15 January 2013

A Clumsy Experiment

Arthur Schopenhauer, "On Suicide," Essays of Arthur Schopenhauer, tr. T. Bailey Saunders (New York: A. L. Burt, 1892), p. 404:
Suicide may also be regarded as an experiment — a question which man puts to Nature, trying to force her to an answer. The question is this: What change will death produce in a man’s existence and in his insight into the nature of things? It is a clumsy experiment to make; for it involves the destruction of the very consciousness which puts the question and awaits the answer.
Alfred Tennyson, The Two Voices, lines 229-240:
I said, “I toil beneath the curse,
But, knowing not the universe,
I fear to slide from bad to worse.

“And that, in seeking to undo
One riddle, and to find the true,
I knit a hundred others new:

“Or that this anguish fleeting hence,
Unmanacled from bonds of sense,
Be fix’d and froz’n to permanence:

“For I go, weak from suffering here:
Naked I go, and void of cheer:
What is it that I may not fear?”