30 April 2014

Wherefore the Whole Scene of Horror?

Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Idea, tr. R. B. Haldane and J. Kemp, Vol. III (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1909), p. 112:
Yunghahn* relates that he saw in Java a plain far as the eye could reach entirely covered with skeletons, and took it for a battlefield; they were, however, merely the skeletons of large turtles, five feet long and three feet broad, and the same height, which come this way out of the sea in order to lay their eggs, and are then attacked by wild dogs (Canis rutilans), who with their united strength lay them on their backs, strip off their lower armour, that is, the small shell of the stomach, and so devour them alive. But often then a tiger pounces upon the dogs. Now all this misery repeats itself thousands and thousands of times, year out, year in. For this, then, these turtles are born. For whose guilt must they suffer this torment? Wherefore the whole scene of horror? To this the only answer is: it is thus that the will to live objectifies itself.
* This is an error in Haldane and Kemp's translation. It should read "Junghuhn" as in Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn (1809-1864), author of Java; Seine Gestalt, Pflanzendecke und Innere Bauart, tr. J. K. Hasskarl (Leipzig: Arnoldische Buchhandlung, 1857).