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by Simon King



Schopenhauer’s clock clanged, so he dragged himself out of bed. The morning hardly instilled him with optimism, but then hardly anything did. He had to wake up and resume his daily routine. Nothing could prevent his indefatigable will from accomplishing what he wanted to accomplish. He had mild back pain, but he could deny this pain because he wanted to start his day.

He had a room in a shared house. The staircase led to three rooms adjoining each other. The other residents sometimes talked outside his room, which filled him with anger. His room teemed with books – philosophy, of course, alongside books on religion, music and history. He had a desk underneath his voluminous book case, which teemed with reams of paper. His bed was on the other end of the room.

Schopenhauer had inherited a considerable fortune, so he lived off it. He had left academia several years earlier, which he did not regret in the slightest. That place was filled with insufferable charlatans like Hegel who spouted off their obscurantist jargon. Schopenhauer still boiled with anger when he reminisced as to how Hegel’s lectures were overcrowded with eager students whilst hardly anyone attended his own. Yes, but he himself knew that it was the fate of geniuses to be sidelined on the periphery of society whilst charlatans and mediocrities were rewarded.

He read his book, called The Upanishads. He was interested in Hindu religion. He liked how they extolled ascetics who recognises the good of the world through contemplation. He attains absolute freedom by denying the world and taking control of his own volition. He had read this book and all the passages were heavily underlined. His library also contained the complete works of Kant – also heavily underlined – as well as the complete works of Shakespeare, the Holy Bible and the complete works of Plato.  

It turned eleven in the morning, so he took out his flute from its case. He practised Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms. There was one voice from Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 which he practised endlessly. He practised every day, which made him quite accomplished, but still just an amateur nonetheless.

It turned one in the afternoon, so it was time for lunch. Schopenhauer sauntered over to the restaurant in the town centre to eat. He had a few activities left throughout the day – eat lunch, read a book, take a walk and finally read a newspaper over dinner.

He arrived at the restaurant and ordered steak, potatoes, gravy, cabbages and beetroot. The waiter had seen Schopenhauer for years, but the guest’s maudlin expression always put him off from initiating conversation with him.

The waiter eventually brought the dish over to Schopenhauer. He had his eyes fixed on the meal and he proceeded to slice it with the cutlery. As he devoured the meal, he looked up and saw a ghastly image appear in front of him – another human being. He had frizzy red hair, a black overcoat and smiled with gormless expression. Yes, Schopenhauer eventually recognised this ghastly individual, it was Fritz Bauer. He had been one of the students that attended his lectures well over a decade ago. He must have been in his early thirties now and, by the looks of things, had actively tried to seek him out.

‘Master… Master Schopenhauer,’ Fritz said, as his eyebrows rose.

‘What is it, Fritz,’ Schopenhauer groaned.

‘Well… I attended your lectures ten years ago,’ Fritz said.

‘Yes, yes, I know! You were there, two other people were there… and everyone else was attending the lectures of that monstrous Hegel!’ Schopenhauer bellowed. His voice echoed across the restaurant and its guests were startled. They all looked at the cranky old man with alarm.

‘Yes, I love The World as Will and Representation… I chose to go to your lectures over Hegel’s… Anyway, I have been working as a clerk at a bank recently. I recalled my student days studying philosophy… I wanted a bit of that excitement back, so I tried to find you,’ Fritz earnestly said.

‘I will tell you what, my silly boy,’ Schopenhauer roared. ‘Go, go away!’

‘But master Schopenhauer.’

‘And another thing, don’t call me master! I want to finish my meal, read a book, take a walk and read a newspaper over dinner at another restaurant. So I don’t want any of this human contact!’

‘Human contact? But I thought that you said that compassion was a good thing, a denial of the rapacious will...’ Fritz said, raising his hand.

Schopenhauer looked at him with a venomous stare. ‘I will tell you what, go away and leave me alone, you young twerp!’ He was by now shouting rather loudly and everyone in the restaurant had stopped talking. The manager came over to address the situation. He was bald, had a red moustache, he was portly and wore a monocle. ‘Is there an issue here?’

‘This young twerp won’t leave me alone! He came over to talk to me!’

‘Isn’t that within his rights, sir? Is he harassing you? Do you know each other?’ The manager asked.

Fritz smiled. ‘Oh yes, we do know each other. I attended his lectures at university several years ago. Sir, you do not realise that one your guests is one of the greatest minds that ever lived. He is one of the greatest philosophers of all time! And he comes in here every day! The greatest German idealist! Better than Kant!’ He said, waving his arms.

The manager grabbed his belly and raised his eyebrows. ‘Oh really? Anyway, would you mind keeping your voices down, it is alarming our other guests.’ He turned around and walked away.

‘It was great to see you again, master Schopenhauer,’ Fritz said. Again, he gormlessly smiled and walked out of the restaurant. Schopenhauer remained unmoved by the incident and finished his meal. After all, he had not finished his daily routine yet.



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