthcoming book, In Search of the Philosopher's Stone. « Text


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Gerry Goddard: The Mystic and the Misanthrope: the Enigma of Arthur Schopenhauer
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