By Witold Gombrowicz

Witold Gombrowicz (1904-1969), novelist, essayist, and playwright, was once the most vital Polish writers of the 20th century. A candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1968, he was once defined by way of Milan Kundera as “one of the nice novelists of our century” and by way of John Updike as “one of the profoundest of the past due moderns.”
Gombrowicz’s works have been thought of scandalous and subversive by means of the ruling powers in Poland and have been banned for almost 40 years. He spent his final years in France instructing philosophy; this booklet is a chain of reflections in response to his lectures.
Gombrowicz discusses Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Sartre, and Heidegger in six “one-hour” essays and addresses Marxism in a shorter “fifteen-minute” piece. The text—a small literary gem jam-packed with sardonic wit, tremendous insights, and provocative criticism—constructs the philosophical lineage of his work.

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Extra resources for A Guide to Philosophy in Six Hours and Fifteen Minutes

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But for me, philosophy has THE SUPREME VALUE OF ORGANIZING THE WORLD IN A VISION. For example, there are the extremely grandiose Kantian and Hegelian universes, there is also Nietzsche’s, and it is there where Schopenhauer is important. Let us move from this vision of Schopenhauer to the Schopenhauerian world. This is the first time that philosophy touches life. What is the will to live for Schopenhauer? He himself says that he uses these words because nothing better comes to mind. In truth, it is more the will to be, because for Schopenhauer, not only do man and animals want to live, but also the rock that resists and the light that persists.

Now, a wall does not display the game of these forces, since each particle of the wall both resists and carries weight. While a cathedral façade shows these forces in action, since the columns resist and the capitals press down. We see the struggle between weight and resistance. He also explains to us why a twisted (curved) column does not satisfy us. Quite simply because it does not resist enough. In the same way, a rounded column is better than a square column. All this to tell you how Schopenhauer sees ART.

I kill my will to live within myself. This is what led Schopenhauer to Hindu philosophy and Eastern philosophy, which is exactly what promulgates meditation and the renunciation of life. It must be said that this thesis is rather artificial and that the part of his work devoted to eastern philosophy, on the World as Will and Representation, is the least convincing. Fifth Lesson Friday, May 2, 1969 Schopenhauer recognizes two possibilities: 1. To affirm the will to live by fully participating in life with its cruelties and its injustices.

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