Schopenhauer and the insatiable will to live

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The perpetual battle between predator and prey in nature is a display of a gruesome will, a will-to-live at the ground of all things. While the bloody mess we see when a tiger catches its prey suggests no hint of compassion, humans can consciously deny our will and seek to reduce the Sisyphean suffering of the world, writes Robert Wicks. We may be all too familiar with roses as a rule, but it remains intriguing to look at a beautiful rose and wonder what forces, or perhaps intelligence, led its stem to be studded with protective thorns that say to the observer, “keep your distance.”  There are insects whose form is virtually indistinguishable from twigs and leaves, flowers that look like bumble bees and birds of paradise, and plants whose leaves have transformed into traps that catch and digest flies.  Observing the movements of an axolotl – a kind of salamander that looks like a fish with legs – can be the occasion for endless fascination and speculation abou…

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