Saturday, July 16, 2005

Shopping horror: A Rant

Very pained. Just tried buying some Schopenhauer from Amazon. Did you know that they don't have a single collected works available? All they have is:

a) Volume 1 of The world as Will and Idea (great! what do I do for the next volume? trawl for it in seedy Soho bookshops? Or just assume that the butler did it?)
b) an ABRIDGED version of The World as Will and Idea (what? did they put illustrations in it for the children? and take out all the difficult words?)
c) A couple of selected works (including one execrable thing called Schopenhauer in 45 minutes - if you hang the idiot who wrote that, how long do you think it would take him to die?)
d) A few of the individual essays scattered about (which means I'm now going to have to buy the damn things individually)

What sort of world do we live in where bubblegum tripe like Harry Potter is available from every third-rate e-marketer around, but I can't get something as simple as the collected works of Schopenhauer? Has quality and intelligence been completely replaced by commercial interest? Is everything just marketing now? If ever there was a case for Schopenhauer's pessimism about the world, this is it.

Don't know what I'm more upset by - the world's apparent indifference to one of the greatest philosophers of all time, or the fact that even Amazon has finally betrayed me. I mean in a world where there's no God anyway, who can you trust in if you can't trust in Amazon? Can feel the foundations of civilisation crumbling.

At any rate am depressed. Have this Shelley poem running through my head:

Rough Wind, that moanest loud
Grief too sad for song;
Wild wind, when sullen cloud
Knells all the night long;
Sad storm, whose tears are vain,
Bare woods, whose branches strain,
Deep caves and dreary main,
Wail, for the world's wrong!

P.S. Incidentally, think Schopenhauer is amazing (just in case you hadn't figured that out already). Can't imagine why I haven't read him before (what was I thinking?). My key epiphany for the day:

The optimist is someone who expects the glass to be filled to the brim, so is disappointed when he finds it's only half full; the pessimist is someone who thinks there is no reason for there to be water in the glass at all, so he's pleasantly surprised to find it only half empty.

1 comment:

VTwinWheels said...


I unde3rstand what you mean. Most of what I look for in our bookstores seem to be available as some special order gig. I'd think in Philly, you'd at least have a better shot at finding stronger, philosophical works. It's a pain.