Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness - Schopenhauer on Love

People tend to think that love is one of the most direct ways to achieve happiness. German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, in an account that has a striking resemblance to modern evolutionary theory, believed that the love/happiness relationship is an illusion created by the veil of Maya, i.e. Mother Nature, in its attempt to get us to reproduce and perpetuate the species. Of course, Schopenhauer might have a bit of a hard time explaining the picture on the side, but I'm sure he would enjoy it :)

Although Schopenhauer's account is teleological, whereas evolutionary theory isn't, the underlying idea in both cases is that we are fooled and deceived, whether by nature as Schopenhauer believed, or by our genes as someone like Dawkins could argue, into viscerally believing that having children is good for us. A moment of sober reflection shows that it is not, to be sure, but we now know that our brains and bodies are flooded with hormones and endorphins, most notably oxytocin, that turn the object of our affection, whatever character traits he or she might actually possess, into a beautiful, fascinating, charming, unique individual, just long enough to produce offspring and reallocate that love and affection unto the next generation.

In the end, the goal is not our happiness but the perpetuation of the species. The prospect of our happiness is simply the temporary trap nature employs in order to fool us into creating those who will eventually replace us :)



Alain de Botton is not wasting any time, is he?

Click here to watch all the other episodes of this nice documentary series.
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