Author:John Durham Peters
Topics:Knowledge Quotes

Quote by John Durham Peters : “Schopenhauer remarked that buying books”

Schopenhauer remarked that buying books would be better if you could also buy the time to read them. Books are different from natural objects in that they can overwhelm us in a way that nature’s abundance rarely does. There has always been too much to know; the universe is thoroughly baffling. When we walk into a bookstore, it is easy to feel oppressed by the amount of knowledge on tap. Why don’t we have the same feeling in a forest, at the beach, in a big city, or simply in breathing? There is more going on in our body every second than we will ever understand, and yet we rarely feel bothered by our inability to know it all. Books, however, are designed to make demands on our attention and time: they hail us in ways that nature rarely does. A thing is what Heidegger calls zunichtsgedrängt, relaxed and bothered about nothing. A plant or stone is as self-sufficient as the Aristotelian god or Heidegger’s slacker things, but books are needy. They cry out for readers as devils hunger for souls. – John Durham Peters