Schopenhauer was a German philosopher who built on Kant’s ground-breaking work on human consciousness. He explored the nature of spirit, motivation and existence within our perception of space and time. His philosophy offers some intriguing perspectives on the beginnings of our universe, with its implications on belief, matter and the ongoing state of the expanding universe.
Will as a Force
Schopenhaur’s primary work, “The World as Will, and Presentation” (or Idea, or Representation depending on which translation you encounter) constructs a theory around the motivation of behaviour and forward momentum in all beings, and all matter, one that requires no emotion, sensation, or prime entity, but simply ‘is’. It offers a solution to such questions ‘what happened before the Big Bang? Who or what caused it? And why can’t we see or prove what it was? Essentially, these questions do not require an answer because they are redundant to the ‘Is-ness’ of the universe, its motion and progress, its origins and destination, all of which can be encompassed in the simple, colossal state of existence in and of itself.
For Schopenhauer phenomenon in and of the universe (the thing as it appears to an observer), and noumenon (Kant’s ‘thing itself’) are simultaneous manifestations, rather than one occurring as a consequence of the other. They are, and encompass one another, so do not require an initial, or prime state. The force as described by him as ‘Will’ is unknowable, it is an ineluctable, ‘blind’ force which resides in all phenomenon, motivating the nominal world (‘the thing itself’) and humankind’s desire (at a species level) to strive and survive. Will does not have an observable purpose, and can not be described in terms of conscious thought or form, because it simply ‘is’. A complex combination of materials and resources informs the growth of organic and inert matter throughout the universe, but the nature of Will provides the blind motivation, promoting perpetual cycles of needs and need satisfactions as tools for survival and growth.
Strictly in the context of its influence on the fiction of Jake Jackson’s These Fantastic Worlds Schopenhauer’s Will is important because it provides for an unstoppable force at the pinpoint origin of the Big Bang to the limits of the ever expanding universe.
Dark Matter and Other Influences
In modern cosmology the fundamental force identified now as dark matter is understood to occupy 75% of the universe. It appears it be responsible for the expansion across the space time region and as such, can be seen through the lens Schopenhauer’s Will. Einstein, a 100 years later, identified the need for dark matter, using what he called a cosmological constant to balance the energies in the system to make his Theory of Relativity work, but Schopenhauer’s observations also helps us to analyse the prevalence of the mathematical equation Phi, the driving calculation behind the Fibonacci Sequence, the Golden Ratio found in so many observable phenomena, from living organisms, plants and trees, shells, weather systems, and the movement of galaxies. The effect of Schopenhauer’s Will is long and slow, defying other fundamental forces such as gravity, winding all life and matter ever outwards.
Schopenhauer also explored the thinking of Eastern Philosophies such as Hinduism and Buddhism, where cycles of renewal and reincarnation are essential, balancing energy conservation across the great network of systems in and around the universe. And this brings us to Being not Being the duality which both balances and drives the universe.
The mix of religion, philosophy, mathematics myth and the subtle power of forward momentum in all things sits behind the action of the sf and fantasy fiction of Jake Jackson’s fothcoming SF and fantasy series, These Fantastic Worlds, particularly in Fibonacci Rising, Fireflies on a Distant Planet, and many of the short stories of Hunter and Bain.