come in contact with his work. This was a period when Schopenhauer’s philosophywas all the rage, and the voice of a whole generation that was badly bruised by war and poverty.
Arthur Schopenhauer – with the epigrammatic punch and elegant style whichset him off from his academic and professional colleagues in philosophy – was the most widely read and influential in the Vienna of the 1890s.
Yet, Freud had no recollection of this man’s philosophy regardless of the fact thathis friends, colleagues, and neighbors were very much interested in the “sage of Frankfurt”. Apparently, it was only until years later that Freud read
The World asWill and Representation
and acknowledges that Schopenhauer is in many cases theoriginal voice of which his is only the echo. Nevertheless, this bump bounces manyscholars right off the road.Why stop short at petty concerns? No matter what side one takes on thisissue, I think it is undeniable that the synthesis of these two works yields some veryremarkable discoveries. More so, in Freud’s case, which unattached fromSchopenhauer’s philosophy is merely a surface show of concepts without anyfoundation or ground, in effect, a mere shell without the kernel
. The combinationof these systems gives the reader a chance to trace the roots of psychoanalysis, downdeep into the rich, fecund, soil of Schopenhauer’s philosophy. In order to do this,the shell needs to be cracked and then reattached around the kernel. As a result,Freud’s work not only takes on new meaning, but also gains support from one of theonly complete metaphysical systems of all time. Due to lack of space and the scopeof the essay, I am only able to chip off and attach several large pieces of the shell
Allan Janik and Stephen Toulmin, Wittgenstein’s Vienna. (New York: Touchstone Book, 1973) 164.
Schopenhauer frequently refers to the metaphor of the “shell and kernel”.2