After clogging up the top of my reading list for several months, I managed to get through The World as Will and Representation, on George's recommendation earlier on this thread. A lot of what I really liked about it was how...of its time it is - the intelligent and oddly-framed commentaries on contemporary science in particular. I don't know that I followed the machinery of his philosophy too well - I have a kind of idea what he means by will, and I have a kind of idea of what he means by motive, and I have to regularly look up other things. The pro-asceticism ending, though quite climactic, I just couldn't buy into it - I have emotionally subsisted on feelings of love for much of this year, and nothing seems more absurd, alien, or non-universal to me, than the idea that renouncing it will lead to anything better. That said, I've recorded quotes from many sections of the book. While I'm unlikely to reread it all, I do plan on looking over my notes about it again.
His talk about the various levels of will having a kind of independent existence (I got a sense that he viewed people as not emerging by chance from the random oscillations of atoms, but rather having a definite existence - in general the lack of a feeling of 'emergence' from his worldview, which is something that I take for granted in mine), reminded me a bit of G. Monbiot's current efforts at promoting Rewilding - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVSMgwFy2EQ
- the idea of trophic cascades making it clear that the idea of naive emergence may not be the most useful one, that maybe feedback and inter-reliance could be more useful.
Anyway, lots of food for thought, though still a great deal that I don't understand...
Thanks for the recommendation, GG