Beyond Will and Worry - Finding Schopenhauer in a Child’s Smile

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I was on the road longer than I had hoped this trip, flipping through old photos alone in a hotel. As one does when you are lonely and philosophical, you think about German philosophers, right?

Schopenhauer eloquently outlined that “aesthetic pleasure in the beautiful consists, to a large extent, in the fact that, when we enter the state of pure contemplation, we are raised for the moment above all willing, above all desires and cares; we are, so to speak, rid of ourselves.”

Schopenhauer’s notion of aesthetic pleasure offers me a comforting reminder: amidst the whirlwind of responsibilities, there are moments of profound beauty and transcendence, waiting to be realised and adored. These moments, fleeting as they may be, provide a respite, a rejuvenating break from the “will”, and a reminder of the incredible journey that is parenting.

Looking through old photos of Ada, I find myself more disconnected from the moments, captivated purely by that moment of reprieve from “will.” In my earlier life, I thought Schopenhauer was singularly referring to art or nature, but in reality, had Schopenhauer been a father, it would have been that. There is no way the quote above could be attributed to anything more than a smiling, happy daughter.