Schopenhauer’s Morning Rituals
“Life is a business that does not cover the costs.”
Throughout his life, Schopenhauer spent most of his mornings hung-over at coffee shops.
Coffee in the morning, liquor in the evening.
Genius by day, junkie by night.
It was a Tuesday morning of the year 1814 in Gottingen; Schopenhauer arrives at Rotes Café and orders his regular Doppio without sugar. His black coffee, coat, and philosophy go well together. However, something was off that day, he could feel it in his gut, was it the bad weather? the bad Wi-Fi? or merely the state of being? He sat for hours at the coffee shop waiting for the hang-over to fade away and for his consciousness to arise. He starts to snooze on the chair; eventually the waiter comes and wakes him up with: “Sir, you have been sitting here for 3 hours without ordering another cup of coffee, would you like to have something?” Schopenhauer wakes up, his first instinct was to check his phone before replying to the waiter: “Okay, but why am I disconnected from the internet?” In which the waiter replies with: “Sir, the internet expires every hour; you have to keep ordering coffee, water, or whatever to take an internet pass for another hour.”
Schopenhauer with a disgusted look on his face responds to the waiter with a lecture on life and desires: “You know what; I must tell you that life presents itself as a continual deception, in small matters as well as in great. If it has promised, it does not keep its word, unless to show how little desirable the desired object was; hence we are deluded now by hope, now by what was hoped for. If it has given, it did so in order to take. The enchantment of distance shows us paradises that vanish like optical illusions, when we have allowed ourselves to be fooled by them. Accordingly, happiness lies always in the future, or else in the past, and the present may be compared to a small dark cloud driven by the wind over the sunny plain; in front of and behind the cloud everything is bright, only it itself always casts a shadow. Consequently, the present is always inadequate, but the future is uncertain, and the past irrecoverable. With its misfortunes, small, greater, and great, occurring hourly, daily, weekly, and yearly; with its deluded hopes and accidents bringing all calculations to naught, life bears so clearly the stamp of something that ought to disgust us that it is difficult to conceive how anyone could fail to recognize this, and be persuaded that life is here to be thankfully enjoyed, and that man exists in order to be happy. On the contrary, that continual deception and disillusionment, as well as the general nature of life, present themselves as intended and calculated to awaken the conviction that nothing whatever is worth our exertions, our efforts, and our struggles, that all good things are empty and fleeting, that the world on all sides is bankrupt, and that life is a business that does not cover the costs…”
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