Clement Rosset sees Schopenhauer as a genealogist or genealogical philosopher which became the cornerstone of Nietzsche’s genealogical history of morality:
“The genealogical method is not analytical: it does not aim so much to dissociate the complex elements of a manifestation as to surprise, on the contrary, the secret of their symbiosis. It is resentment in morality that interests Nietzsche, not resentment as a primary cause from which the moral representations would be derived. The assertion of the moral man hides a negation: his genealogy will be, not to show the yes, then the no, but to grasp the passage in the favor of which the no expressed in yes. The ultimate design is not to seek in a hidden origin the why of a psychological manifestation, but to show how we go from one psychological level to another. Genealogical philosophy is inseparable from a thought of metamorphosis.”
-Clement Rosset: Schopenhauer, Philosophy of the Absurd
The genealogist seeks to know what is masked or repressed in thought rather than the thought itself. What does it hide in its affirmations? What is hidden under the surface in the unconscious depths of thought. In other words what is the power, modal aspects of the Will that remain unsaid, unknown in the evasions of thought. I think his critique and commentary on Schopenhauer’s impasse upon acknowledging the Will’s primacy over intellect is interesting:
“This thought of the report is entirely lacking in Schopenhauer. Between the will and the intellect there is no possible relationship: the domination of the will is such that it destroys its own dependencies and breaks, at the same time, any relationship with them. There is only one modality of the influence of the will on the intellect: its absolute determination. The will is not a complex plurality of forces, but a reservoir of common energy, a sort of “prime power” which spills indifferently in any individual creature. Schopenhauer does not push the analysis further before: the exclusive importance given to the will relegates in the inexhaustion its intellectual manifestations which, therefore, cease to interest it. Also the Schopenhauerian genealogy is, in some way, as soon as dead. After saying that the will commanded everything, including the intellect, Schopenhauer is cornered by an impasse: any phenomenon reflecting the same will, there is no reason to wonder about the particular expression of such or such , this certainly relating to an identical origin. The report of will to intelligence which reflects it appears as an undifferentiated scheme: it will never learn anything more than an equal submission to equal domination. Paradoxical consequence of the system: the will does not learn anything about intelligence. The transition from will to a particular form of intelligence is entirely drowned in the thought of the absolute primacy of the will. Also the demystification of consciousness, an essential enterprise of genealogical philosophy, is missed by Schopenhauer, precisely because the role of consciousness has been, not analyzed, but abolished, absorbed in the unequivocal influence of will. Consciousness loses all role, at the precise moment when the intuition of the primacy of the will would put Schopenhauer able to interpret this role. By reversing the terms of the report, Schopenhauer put too much zeal to subordinate intellectual functions: he made them disappear from the scene, to the point that the new power of the volitive functions, if it commands everything, no longer explains anything.”
The inability to explain anything through intelligence (conceptuality) of the Will’s workings leaves Schopenhauer’s philosophy incomplete and in the dark. His lack of phenomenological reach leaves him destitute in a framework that will always remain unknown and unknowable. Of course, for Schopenhauer the Will was manifest in our bodily functions, this was our access to the ‘Will’s” workings: the body itself is the Will’s manifestation in the world therefore the physical or physiological philosophy which is one of Nietzsche’s own goals seemed to bypass Schopenhauer altogether. In many ways Nietzsche and Freud would complete Schopenhauer rather than formulate new philosophies. At least this seems to be what Rosset implies with Nietzsche’s gemological approach, and Freud’s various defense mechanisms such as ‘repression’, ‘transference’, ‘sublimation’ etc. Most of these would come out of various aspects of Schopenhauer’s delving into both Greek and Indic philosophy.
As Bosset quoting both Schopenhauer and Nietzsche suggest the later would bring back the relationship between Will and Intellect needed to formulate the genealogical method:
“Perhaps, after me, someone will enlighten and illuminate this abyss,” concludes Schopenhauer. This someone was, as we know, Nietzsche, who restored the relationships between intelligence and the unconscious. One of the essential tasks of Nietzsche was, once recognized the primacy of the will as announced by Schopenhauer, to bring together the will and the intelligence, which Schopenhauer had too radically separated. “Schopenhauer,” writes Nietzsche, “may grant primacy to the will and add intelligence as moreover: the soul, as it is known to us today,” can no longer serve as an illustration for its thesis. It has been all immersed in intelligence … We can no longer conceive of joy, pain and desire as distinct from the intellect “(43). The abolition of any intellectual function within the operations of the will prohibit Schopenhauer the possibility of genealogical interpretation: the constitution of a particular character is abandoned at random irrational of a mysteriously specified product of identical want. “Schopenhauer,” said Nietzsche, “did not solve the problem of individuation and he knew it” (44).”
The problem of individuation would become the problem that the depth psychology of Freud, Adler, Jung, Rank, and Lacan et. al. would all face.
As Rosset will attest Schopenhauer’s lack of interest in the genealogical method is rooted in his view of the Will-to-life, the irrational power at the core of our Universe which has no cause, no Reason – sufficient or otherwise:
“The philosophical purpose is not to explain the singular behavior, but to reveal the absurdity of all behavior. To serve this design, the study of uniform and blind will is more interesting than the study of its particular manifestations, which can conceal a character in its singularity. Precisely, Schopenhauer’s words are not to explain, but to denounce the explanations. The genealogy is therefore invoked only as a means, and never end. The genealogical intuition, which runs short, is only one step towards the absurd.”
- Rosset, Clément. Schopenhauer, philosophe de l’absurde, Paris, Presses universitaires de France, 1967, 2010