Life is Beautiful

Life is Beautiful

What is the Schopenhauer Method?

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Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher who lived in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In his most famous work, The World as Will and Idea, he expresses the idea that the will is a universal and omnipresent force, not something that belongs to the individual. He holds that this will is more important than the rational mind, though it is also the root of all suffering.

The use of Schopenhauer's ideas in the film is puzzling for several reasons. Guido misinterprets Schopenhauer's stress on the importance of the will to mean that the force of will is sufficient to create actions and manipulate one's surroundings. In fact, Schopenhauer's view is that life is aimless and painful; the will creates unhappiness and should be nullified if possible. It is ironic, then, that Guido uses the Schopenhauer Method with idealism and hope; he uses it to make Dora look at him when he is wooing her, and he uses it to save his son from discovery and death in the concentration camp. Some critics say that Schopenhauer's philosophies were part of the inspiration for the fascist regime, which makes Guido's use of the Schopenhauer Method to fight against fascism a deeply ironic move.