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The Philosophy of Despair

By Jordan, David Starr

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Book Id: WPLBN0000006784
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 0.5 MB
Reproduction Date: 2005
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Title: The Philosophy of Despair  
Author: Jordan, David Starr
Language: English
Subject: Literature, Literature & thought, Writing.
Collections: Classic Literature Collection
Publication Date:
Publisher: World Ebook Library


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Jordan, D. S. (n.d.). The Philosophy of Despair. Retrieved from

This poem of Omar and of Fitzgerald is perhaps our best expression of the sadness and the grandeur of insoluble problems. It is the sweetness of philosophical sorrow which has no kinship with misery or distress. In the strains of the saddest music the soul finds the keenest delight. The same sweet, sorrowful pleasure is felt in the play of the mind about the riddles which it cannot solve. In the presence of the infinite problem of life, the voice of Science is dumb, for Science is the coordinate and corrected expression of human experience, and human experience must stop with the limitations of human life. Man was not present When the foundations of the Earth were laid, and beyond the certainty that they were laid in wisdom and power, man can say little about them. Man finds in the economy of nature no trace of a beginning; no prospect of an end! He may feel sure, with Hutton, that time is as long as space is wide. But he cannot conceive of space as actually without limit, nor can he imagine any limiting conditions. He cannot think of a period before time began, nor of a state in which time shall be no more. The mind fails before the idea of time's eternal continuity. So time becomes to man merely the sequence of the earthly events in which he and his ancestors have taken part. Even thus limited it is sadly immortal, while man's stay on the earth is but of few days and full of trouble. Oh, but the long, long while this world shall last! or as the grim humorist puts it, we shall be a long time dead....

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