PDA

View Full Version : Who Was That Arab Philosopher That Decided Life Was Pointless?


ralph124c
07-25-2011, 02:54 PM
I think Mark Twain mentioned him in one of his essays. Anyway, as I recollect, this man wrote down a list of all that bad things that could happen to a man. He then made a similar list of all the good things. The number of bad things outweighed the good, so he concluded that hope was irrational, and it would have been better had man never been created.
Anybody know?
I'm quite sure such a POV would have been unpopular with Islamic scholars-so what happened to the guy?

Asympotically fat
07-25-2011, 03:07 PM
Was it the great al-Bundy?:dubious:

Chronos
07-25-2011, 03:10 PM
I don't know about the Arab philosopher you're describing, but the Jewish philosopher Quoholeth (who might have been Solomon) had a similarly stark view of the world. "Vanity of vanities, everything is vanity, and there is nothing new under the Sun."

Ronald C. Semone
07-25-2011, 07:46 PM
I wouldn't take seriously anything Mark Twain said. ( And I love Mark Twain.)

Shmendrik
07-25-2011, 08:39 PM
The Talmud arrives at that exact conclusion, but then adds that since Man has been created, he might as well make the most of it.

Autolycus
07-25-2011, 10:22 PM
Was it the great al-Bundy?:dubious:

Of course not. Rather, it was the illustrious al-Bert Camus.

Der Trihs
07-25-2011, 10:35 PM
Abdul Alhazred (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdul_Alhazred)?

Anyway, as I recollect, this man wrote down a list of all that bad things that could happen to a man. He then made a similar list of all the good things.
Good: Go mad, get eaten first.

Bad: Go mad, watch everyone else get eaten, get eaten last.

kaltkalt
07-26-2011, 08:59 PM
I'm quite sure such a POV would have been unpopular with Islamic scholars-so what happened to the guy?

He was stoned to death and his head was chopped off. Proving his point....

Peanuthead
07-26-2011, 11:21 PM
Of course not. Rather, it was the illustrious al-Bert Camus.

Or maybe that great philosopher al-Fred E. Neuman :p

CalMeacham
07-27-2011, 03:14 PM
I think Mark Twain mentioned him in one of his essays.

It's almost certainly not what you have in mind, but i just learned from reading the newly-releaased first volume of Mark Twain's Autobiography that he originally planned to use as an epigraph two stanzas from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Largely because of Edward Fitzgerald's 19th century translation*, Khayyam was seen as a somewhat nihilistic philosopher who thought that life was essentially pointless and that we ought to enjoy it while we can. You know -- the most famous quote from it (not Twain's) is "A Loaf of Bread, a jug of Wine, and Thous beside me in the Wilderness is Paradise Enow." It think a lot of 19th century intelligentsia liked the idea of a Muslim poet who could still knock back a jug of wine, because it really didn't mean anything.


Except, of course, that that's a mischaracterization of Khayyam's feelings, and Fitzgerald did more than merely translate, re-arranging the verses, and many other comments. As far as I know, Khayyam didn't make lists of the Good and Bad tThings In Life and compare them. On the other hand, he was a mathematician and Natural Philosopher (IBM's Mathematica exhibit puts him up on their timeline of mathematicians.) I strongly suspect that he didn't think life was pointless, although I could see how someone might think so.

Chronos
07-27-2011, 03:18 PM
What, him worry?

Infoseeker
07-27-2011, 08:39 PM
I'm quite sure such a POV would have been unpopular with Islamic scholars-so what happened to the guy?

The real old Islamic scholars of multi-talented backgrounds had no problem, translating, reading, and discussing these philosophies. A lot of Greek, roman abandoned philosophy books (and many many other genre books) were recovered and translated by the early Islamic empire scholars and brought to the modern world; escaping the neglect of the medieval Europeans. As well as evading being burned by the church.

It is only self-claimed Islamic scholars that are uncomfortable with Philosophy (and thus also the general populace) that try to avoid digging too far unprepared. Like poetry, it can be food to the soul. But......Philosophy needs to be a deep hobby or it can really screw you in the head; especially, it needs to be taught in a certain order. Jumping haphazardly into first reading Friedrich and about nihilism is a recipe for disaster.

Lust4Life
07-28-2011, 02:19 PM
His name was Al Existential.