By Fabrizio Ulivieri
Schopenhauer stayed in Florence in the year 1822. During that time we would like to think that it was given to him matter for his Philosophy of Will.
We know in fact that it became clear to him how wretched was the life of nobility in Florence and how much nobles were tormented and afflicted by boredom and pain. Life in Florence, according to Schopenahuer, was swinging like a pendulum, to and fro between pain and boredom.
Schopenhauer while living in Florence realized that Italy was a country of beautiful faces (women) and bad inclinations (also De Sade had already written in terms of bad inclinations about Florence – see FLORENCE OU LA DEPRAVATION DES MOEURS).
Schopenhauer reported that people in Italy (Florence) were endlessy cheerful, merry and healthy, which he attributed to the climate. For Schopenahuer Italians were ingenious, polite,crafty and they knew when to appear upright and honorable but at the same time they could be treacherous, dishonorable and shameless but in a way that you could forget your anger in astonishment. All in all the Italian character remained ungraspable and beguildering.
Schopenhauer was particularly impressed by a remark made by an Italian who said: “ Sir, you must have crerated something: I do not know which it is, but I see it in your face”. We can imagine how flattered he could have been hearing those words.
Schopenhauer had the chance to notice that one can live with Italy as one can live with a beloved in a violent quarrel today and in adoration tomorrow, while one lives with Germany as one lives with a housewife, without great anger and without great love.
Certainly Schopenhauer may have been reinforced by the Florentine experience in his vision about the way that the Will comes to the World and manifests in itself.
(From Schopenhauer A Biography by Davis E. Cartwright