Sunday, 5 July 2015

Schopenhauer's pen

Arthur Schopenhauer holding pen,
portrait photograph 1859
source: Wikipedia
I see my hand holding a pen just as I observe its movements and the letters appearing on the page. My hand is a representation just like everything in my visual field. But unlike other representations, which appear as surface phenomena, I have a unique experience of my hand, because I experience it from the inside, as it were. I experience my hand, my body, unlike other representations. The pressure I feel of the pen in my hand, the resistance I sense as the pen touches and moves on the page, the meaning I strive to express through the series of words appearing on the page, and the pain I feel as my hand clumsily slides across the edge of the paper, resulting in a paper cut on my hand and small drops of blood on the page, are toto genere different from my experience of the interior of my hand. And if I lacked these experiences of the interior of my hand, Schopenhauer would say, it would appear simply like the pen, letters, blood and paper. It would not be my hand, but simply another item in my visual field. 
Arthur Schopenhauer as youth, unknown artist
Source: Wikipedia
Schopenhauer consistently failed to write in a fashion that pleased his father, who constantly provided recommendations for improvement, such as avoiding fancy flourishes in his penmanship and observing capital letters more carefully. He advised Arthur to copy his mother's letters and to learn "to hold the pen in such a way that one can move it just with the fingers without moving the hand, and wield it lightly." This, he claimed, is the entire secret of writing with a good, clear hand. 

David Cartwright, Schopenhauer: A Biography, Cambridge University Press, p.302 and pp.41-2

Arthur Schopenhauer never developed a clear writing hand.

Read here about Schopenhauer's daily routine.

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