The Philosophy of Despair
Free

The Philosophy of Despair

By David Starr Jordan
Free
Book Description

"The excerpt of a poem that appears at the beginning of this book (Edward Fitzgerald's exquisite version of the Rubāʻiyāt of Omar Khayyám) is perhaps our best expression of the sadness and the grandeur of insoluble problems. It is the sweetness of philosophical sorrow which has no kinship with misery or distress. In the strains of the saddest music the soul finds the keenest delight. The same sweet, sorrowful pleasure is felt in the play of the mind about the riddles which it cannot solve. In the presence of the infinite problem of life, the voice of Science is dumb, for Science is the coordinate and corrected expression of human experience, and human experience must stop with the limitations of human life. Man was not present "When the foundations of the Earth were laid, " and beyond the certainty that they were laid in wisdom and power, man can say little about them. Man finds in the economy of nature "no trace of a beginning; no prospect of an end!" He may feel sure, with Hutton, that "time is as long as space is wide." But he cannot conceive of space as actually without limit, nor can he imagine any limiting conditions. He cannot think of a period before time began, nor of a state in which time shall be no more. The mind fails before the idea of time's eternal continuity. So time becomes to man merely the sequence of the earthly events in which he and his ancestors have taken part. Though the meaning of time, space, existence lies beyond our reach, yet some sort of solution of the infinite problem the human heart demands. We find in life a power for action, limited though this power may be. Life is action, and action is impossible if devoid of motive or hope. It is my purpose here to indicate some part of the answer of Science to the Philosophy of Despair. Direct reply Science has none. We cannot argue against a singer or a poet. The poet sings of what he feels, but Science speaks only of what we know. We feel infinity, but we cannot know it, for to the highest human wisdom the ultimate truths of the universe are no nearer than to the child. Science knows no ultimate truths. These are beyond the reach of man, and all that man knows must be stated in terms of his experience. But as to human experience and conduct, Science has a word to say. Therefore Science can speak of the causes and results of Pessimism. It can touch the practical side of the riddle of life by asking certain questions, the answers to which lie within the province of human experience. Among these are the following: Why is there a "Philosophy of Despair?" Can Despair be wrought into healthful life? In what part of the Universe are you and what are you doing?" (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).

Table of Contents
  • The Philosophy of Despair
  • by
  • David Starr Jordan
    • To John Maxson Stillman In Token of Good Cheer
  • The Philosophy of Despair
    • The Bubbles of Sáki.
    No review for this book yet, be the first to review.
      No comment for this book yet, be the first to comment
      You May Also Like
      Life's Enthusiasms
      Free
      Life's Enthusiasms
      By David Starr Jordan
      Eric's Book of Beasts
      Free
      Eric's Book of Beasts
      By David Starr Jordan
      Eric's Book of Beasts
      Free
      Eric's Book of Beasts
      By David Starr Jordan
      California and the Californians
      Free
      California and the Californians
      By David Starr Jordan
      Also Available On
      App store smallGoogle play small
      Categories
      Curated Lists
      • Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning (Information Science and Statistics)
        by Christopher M. Bishop
        Data mining
        by I. H. Witten
        The Elements of Statistical Learning: Data Mining, Inference, and Prediction
        by Various
        See more...
      • CK-12 Chemistry
        by Various
        Concept Development Studies in Chemistry
        by John Hutchinson
        An Introduction to Chemistry - Atoms First
        by Mark Bishop
        See more...
      • Microsoft Word - How to Use Advanced Algebra II.doc
        by Jonathan Emmons
        Advanced Algebra II: Activities and Homework
        by Kenny Felder
        de2de
        by
        See more...
      • The Sun Who Lost His Way
        by
        Tania is a Detective
        by Kanika G
        Firenze_s-Light
        by
        See more...
      • Java 3D Programming
        by Daniel Selman
        The Java EE 6 Tutorial
        by Oracle Corporation
        JavaKid811
        by
        See more...