When young Oskar entered the room where the defenestrated Arthur Schopenhauer lay, he had to accustom his eyes to the gloom as the wide window had been closed by criss-crossed wooden planks. The only light that illuminated the place came from the flame of a candle that was on the patient’s bedside table.
-Good afternoon, Mr. Schopenhauer. I think you have already been notified of my visit, so …
– Are you the one Oskar?
-Oskar Gershhstein, at you service.
– What’s your interest in knowing me? Don’t lie!
-Well … I’ve heard many people talking about you …
-So I’m famous, huh? And to what do I owe my fame? And don’t tell me to my books because I haven’t written any yet. But I plan to write them. I have a very clear notion of the Truth in my head.
-Can I ask what notion is that, sir?
Then Schopenhauer proceeded to make a summary of his philosophy. In that early period of his life, he was already heavily influenced by the Hindu religion. Particularly successful seemed to him the representations of gods with multiple arms. He thought that the biggest problem of the human being was that he lacked enough arms. Seven was an ideal number, although he would prefer to have eight arms, just in case. He had considered a higher figure, up to twenty-one arms, but in the end it seemed to him excessive, mostly because they would not fit in the torso. And having arms in the legs seemed to him like an aberration, “because one limb can not be the support of another.” He also told Oskar about the great Hindu epic poems, such as the Mahabharata. The Romantics would never write a poem of such excellent quality. He was impatient for someone to translate the poem into German so that he could read it and know what it was about. Although he had his suspicions: judging by its calligraphy, he deduced that it had to do with the hilly transfer of a beehive from Boston through all of China to Berlin. Also a pot of mayonnaise was involved. He intuited that, in the end, all the characters ended up smeared with mayonnaise. In any case, it did not have a happy ending. Schopenhauer hated happy endings because they seemed false to him, a mere act of the will. And the will was for him the devil. The endings, as well as the starts and the middle parts had to be sad to be credible. An author could only afford a little joy at the time of the death of his protagonist.
-As you see, young man, my notion of the Truth is totally opposite to that of your friends. Those idealistic fools … You must also be one of them. A Romantic, right?
-Indeed, sir. And frankly I dislike you talking about them in those terms.
-Do you dislike it? And do you think I like being immobilized here?!
-I understand that it could have been avoided.
-Oh yeah? Tell me how!
-Well, not jumping out the window.
At this point, Schopenhauer got infuriated:
-Do you think I jump out the window for fun?! Do you think I have that hobby?! Do you know how painful it’s to be stamped on the ground and that all your teeth are skipped? Jumping through the window was a moral obligation in those circumstances! There were people with wrong opinions! The Truth required someone to make a sacrifice for Her!
-Couldn’t refute those opinions with arguments?
-Jumping through the window was the fastest and most effective method to refute them. You have no idea of how tiring it is to refute an opinion with arguments! I could have spent the entire day arguing and even then I wouldn’t have convinced them! Those romantic friends of yours are stubborn as mules! Jumping through the window saved me time.
-But now you have to face pain.
-Bah! Pain is just an illusion of the will. Suppress your will and you’ll suppress the pain.
-Then it does not hurt?
-You ask if it hurts! Do I look like I’m having a blast?! I have nine broken bones and bruises all over my body! I can only eat soup and mash! Do you think that’s a pleasant situation?!
-As you just said that pain is just an illusion …
-That’s the theory, boy! You have to learn to differentiate between theory and practice. The theory is very nice in the abstract. But go and put it into practice! Then you’ll find out what’s what!
-Well, I have to go. It has been a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Schopenhauer.
Young Oskar got up from the chair where he had been sitting and went to the door. Suddenly, he stopped upon hearing the imperious order of Schopenhauer:
-Above all, don’t let that witch read you the palm of your hand!