But not all religion is the of self or of life; and Schopenhauer is conspicuously unsympathetic with religions, like Judaism and Islâm (or, for that matter, Confucianism and Taoism), that do not maintain the level of world-denial that he thinks necessary for "true" holiness.
The battlefields in World War I, where nothing green grew and human flesh and body parts were blended with the mud, was an experience and, doubtlessly, a smell that, surprisingly, drove no more than a few soldiers insane.
Samuel Moore, Edward Aveling, trans.
If we were to conduct the most hardened and callous optimist through hospitals, infirmaries, operating theatres, through prisons, torture-chambers, and slave-hovels, over battlefields and to places of execution; if we were to open to him all the dark abodes of misery, where it shuns the gaze of cold curiosity, and finally were to allow him to glance into the dungeon of Ugolino where prisoners starved to death, he too would certainly see in the end what kind of a world is this .
Adolf Hitler never boasted of Auschwitz.
He knew of the slaughter at Waterloo, but not of Shiloh or Antietam, let alone the Somme or Verdun -- and we wonder if he ever saw anything of Goya's "Disasters of War" (), despite their being done in his time (1810-1820).
What stands over and above objects is something else.
In World War II, of course, what the Germans did in their concentration and extermination camps set a standard for cruelty, inhumanity, horror, and evil that has actually been matched with some regularity in subsequent history, for instance in or .
For Berkeley that was only God.
In our own day, Islamic are advancing the nightmare in their own unique ways, proudly selling into sex slavery and beheading or immolating hostages on videos subsequently distributed for the edification of the faithful.
For Schopenhauer it was the Will as thing-in-itself.
It is rare for philosophers to notice these events, unless their religious or significance is of concern, or the writers have some particular political axe to grind.
The thing-in-itself turns out to be will.
Even philosophers upon whom Schopenhauer did have a strong effect, like and even , nevertheless could not put him to good use since they did not accept his moral, aesthetic, and religious realism -- and either didn't notice or didn't care about the horrors emphasized by Schopenhauer (which is curious with Wittgenstein, since he was actually a soldier in World War I -- we never hear any reflections on this experience -- and who lived to learn, safe in England, of what the Germans had been doing during World War II).
Book IV of is also about the will, but now in terms of the .
The "dungeon of Ugolino" is where Count Ugolino della Gherardesca (d.1289), his sons Gaddo and Uguccione, and his grandsons Nino and Anselmuccio, having fallen to the politics of , were left to starve to death on the orders of Ruggieri degli Ubaldini, Archbishop of Pisa.