Written by webtechs

Jewish Teshuvah and Mesa AZ IRS Tax lien Problems

We all make mistakes and one of the hardest things is to forgive ourselves.  Making amends for mistakes and moving forward is explained beautifully with the Jewish belief in Teshuvah or repentance.  Hopefully this subject matter is not so much about a religion as it is about resolving past mistakes.  IRS tax lien problems in Mesa AZ are serious but with proper professional assistance, it is a  matter that can be resolved and settled.  Call Scott Allen E.A. for a free initial consultation regarding your Mesa AZ IRS tax lien problem today at 480-926-9300.  He offers a free initial consultation and will make that day a great day for you.

And now you can learn a little about Jewish Teshuvah

Jewish Teshuvah (Repentance)

Repentance to the Jew is called teshuvah.   Teshuvah literally means “to return” or “to respond.”  To return to a place you have been to or to respond to someone who had been speaking to you.   In Rabbinic Judaism, the idea of repentance or teshuvah is the central concept of Rabbinic Judaism, because Rabbinic Judaism emerges after the Second Temple has been destroyed by the Romans in the year 70 AD.  One of the primary functions of the Temple was to achieve atonement for one’s sins by bringing an animal sacrifice to the priest and the priest would serve as an intermediary and the priest would slit the throat of the animal.  Then you would pledge not to do whatever you had done before—but it was that animal sacrifice that effected atonement.

Once the Temple had been destroyed, the location for atonement no longer existed.  So how do you get clean?  How do you get pure before God from those transgressions that we all commit?  The idea of teshuvah becomes absolutely central in the Rabbinic mind and in Rabbinic religion.
Teshuvah—return or responding is the idea of returning to be in a right relationship with God and responding to God’s call for us to heed the divine commandments that were revealed at Mount Sinai.  These commandments subsequently went through a process of interpretation that was passed down by the Pharisees and the scribes and finally re-interpreted by the Rabbis.
The Rabbis say that teshuvah preceded creation.  In other words, the world could not exist without some way for the people that inhabit this world to rectify their transgressions, or feel as though they are now back again in a right relationship with God.  So before even creation, the world could not exist without teshuvah.
Repentance preceded creation because whenever we inevitably falter or stumble, we need a way to right ourselves and a method to accomplish this.  Jews believe that God wants us to right ourselves by doing teshuvah.
The noun form teshuvah does not appear in the Hebrew Bible, only the verb.  Jews believe that the primary biblical character to exhibit the characteristics of teshuvah  was King David.  King David had an affair with Batsheva.  He sees her from his rooftop.  Batsheva’s husband is away at war.  He has Batsheva brought into his house where they engage in sexual relations which is a capital crime.  It is adultery because she is a married woman.  She gets pregnant and has a child that ends up dying as a punishment for Batsheva and King David.
King David is confronted with what he has done by Nathan his prophet.  All the kings had prophets.  Back then prophets tell the king what the king needs to hear in order to keep him on the straight and narrow.  So when Nathan challenges King David’s behavior with Batsheva, King David immediately confesses, “I stand guilty before the LORD.”  He took responsibility for his actions and regretted what he had done.  To the Jews, David is the model of teshuvah.  King David is the ancestor of the Messiah.  The Messiah is going to be part of that lineage.  So here in the Hebrew Bible, there is a connection between teshuvah and redemption—redemption that only the Messiah can bring.
Leviticus 4 and 5 contain lots of examples of different kinds of sacrifices that the person who has transgressed is responsible for bringing to the priest.  In Leviticus it is not the Temple that the sacrifices are brought to, but the Tabernacle or forerunner of the Temple.  The Tabernacle is a portable Temple that the Israelites used in the desert.  Later on one would go to the temple in Jerusalem and bring an animal sacrifice.
The right religious behavior was a required element of teshuvah.  It was not enough to just bring the animal to be sacrificed.  If you brought them with dirty hands, then that was not good teshuvah.  You had to still bring the animal sacrifice, but you also had to change your evil ways.  When we move into the Rabbinic period, the question then becomes “What do we do?  We can change our evil ways, but we can not bring back animal sacrifice because we no longer have a temple.  The early Jewish Christians answered that problem of not having the Temple anymore through the vicarious atonement of Christ, who died on behalf of their sins.  That was not available to the Rabbinic Jews.

Let me read to you from Moses Maimonides.  He summarized Rabbinic Judaism’s approach towards teshuvah when he said the following:

At the present time, when the Temple no longer exists and we have no altar for atonement, nothing is left but teshuvah.  Teshuvah atones for all transgressions.
“Teshuvah atones for all transgressions.”  In Rabbinic Judaism there are two different kinds of transgressions.  You have those between me and other human beings.  And you have transgressions between me and God where other human beings are not involved.  The Mishnah writings from the first, second and third century of the Common Era which was after the destruction of the Second Temple says that when you harm someone, you need to make restitution, in order to effect teshuvah that involves a transgression with another person—YOU CAN NOT JUST SAY YOU ARE GOING TO DO TESHUVAH.  If you have wronged someone, you need to apologize.  If you have stolen from someone you need to restore their lost property.  In other words, you need to provide restitution for the transgression so that no one else is holding on to bad feelings.
The Rabbis developed this idea of teshuvah.  The Rabbis distinguished teshuvah from fear and teshuvah through love—love of God and wanting to do right, as opposed to fear of punishment in the afterlife.
What the idea of teshuvah is for the Rabbis, is not necessarily or not primarily
a return to God, as we saw in the Hebrew Bible, but a return to God’s will as expressed through Jewish law.  So there are specific lists of things that we are not supposed to do and specific lists of things that we are supposed to do.  When we violate either of those lists, whether it refers to God or refers to other human beings, in order to do teshuvah we must right our ways.  It is about deeds, rather than about devotional posturing or piety in God’s presence.
Once the Temple was destroyed, it was no longer about being in God’s presence.  The Temple was God’s address, but for Rabbinic Judaism it is more about following God’s ways or following God’s will.  The emphasis is on deeds and what people should be doing to maintain themselves in a right relationship with God.
One of the statements in the Talmud about the power of teshuvah is as follows:
Where a b’al teshuvah (one who is engaged in teshuvah) stands, a totally righteous person [who has not transgressed] cannot stand.
I can not stand there because what the b’ al teshuvah has gone through, someone who has never succumbed to temptation can not possibly know.  The person who is completely righteous and who has never transgressed does not know the exhilarating thrill of giving in to sin or evil, whether it is to women or men or drugs or any other vice, there is a kind of pleasure to it.  If the person who is completely righteous has not experience that temptation, then, according to the Talmud, they are on a lower level.  The person who has experienced that temptation and is strong enough to know that thrill and to overcome it, and manifest self-restraint and self-control—for the Rabbis, they are at a higher level.
Another statement of the Talmud, by Resh Lakish, is that “teshuvah is so great that premeditated transgressions are accounted in the great ledger of your deeds as though they were merits,” that premeditated sins in the past, once that person has done teshuvah, are accounted as though they were merits.
This doctrine is transformative in that a person who has gone through the process of teshuvah can help others benefit from that experience.  Not only am I stronger, but I can help other people who have not yet gone through the process of teshuvah.  I can shepherd them through the process, because I have more credibility in their eyes than the person who has never transgressed.
It is like someone who was arrested for breaking into a car.  He goes through the prison system and he repents.  He atones.  Then he becomes a locksmith and helps the auto industry figure out ways to make more ingenious locks that can not be picked.  He is helping other people in a roundabout sort of way by making it less likely they will break into a car.
One of the greatest religious thinkers of the 20th century, Rav Joseph Baer Soloveitchik, said that “Teshuvah is an act of creation, of self-creation.”  Jean-Paul Sartre, a French existentialist, said a similar thing: “that your future is virgin.”  Your future deeds should not be predicated on your past deeds.  You always have an opportunity to recreate yourself.  Haven’t we all moved to a new area or a new job where no one knows the problems of our past and felt that we could have a fresh start from the ground up.  That is the idea of recreating yourself.  So often we get stuck in a rut and do not take advantage of the principle of recreation.  As a non Jew I can say without reservation that too many of my fellow Christians who sin become so weighed down with guilt and remorse that they never recover.
During medieval times Jews observed a code of law by Moses Maimonides.  He asks the question, “What defines teshuvah?”  His answer:
When the straying one leaves his error and removes it from his thoughts, and resolves in his heart never to repeat it…and he regrets it…He needs to make oral confession and say that these matters are finished from his heart.
To Jews it is important that it is done orally.  They feel a need to hear themselves say it for it to have maximum impact.  It is not just about thinking, but it is also saying it out loud.  It does not have to be an oral confession to someone else.  God created the world through his speech according to Genesis 1.  For the Rabbinic tradition, words are very powerful.  We need to hear those words that we are leaving this forever.
Many early Zionists believed in the notion of return (teshuvah) to the Land of Israel as part of teshuvah.  Joni Mitchell, a popular singer put it this way in one of her songs:
We are stardust.
We are golden
And we have to get ourselves back to the garden
We are stardust.
We are golden
And we have to get ourselves back to the garden
Is it the garden of goodness?  Is it the Garden of Eden? Is it the garden of teshuvah?  Or is it the garden of Palestine?  I believe she is referring to all of them.

Jewish Teshuvah and IRS Problems
We all make mistakes and one of the hardest things is to forgive ourselves.  Making amends for mistakes and moving forward is explained beautifully with the Jewish belief in Teshuvah or repentance.  Hopefully this subject matter is not so much about a religion as it is about resolving past mistakes.  IRS problems are serious but with proper professional assistance, it is a  matter that can be resolved and settled.  Call Scott Allen E.A. for a free initial consultation regarding your IRS problem today at 480-926-9300.  He offers a free initial consultation and will make that day a great day for you.
And now you can learn a little about Jewish Teshuvah
Jewish Teshuvah (Repentance)
Repentance to the Jew is called teshuvah.   Teshuvah literally means “to return” or “to respond.”  To return to a place you have been to or to respond to someone who had been speaking to you.   In Rabbinic Judaism, the idea of repentance or teshuvah is the central concept of Rabbinic Judaism, because Rabbinic Judaism emerges after the Second Temple has been destroyed by the Romans in the year 70 AD.  One of the primary functions of the Temple was to achieve atonement for one’s sins by bringing an animal sacrifice to the priest and the priest would serve as an intermediary and the priest would slit the throat of the animal.  Then you would pledge not to do whatever you had done before—but it was that animal sacrifice that effected atonement.
Once the Temple had been destroyed, the location for atonement no longer existed.  So how do you get clean?  How do you get pure before God from those transgressions that we all commit?  The idea of teshuvah becomes absolutely central in the Rabbinic mind and in Rabbinic religion.
Teshuvah—return or responding is the idea of returning to be in a right relationship with God and responding to God’s call for us to heed the divine commandments that were revealed at Mount Sinai.  These commandments subsequently went through a process of interpretation that was passed down by the Pharisees and the scribes and finally re-interpreted by the Rabbis.
The Rabbis say that teshuvah preceded creation.  In other words, the world could not exist without some way for the people that inhabit this world to rectify their transgressions, or feel as though they are now back again in a right relationship with God.  So before even creation, the world could not exist without teshuvah.  Repentance preceded creation because whenever we inevitably falter or stumble, we need a way to right ourselves and a method to accomplish this.  Jews believe that God wants us to right ourselves by doing teshuvah.
The noun form teshuvah does not appear in the Hebrew Bible, only the verb.  Jews believe that the primary biblical character to exhibit the characteristics of teshuvah  was King David.  King David had an affair with Batsheva.  He sees her from his rooftop.  Batsheva’s husband is away at war.  He has Batsheva brought into his house where they engage in sexual relations which is a capital crime.  It is adultery because she is a married woman.  She gets pregnant and has a child that ends up dying as a punishment for Batsheva and King David.
King David is confronted with what he has done by Nathan his prophet.  All the kings had prophets.  Back then prophets tell the king what the king needs to hear in order to keep him on the straight and narrow.  So when Nathan challenges King David’s behavior with Batsheva, King David immediately confesses, “I stand guilty before the LORD.”  He took responsibility for his actions and regretted what he had done.  To the Jews, David is the model of teshuvah.  King David is the ancestor of the Messiah.  The Messiah is going to be part of that lineage.  So here in the Hebrew Bible, there is a connection between teshuvah and redemption—redemption that only the Messiah can bring.
Leviticus 4 and 5 contain lots of examples of different kinds of sacrifices that the person who has transgressed is responsible for bringing to the priest.  In Leviticus it is not the Temple that the sacrifices are brought to, but the Tabernacle or forerunner of the Temple.  The Tabernacle is a portable Temple that the Israelites used in the desert.  Later on one would go to the temple in Jerusalem and bring an animal sacrifice.
The right religious behavior was a required element of teshuvah.  It was not enough to just bring the animal to be sacrificed.  If you brought them with dirty hands, then that was not good teshuvah.  You had to still bring the animal sacrifice, but you also had to change your evil ways.  When we move into the Rabbinic period, the question then becomes “What do we do?  We can change our evil ways, but we can not bring back animal sacrifice because we no longer have a temple.  The early Jewish Christians answered that problem of not having the Temple anymore through the vicarious atonement of Christ, who died on behalf of their sins.  That was not available to the Rabbinic Jews.
Let me read to you from Moses Maimonides.  He summarized Rabbinic Judaism’s approach towards teshuvah when he said the following:
At the present time, when the Temple no longer exists and we have no altar for atonement, nothing is left but teshuvah.  Teshuvah atones for all transgressions.
“Teshuvah atones for all transgressions.”  In Rabbinic Judaism there are two different kinds of transgressions.  You have those between me and other human beings.  And you have transgressions between me and God where other human beings are not involved.  The Mishnah writings from the first, second and third century of the Common Era which was after the destruction of the Second Temple says that when you harm someone, you need to make restitution, in order to effect teshuvah that involves a transgression with another person—YOU CAN NOT JUST SAY YOU ARE GOING TO DO TESHUVAH.  If you have wronged someone, you need to apologize.  If you have stolen from someone you need to restore their lost property.  In other words, you need to provide restitution for the transgression so that no one else is holding on to bad feelings.
The Rabbis developed this idea of teshuvah.  The Rabbis distinguished teshuvah from fear and teshuvah through love—love of God and wanting to do right, as opposed to fear of punishment in the afterlife.
What the idea of teshuvah is for the Rabbis, is not necessarily or not primarilya return to God, as we saw in the Hebrew Bible, but a return to God’s will as expressed through Jewish law.  So there are specific lists of things that we are not supposed to do and specific lists of things that we are supposed to do.  When we violate either of those lists, whether it refers to God or refers to other human beings, in order to do teshuvah we must right our ways.  It is about deeds, rather than about devotional posturing or piety in God’s presence.
Once the Temple was destroyed, it was no longer about being in God’s presence.  The Temple was God’s address, but for Rabbinic Judaism it is more about following God’s ways or following God’s will.  The emphasis is on deeds and what people should be doing to maintain themselves in a right relationship with God.
One of the statements in the Talmud about the power of teshuvah is as follows:
Where a b’al teshuvah (one who is engaged in teshuvah) stands, a totally righteous person [who has not transgressed] cannot stand.
I can not stand there because what the b’ al teshuvah has gone through, someone who has never succumbed to temptation can not possibly know.  The person who is completely righteous and who has never transgressed does not know the exhilarating thrill of giving in to sin or evil, whether it is to women or men or drugs or any other vice, there is a kind of pleasure to it.  If the person who is completely righteous has not experience that temptation, then, according to the Talmud, they are on a lower level.  The person who has experienced that temptation and is strong enough to know that thrill and to overcome it, and manifest self-restraint and self-control—for the Rabbis, they are at a higher level.
Another statement of the Talmud, by Resh Lakish, is that “teshuvah is so great that premeditated transgressions are accounted in the great ledger of your deeds as though they were merits,” that premeditated sins in the past, once that person has done teshuvah, are accounted as though they were merits.
This doctrine is transformative in that a person who has gone through the process of teshuvah can help others benefit from that experience.  Not only am I stronger, but I can help other people who have not yet gone through the process of teshuvah.  I can shepherd them through the process, because I have more credibility in their eyes than the person who has never transgressed.
It is like someone who was arrested for breaking into a car.  He goes through the prison system and he repents.  He atones.  Then he becomes a locksmith and helps the auto industry figure out ways to make more ingenious locks that can not be picked.  He is helping other people in a roundabout sort of way by making it less likely they will break into a car.
One of the greatest religious thinkers of the 20th century, Rav Joseph Baer Soloveitchik, said that “Teshuvah is an act of creation, of self-creation.”  Jean-Paul Sartre, a French existentialist, said a similar thing: “that your future is virgin.”  Your future deeds should not be predicated on your past deeds.  You always have an opportunity to recreate yourself.  Haven’t we all moved to a new area or a new job where no one knows the problems of our past and felt that we could have a fresh start from the ground up.  That is the idea of recreating yourself.  So often we get stuck in a rut and do not take advantage of the principle of recreation.  As a non Jew I can say without reservation that too many of my fellow Christians who sin become so weighed down with guilt and remorse that they never recover.
During medieval times Jews observed a code of law by Moses Maimonides.  He asks the question, “What defines teshuvah?”  His answer:
When the straying one leaves his error and removes it from his thoughts, and resolves in his heart never to repeat it…and he regrets it…He needs to make oral confession and say that these matters are finished from his heart.
To Jews it is important that it is done orally.  They feel a need to hear themselves say it for it to have maximum impact.  It is not just about thinking, but it is also saying it out loud.  It does not have to be an oral confession to someone else.  God created the world through his speech according to Genesis 1.  For the Rabbinic tradition, words are very powerful.  We need to hear those words that we are leaving this forever.
Many early Zionists believed in the notion of return (teshuvah) to the Land of Israel as part of teshuvah.  Joni Mitchell, a popular singer put it this way in one of her songs:
We are stardust.We are goldenAnd we have to get ourselves back to the garden
We are stardust.We are goldenAnd we have to get ourselves back to the garden
Is it the garden of goodness?  Is it the Garden of Eden? Is it the garden of teshuvah?  Or is it the garden of Palestine?  I believe she is referring to all of them.

Written by webtechs

Voltaire and Your Arizona IRS Problem

There are many valid arguments in the philosophy of Voltaire.  The best source containing many of his ideas comes from his novel titled, Candide.  Knowing that having a serious IRS matter is not to be taken lightly, Scott Allen E.A know the reality of what you are facing.  Scott Allen has the expertise you are seeking and can provide you the best IRS settlement allowed by law.  Call Scott Allen E.A. at 480-926-9300 and schedule your free initial consultation.

Voltaire (1694-1778)

Candide—“Cultivating our Garden”

“Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills.”—Voltaire
“Work saves us from three great evils; boredom, vice and need.”—Voltaire, Candide
Voltaire was a French philosopher, novelist, playwright who insisted that the task of the intellectual is to “Crush infamy!”  For Voltaire, infamy consisted of all forms of intolerance.  Despite imprisonment and exile, Voltaire spent much of his life resisting the tyranny of religious and political repression.
In this Chapter we will review his novel, Candide, published in 1759, to demonstrate his combination of wit, satire and narrative skills to expose the philosophy of optimism.  I am referring to the kind of optimism that prevents our awareness of evil, especially of kind of evil that is the product of human cruelty or complacency.
Voltaire grew up in a middle class home, received a Jesuit education and took up the practice of law.  He soon abandoned his career in law for literature.  His satiric writings soon put him on the wrong side of the law and he spent 11 months in the Bastille when he was in his early 20s.  His imprisonment did not deter him from continuing to write and publish works critical of social injustice and political inequity.  Although his business speculations made him a rich man by the time he was in his early 30s, his wealth did not protect him from further imprisonment.
In 1726, Voltaire left France and spent three years in exile, mostly in England.  His philosophical letters, originally called The English Letters, which were published in 1734, was a result of his time in England.  The letters are the work of an imaginary French visitor to England writing home, praising English tolerance and pragmatism.  Their publication, like so much of Voltaire’s work, upset the authorities and his printer was imprisoned and the letters were publicly burned.

After publishing these philosophical letters, Voltaire was condemned by the Parliament of Paris as offensive to politics and religion.  When he returned to France, Voltaire spent the next 15 years living on the estate of his wealthy patron and mistress, studying and writing extensively.  After her death in 1749, Voltaire lived at the court of Frederick the Great of Prussia until 1752.   Only when he was in his late 50s did Voltaire finally purchase property of his own outside of Geneva, Switzerland.  Voltaire spent the last 20 years of his life in Geneva at his estate, where he wrote essays, participated in politics and corresponded with royalty, philosophers and actors.

In the last year of his life, 1778, Voltaire, now famous throughout Europe as a social critic and writer, returned to Paris in triumph, but died three months later.  He was denied burial in consecrated ground and his body was smuggled out of Paris.  In 1791 his remains were returned to Paris and in an elaborate funeral procession organized by French revolutionaries, he was buried at the Pantheon.  When the Bourbons returned to power, the remains of both Voltaire and Rousseau were removed from the Pantheon, carried in a sack to the outskirts of the city and dumped into a pit of quicklime.
Voltaire was one of the Enlightenment’s preeminent philosophers who believed in human perfectibility, religious tolerance and deism which is a belief based on nature and reason, and in the existence of a God or Supreme Being rather than the Christian God of revealed religion.

With their progressive views, especially the concept of religious tolerance and rational inquiry, these writers inevitably challenged the political, religious and philosophical establishments.  Voltaire’s work spans across the spectrum of literary genres and style, from drama to history and philosophy.  He believed that experience in the material world could be categorized and thus controlled through the intellect.

Though Voltaire considered his best work to be his tragedies, he is remembered now mostly for his satirical works like Candide.  Candide was published anonymously in 1759 and distributed illegally.  It enjoyed instant success, even though those who were the objects of this satire naturally condemned it as scandalous and indecent.
The police were ordered to seize all copies of Candide that could be found, but the controversy only served to fuel the book’s popularity, and by the end of the year at least 17 editions of the work had been published.  Religious officials pronounced the book full of dangerous principles concerning religion and encouraging moral deprivation.
Candide voices outrage against the capacity of man to brutalize his fellowmen and spares no one in his attacks.  Voltaire attacks the aristocrats, military and religious power structures that work together to create a world of cruelty and inequality because it supports their own vices—greed, decadence, hypocrisy and egotism.  Voltaire’s ridiculously contrived plots, impossible coincidences and people resurrected from the dead, mocks the gullibility of readers of fiction who mistake the imaginary for actual events.
The dark comedy of the misadventures of Candide and his companions is a mockery of a belief in a rational and just plan for the universe without providing much comfort and optimism for the future.  Voltaire satirizes, in particular, the optimistic philosophy of Leibniz.  Voltaire reduces Leibniz’ philosophy to an unfairly simplistic formula: Everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.
According to Leibniz, God is omnipotent and, therefore, could have made any kind of world, but he is also benevolent, and so He would necessarily have made the best possible world so that what may strike us as problematic, or evil, or difficult in the creation is really there to provide some greater good which would have been lost had the apparent evil not been part of the plan.  To take a very simplistic example, if we fall off a ladder and break a leg, or an expensive vase falls and breaks into a hundred pieces, we might see gravity as a destructive part of the universe we live in.  Since God could have made any kind of world, He could have made one without gravity.  The logic of this argument would say, gravity keeps everything in its place and keeps us from flying off into space, and so the benefits of gravity outweigh its detriments.  The best of all possible worlds, therefore, will necessarily have gravity in it.

This argument applies to everything in our world.  It is true for earthquakes, floods, famines and disease.  All of which are necessary if we could simply see the larger picture to understand what greater good comes from these apparent evils.

This theory can be a comfort in times of disaster.  If something really terrible happens to us, we may be able to feel slightly better about it if we can understand that it is serving some larger good.  But it can also lead to apathy to make the world better, since if all pain and suffering in the world serve some larger purpose; there is no reason to try to minimize it because it is there to provide some greater good.
Voltaire himself was an optimist early in his life.  It was the trendy idea of the age, and it could be reconciled with Deism, which was the religion of the intelligentsia, which saw God as a cosmic watch maker who had created the universe, wound it up, and then left it to run by its own natural laws.  As Voltaire grew older, though, he found it harder to justify the sheer amount of misery and calamity in the world with confidence that it was leading to some greater good.  A turning point for him was the Lisbon earthquake of November 1, 1755.  On the Catholic calendar, November 1st is All Saints’ Day, so many of the inhabitants of Lisbon were in church when the earthquake struck.  It leveled the city and it killed between 30,000 and 40,000 people.  In a letter that Voltaire wrote shortly after the Lisbon earthquake he said:
People will be hard put to explain how the laws of motion bring about such frightful disasters in the best of all possible worlds; a hundred thousand ants, our neighbors, wiped out at one stroke in this single ant-hill, and half of them perishing no doubt in indescribable agonies amid ruins from which they could not be dragged; families ruined at the ends of Europe, the fortunes of a hundred traders…buried in the ruins of Lisbon—what a terrible gamble is the game of human life!…If the Pope had been at Lisbon, would he have dared to say, All is well?…There is a terrible argument against optimism.
The full response of Voltaire to the Lisbon earthquake and to his abandoning the whole idea of Optimism came four years later in Candide, which is subtitled Optimism.  Everything that happens to the little group of protagonists Voltaire brings together in this book has happened to somebody in the course of history, and some of the events in the book are based on actual historical events.
Reading Candide is like watching a Roadrunner cartoon in which Wile E. Coyotes is killed about ten times in five minutes, and every time he bounces back to skim through his Acme catalogue to come up with his next plan for catching the Roadrunner.  Every episode or adventure leads to the next without there being necessarily a causal connection between them.  Candide is a satire on human efforts to comprehend life and the universe.
Candide is about the misadventures of Candide, Voltaire’s naïve hero, whose name suggests both his directness, his honest—he is candid—but also in its Latin form means “white.”   Candide adheres steadfastly to the tenets of optimism, as taught to him by his childhood mentor, Pangloss: “Pan,” which means “all,” and “gloss,” which means “language” or “talk.”  Pangloss preaches Leibniz’ philosophy, that all is good in the world, despite any evidence to the contrary.

Pangloss gives lessons on “metaphysico-theological-comolonigology,” whatever the heck that is.   He proved admirably that there cannot possibly be an effect without a cause; and, that in this best of all possible worlds, the Baron’s castle was the best of all castles, and his wife the best of all possible baronesses.
‘It is clear,” said he, ‘that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for since everything is made to serve an end, everything necessarily serves the best end.  Observe.  Noses were made to support spectacles.  Hence, we have spectacles.  Legs, as anyone can plainly see, were made to be shaped and build castles with, thus my lord has a fine castle; for the greatest baron in the province should have the finest house.  And since pigs were made to be eaten, we eat pork all year round.  Consequently, those who say everything is well are uttering mere stupidities; they should say everything is for the best.’
Pangloss is all talk and is incapable of judging reality, which is, on the evidence of what happens to him and Candide, pretty amazing.  Cunegonde is Candide’s love interest and his search for her is the plot of this novel.  Cunegonde is also a student of Pangloss, but life’s hardships lead her to become ambivalent about his optimistic teachings and thus suggest that women’s more pragmatic approach to reality might be, in the end, more productive than merely philosophizing about life.
Half way through Candide’s journeys, he meets Martin, who remains the hero’s travel companion throughout the rest of the story.  Martin is a pessimist, a self-described Manichean—that is, one who sees the universe as a battlefield between good and evil and who predictably sees the world contrary to Pangloss.
In the first half of the novel, Candide’s journey is determined by chance rather than by his own free will.  In the second half, Candide actively pursues his own choices, although it does not seem to offer him any advantage in dealing with the world.
In chapter 1, Candide is exiled from his native Wesphalia, an earthly paradise, when his protector discovers his daughter, the Baroness Cunegonde, kissing Candide.  Candide innocently believes that life at the Baron’s chateau is “the best of all possible worlds,” as Pangloss has taught him and thus he accepts being exiled from what he believes to be paradise.  Candide’s education about the real nature of the world begins as soon as he leaves Wesphalia and finds himself ultimately fleeing violence or persecution and being saved by the goodness of strangers.
In chapter 2, for example, he is duped into joining the Bulgarian army, but deserts his unit when he experiences the atrocities of war.  Atrocities committed first by one side and then in revenge by the other, but all in accordance with law. When he flees to Holland, he escapes these horrors and is reunited with Dr. Pangloss, who is at first unrecognizable because he is suffering the ravages of syphilis:
Despite his condition, Pangloss insists that syphilis is a necessary ingredient, and indispensable part of the best of all possible worlds, since his private misfortune generates the need for public welfare.  His condition gives others the opportunity to practice charity.
Pangloss and Candide then travel to Lisbon, just in time to be injured in the terrible earthquake that devastated the city in 1755.  Pangloss appears to die at the hands of the Inquisition, while Candide narrowly escapes death and is reunited with Cunegonde who miraculously recovers from the rape and disemboweling committed on her body by Bulgarian soldiers. By chance, Candide kills her lover, the Grand Inquisitor and then flees with her to the New World, where Candide once again loses Cunegonde to a lascivious colonial governor in Buenos Aires.  Candide once again escapes death by vengeful natives in Paraguay, and his companion, Cacambo concludes, “This hemisphere is no better than the other.”
Giving themselves over entirely to fate, Candide and Cacambo take a small boat down the river in Paraguay where they discover the mythical city of El Dorado, where the streets are paved in gold, people are good-natured, healthy and free of ambition and everyone is equal and equally enlightened.
Candide’s departure from El Dorado suggests that even if Pangloss were right, even if there were a place where all was for the best and the best of all possible worlds, it is in man’s nature to reject it and see a more varied happiness, one that is more desirable, precisely because it is more uncertain.

In the second half of the narrative, Candide decides his own fate by choosing an itinerary with the goal of finding Cunegonde.  Returning to the real world from El Dorado is thwarted and prolonged by villains.
Cunegonde, our hero’s only hope of happiness, remains elusive until late in the novel, when Candide and his associates rescue her.   But this only brings disillusionment as she is not longer as Candide remembers her.
The tender lover Candide, sees his lovely Cunegonde with her skin weathered, her eyes bloodshot, her breast fallen, her cheeks seamed, her arms red and scaly, recoiled three steps in horror, and then advance, only out of politeness.
In the last chapter, Candide, Cunegonde, Cacambo, Martin, Old Woman and Pangloss settle together on a small plot of land in Turkey.  When not arguing with each other, they inevitably encounter the last of human vices, boredom.
‘I should like to know,’ says the Old Woman, “Which is worse, being raped 100 times by Negro pirates, having a buttock cut off, running the gauntlet in the Bulgur army, being flogged and hanged, being dissected, and rowing in the galley, experiencing, in a word, all the miseries though which we have passed, or else just setting here, doing nothing?’
They attempt to rejoin humanity but consult some locals first.  One tells them not to concern themselves with God’s intentions; an old farmer tells them not to concern themselves with public affairs and just work their land, which will spare them from the three evils: boredom, vice, and need.  The whole group take this advice and cultivate their garden and find a certain degree of peace and happiness—though it is an imperfect happiness.
Dr. Pangloss’ philosophizing provides no solution to the problem of evil in the world.  Pangloss’ optimism is worse than the mere absence of the solution because it justifies passivity and indifference to the cruelties in this world.  Thus, like other defenses against evil, such as the Christian belief in the value of suffering and a heavenly reward, or the romanticized violence of medieval conquests, Pangloss’ optimism does nothing to resist evil or change the world for the better.
Voltaire wishes to challenge the philosophy of optimism in order to argue for the presence of free will in man.  According to Voltaire, Leibniz asserts that God made only one world, “the best of all possible worlds,” which necessarily includes original sin.  Leibniz thus sustains a central claim of the religious establishment, that man is born evil and must depend on the Church for spiritual reform.
Voltaire argues that man is born free to choose between good and evil.  The many instances of vice and corruption encountered in Candide are not part of God’s master plan; rather, these evils are the product of man’s failure to choose good and resist evil.
In El Dorado, a world that exists outside of both the New and Old World—in other words, a utopian space.  Candide suggests tentatively:
This is probably the country where everything is for the best, for it’s absolutely necessary that such a country should exist somewhere; and whatever master Pangloss said of the matter, I have often had occasion to notice that things went very badly in Westphalia.
One of the most disturbing episodes in this story happens when Candide tries to hire a passage on a boat from Surinam to Italy, along with a couple of rare sheep he still has left over from El Dorado.  The Dutch merchant with whom he is trying to book a passage sets a fee; Candide agrees to pay it.  But the ease with which Candide has decided that he will pay that fee suggests to the merchant that he is dealing with a rich man, so he goes away and comes back a little later.  He says, “I’m going to have to double that fee.”  Candide say, “Okay.”  So the merchant leaves again and comes back a little bit later and he raises the fee again.  Candide says, “Alright, I’ll pay that.”  Then the merchant takes the sheep and all of Candide’s luggage aboard and then sets sail without Candide.  Candide immediately rushes to the house of a Dutch magistrate and there he knocks very loudly on the door.  He is, after all upset after having lost a great fortune to the merchant.
In telling his story, he perhaps speaks a little louder than he usually does and the magistrate fines him a large amount for disturbing the peace.  After paying the fine the magistrate says, “Okay, now, if you talk quietly, I’ll listen to the rest of your story.”  Candide tells him the whole story of what the merchant did to him.  The magistrate charges him another exorbitant fee for listening to the story, promises to look into it, and then that is the end of the matter.  Nothing ever comes of it.  Candide, in reflecting back on this, says that, while he has endured a lot more painful experiences, this one really affected him the most.  He says that the sheer treachery of the merchant and the mechanical, complacent, coldness of the magistrate make him dwell on what he calls the “malice of men in all its ugliness” and this puts him into a very deep melancholy.
And so it goes throughout the course of this book.  Just outside Surinam, Candide and his traveling companion come up upon a black man who is missing a right hand and a left leg.  He tells them that he works in a sugar mill as a slave.  Once he caught his finger in the machinery and the punishment for catching your finger in the machinery is to have your hand cut off.  Once he tried to run away and the punishment for trying to run away is to have your leg cut off.  Candide tells his companion he thinks he is going to have to give up on the theory of Optimism.  When his companion says, “What is Optimism?”  Candide says, “It’s a mania for saying that all is well when one is in Hell.”  Despite his pity for the Negro, Candide’s belief that even this injustice must serve a useful purpose shows his passivity in the face of evil.
The question about all of this is where does human nature come from?  Why are humans the way they are?  Candide asks Martin:
Do you believe that men have always massacred one another as they do today?  That they have always been liars, traitors, ingrates, thieves, weaklings, sneaks, cowards, backbiters, gluttons, drunkards, misers, climbers, killers, calumniators, sensualists, fanatics, hypocrites, and fools?
And Martin says, “What do you think?  Do you think hawks have always eaten pigeons when they could find them?  For Martin, human nature is as fixed as hawk nature.  The overwhelming theme in Candide is that people are corrupt, even if they were not born that way.  This is a very pessimistic view of the world, but even Martin, the pessimist, admits that it is always good to have hope.  This book offers the only hope for happiness in a largely corrupt world through the exercise of a collective free will, that is, “cultivating our gardens” or creating a greater social good.
The whole little group entered into this laudable scheme.  Each one began to exercise his talents.  The little plot yielded fine crops.  Cunegonde was, to tell the truth, remarkably ugly, but she became an excellent pastry cook.  Old Woman did the laundry.  Everyone did something useful.  Pangloss sometimes used to say to Candide, ‘All events are linked together in the best of all possible worlds, for, after all, if you had not been driven from a fine castle by being kicked in the backside for love of Miss Cunegonde, if you hadn’t been sent before the Inquisition, if you hadn’t traveled across America on foot, if you hadn’t given a good sword thrust to the Baron, if you hadn’t lost all of your sheep from the good land of El Dorado, you wouldn’t be sitting here eating candied citron and pistachios.
‘That is very well put,’ said Candide, ‘but we must cultivate our garden.’
There are lots of ways we can interpret cultivation of our garden.  Voltaire uses a metaphor about “mice in the galleys.”  This metaphor suggests that the universe was not made for our specifications any more than the ship was made for mice.  Like the mice, we are accidental tourists on this planet.  Speculations about good and evil, about the purposes of creation, are as foolish as mice speculating on the nature of the ship.
The Turkish farmers says that work keeps us, individually from boredom, vice and poverty.  That is, if we stay busy, we will be less likely to be entangled in pointless speculations like the mice on the galley.  Martin says, “Let’s work without speculating, it’s the only way of rendering life bearable.”

Voltaire Quotes
Every man is guilty of all the good he didn’t do.
Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.
Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.
Is there anyone so wise as to learn by the experience of others?
It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere.
No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.
No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.
Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable.
When it is a question of money, everybody is of the same religion.

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Arthur Schopenhauer relates to your Arizona IRS Problem

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Schopenhauer is quite a character but there is something intriguing about his philosophy that just may help you during the time you are working your way through your IRS problem with Scott Allen E.A..

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

Finding Meaning Through Aesthetics, Sympathy, Music, and Passivity

Arthur Schopenhauer was born in 1788 in the city of Danzig, Germany on the Baltic Sea.    He was the son of Heinrich and Johanna Schopenhauer, who were both descendants of wealthy German middle class families.  In 1805 Schopenhauer’s father committed suicide when he was only 16 years old.  His mother, who was a famous author, kicked Arthur out of her home when Goethe told her that her son was destined for great things. She followed this up with a letter and wrote, “I hope I never have to see you again.” She could not tolerate any competition from her son for the attention she desired only for herself.  There is no doubt that these experiences contributed to Schopenhauer’s view of the world and his philosophy.

Schopenhauer knew at a very young age that he was a genius.  A fact that his parents often wished was not discovered by their son until after he was out of their home.  There are letters from his parents written to him when he was a child asking him why he was so disagreeable?  Why do you need to challenge what everyone says and not accept what others have to say?  He was convinced of his genius all his life.  Schopenhauer sincerely believed in his genius and his purpose in life was to bring his view of the truth to others not able to “see the target.”

Schopenhauer became a student at the University of Gottingen in 1809.  There he studied metaphysics and psychology.  In 1818 Schopenhauer published his masterpiece, The World as Will and Idea.    In 1820, Schopenhauer became a lecturer at the University of Berlin.  It was there that he came into direct competition with  G. W. F. Hegel, whose philosophy he despised.  He scheduled his own lectures to coincide with Hegel’s in an attempt to destroy student support of Hegel’s philosophy.  However, only 5 students came to his first lecture and none came to his second and Schopenhauer dropped out of academia and never taught at a university again.  This was the only job that Schopenhauer ever had and it lasted only one day.

While living in Berlin, Schopenhauer was named as a defendant in a law suit by a woman named Caroline Marquet.  She asked for damages, alleging that Schopenhauer had pushed her.  Knowing that he was a man of some means and that he disliked noise, she deliberately annoyed him by raising her voice while standing right outside his door.  Marquet alleged that the philosopher had assaulted and battered her after she refused to leave his doorway.  Her companion testified that she saw Marquet prostrate outside of his apartment.  Because Marquet won the lawsuit, he made payments to her for the next twenty years.  When she died, he wrote on a copy of her death certificate, “Obit anus, abet onus.”  (Latin for, “The old woman dies, the burden is lifted).  Schopenhauer tended to rub people the wrong way and if they got in his way he was not hesitant to abuse them in his writings, verbally or as in this example physically.

Schopenhauer was considered a liberal in his social views: he was strongly against taboos on issues like suicide and homosexuality.  He condemned the treatment of African slaves and supported the abolitionist movement in the United States.  He was very concerned about the rights of animals and praised the establishment of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in London and the Animals’ Friends Society in Philadelphia.

In 1831, a cholera epidemic broke out in Berlin and both Hegel and Schopenhauer fled the city.  Hegel returned prematurely, caught the infection and died a few days later.  Schopenhauer moved south and settled permanently in Frankfurt in 1833.  He remained there for the next 27 years living all alone except the companionship of two poodles named Atma and Butz.  He enjoyed good health until 1860.  He died sitting in his armchair of heart failure on September 21 of that year at the age of 72.

Schopenhauer’s philosophy is considered by many to be deeply pessimistic.  But he obviously must have made some valid observations since Nietzsche, Freud, Jung, Wagner, Mahler, Schoenberg, Darwin, Proust, Kafka, O’Neill, Tolstoy and Einstein credit him for having great influence on their work.  This list includes leaders in philosophy, music, science, psychoanalysis, authors and playwrights.  The breath of Schopenhauer’s influence makes his life and work worthy of serious review.

Schopenhauer wrote that the will is a blind, rationally inaccessible force that is a primitive energy.  This energy manifests itself in and through everything.  The will gives us pleasure so that we will reproduce and pain so that we will avoid being eaten.  It is impersonal, insatiable and dwells within us.  It is a source of considerable suffering.  After you satisfy the cravings and desires of the will, you have a brief respite, but then typically you become bored.  As Schopenhauer put it, “Life is nothing but a pendulum swinging between the pain of unfulfilled desires and boredom.  Once we fulfill our desires then we are satiated and our strivings are quieted momentarily but we immediately sink into boredom or emptiness.”  Schopenhauer says that unsatisfied desires often have unfortunate and painful consequences.  So the two options for human existence are pain and boredom.  As long as one is alive, they are under siege by the will and the only way to eliminate that is to eliminate one’s self.  Schopenhauer felt that Buddhism offered a way to minimize the negative effects of the will.

Even though Schopenhauer was so pessimistic in his views of life, does not mean that he did not enjoy life.  Nietzsche reminds us in his book, Beyond Good and Evil, “One must remember that Schopenhauer played the flute every night after dinner.”  Nietzsche felt that Schopenhauer still found things in life that he enjoyed despite his pessimistic philosophy.
One must ask the question, “Was Schopenhauer’s view of life appropriate for everyone or just Schopenhauer?”  And secondly, was Schopenhauer more vulnerable to the strivings of the will than others?  Was he such a pained, fearful, neurotic person that his personality influenced his philosophy or did he actually discover the truth about certain things that led to his view of the world?  I think it highly probably that we are all affected to one degree or another by this will, but that degree differs from person to person.  And we are probably more prone to the effects of the will at certain stressful points during our lives than others.  Schopenhauer would disagree with my points here.  He felt that we are all affected by the will beyond our ability to deal with it and find meaning in life.  All we can do is try to minimize its effect on us.
The world is not just will to Schopenhauer, it is also idea.  The world is what we think it is and that is always an illusion or a perception.  The world is what our mind tells us it is.  There is no reality, only illusion and even though an illusion is shared by many, it is still not reality.  Life is just a spark in between two pools of darkness without any meaning or purpose.

Schopenhauer felt himself in competition with Hegel.  In one of his writings he stated, “I wish to apologize to the reader of the future for mentioning Hegel, a philosopher you have never heard of.”  Hegel celebrated the human spirit and taught his students how to enjoy that spirit.  He believed that the human spirit controlled the destiny of history.  In another classroom across the hall was Schopenhauer saying, “There is a force that wells up in you.  It is always there.  It gnaws at you.  It is always victimizing you because it wants more and more.  If you get what you want, you get bored.  If you get what you want it might even be painful.  Usually you don’t get what you want.”

Schopenhauer contradicted Hegel by saying that history doesn’t have a rational direction.  History is just things happening and they happen because of this will that we experience through us, that is at work all the time trying to express and satisfy itself.  He would say things like “we have these fancy philosophical types who are telling us we can celebrate the human spirit.  They are telling us that we can learn to conquer our desires through reason.  They tell us that we can be creative and remove ourselves from the will that is pulsating through us.  That is all fine and good, but just let yourself experience your life and think about how you want food, sex, and excitement.  Sometimes you get what you want and most of the time you don’t.  Most of your desires are not met at all.  So you suffer.  You are always in a state of tension because of suffering, because of desire, because of the will.  You are not even conscious of the will.  It is buried below your conscious mind.”

As you can see Schopenhauer’s philosophy is very unpleasant and pessimistic.  His ideas did not make people feel comfortable.  Some have referred to it as “metaphysics from hell.”  Life is a state of being where your desires are not satisfied and your questions are never answered. And you are stuck.  There are no options except suicide and if you give in to suicide then you gave in to the will.  This is pretty pessimistic stuff.
Nietzsche and Schopenhauer started at the same point with the same data and came to different conclusions.  Both looked at life very accurately, both had no supernatural belief; both looked directly at the reality of death, and both looked at nothingness.  Nietzsche affirmed and embraced life and Schopenhauer chose to negate it.  Hume and Schopenhauer had the same basic beliefs and reacted much differently.  Hume was a very pleasant English gentleman and on his deathbed was asked how being an atheist he could be so calm facing death.  Hume replied that there was nothing before he was born and he didn’t want to be bored with an association of those who thought they were going to heaven.  There was absolutely no hint of pessimism or regret.  So it seems that personality and life experiences must have an impact on the philosopher’s philosophy.  It has been said that one must first understand the life of the philosopher before trying to understand their philosophy and that one follows the other.  But Schopenhauer did not just take us to the edge of the abyss and leave us there to fend for ourselves.  He offered remedies to the human condition as he saw it.  His remedies are valuable insights into living life whether or naught you believe in effects of the will.

Schopenhauer offers four methods of escape from this pulsing energy he called “the will.”   The first solution is what he called aesthetic contemplation.  For example we can get our minds off of things by seeing a movie or watching a sporting event.  During Schopenhauer’s time you might go look at a painting or other types of art to get your mind off the underlying agony that is the constant companion of all humans.  He admits that this type of relief is only fleeting and cannot sustain permanent relief.  This notion of getting disengaged from life by getting one’s mind off of its misery can be helpful for a while.  This may explain why the entertainment industry is so popular today.

The second suggestion Schopenhauer makes is the cultivation of sympathy for one’s fellow beings.  That too is only temporary.  It was Schopenhauer’s view that we should recognize that everyone is struggling with the will. All of us are suffering from its manifestations.  We all suffer the same agonies, and the realization that we are all in this together makes coping with it easier.  Having true sympathy or compassion, and understanding that everyone is struggling with the same thing, partially removes the ravages of the will.  It is not a cure, but at least something that can temporarily help us along and perhaps engender a noncompetitive acceptance of the condition we all face as human beings.

The third suggestion is music.  He believed that music has a special capacity to capture the will and lessen its negative impact on us.  Schopenhauer believed that music has a calming effect.  Music for Schopenhauer is not meant to make us understand anything.  It is to get us away from thinking about anything.  The music he listened to was usually without words or lyrics.  Mozart not Rap.  He thinks that music speaks in a language that can and does put us more at peace with ourselves.

The fourth suggestion is the most challenging.  Hold your breath—the best we might do is lose the will to live.  Schopenhauer thinks perhaps the best of all the remedies for the disease called life and its agonies would be to reach a condition of calm and tranquil passivity where our individual wills do not torment us anymore.  We don’t allow anything to matter to us, even our very selves.  It is his view that the loss of the will to live is not the same as the desire to commit suicide.  He is suggesting that we reach a benign and mellow point where things don’t matter anymore, even yourself.

In summary the human predicament is that we are victims of life.  Life itself is the disease and we need a cure from that disease and all the knowledge in the world will not bring about a cure. Schopenhauer brings a very strongly negative and pessimistic element into European philosophical thinking.  He believes that the best we can accomplish is to find whatever peace of mind we can.  This requires a disengagement from the painful cycle of desire and satisfaction of desires.

Schopenhauer proposed a thought experiment in which you go to a cemetery and knock on any tombstone and ask the person there if they want to be alive again and his conclusion was that none of the dead would want to be alive again.  Nietzsche would contradict Schopenhauer on this point by saying, if you lived well, if you lived life to its fullest, you would be willing to live it again an innumerable number of times.  This was Nietzsche’s law of eternal recurrence.  That one must embrace and affirm life to the point that we would want to live it all over again an infinite number of times exactly the same way.
Schopenhauer was very taken with Buddhist beliefs.  He was the major influential figure who brought Buddhist thinking to the West in a way that made it spread.  The message of Buddhism is that life is suffering and to be alive is to suffer.  Buddha said, “All is suffering.”  Suffering is brought about by desire and desire does have a cure and the cure is to lose our attachment to our desires.  It is this disengagement that Schopenhauer recommends.
I believe that Schopenhauer’s will is just another term to describe the “natural man.”  The natural man came into existence because of the Fall of Adam.  The Fall brought into the human condition pain and suffering, death, as well as a host of appetites and passions that are unrelenting.  As soon as they are satisfied, we are comfortable for a short moment only to be striving to satisfy those cravings again.

Schopenhauer’s remedies are: aesthetic contemplation, cultivating sympathy for our fellow beings, good music, and disengagement from our attachments and desires are similar to many admonitions from the scriptures. The scriptures teach us that we should be willing to bear one another’s burdens, mourn with those who mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort and to deny ourselves of all ungodliness.

I am fascinated that Schopenhauer who is considered the most atheistic and pessimistic of all the philosophers recommends similar remedies to life’s struggles contained in ancient and modern day scriptures.  Despite his pessimism, there is much to benefit from understanding the following quotes of Schopenhauer.

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Nietzsche, Suffering and Phoenix AZ IRS Problems.

To truly understand Nietzsche, one must have gone through what I will call a “passage of suffering”—which is actual suffering.  Suffering almost has to be a goal to understand his ideas.   One has to go through a kind of striving and suffering that includes, “self loathing,” before you can achieve an authentically lived life.

One has to accept that they have been totally absorbed in an inauthentic, phony, irrational, check-list, merit badge existence; like you have been an actor your whole life in a bad play; that you finally acknowledge that you haven’t been living, you have been acting.

Once you recognize what you are willing to give your life in return for—the nice little house in the suburbs, your comfortable occupation, and children with straight teeth—and that you are now willing to surrender and sacrifice everything that makes you what you are today—then and only then will you will discover who you really are and what you can become.

If you are not able to do that, then according to Nietzsche you will be stuck in a situation of “self loathing,”  This is the inevitable consequence of not willing to make that sacrifice.  Once you begin to realize that everything you thought was so important and have placed such a high premium on, have been little more than habit and sloth and manipulation and exploitation of only living half a life; you come to a realization that indeed you are the tortured victim of self mistrust and fraud.  You are finally overcome and it is in the depths of that kind of suffering that you finally look for everything you must give up that contributed to that inauthentic life.

Once you come to grips with what is in your unconscious, what really has a claim upon your life, and how long you have suppressed it—it is only at this point that you begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel?  No!  It is only then that you see that you are in a tunnel and you are going to stay in that tunnel and you have to make the best of it—there is NO OTHER WAY.

Nietzsche is not giving us an easy way out by just taking a pill and going to sleep.  He is making us aware of the suffering involved with discovery and making real progress.  We must be willing to destroy the old before we can create anew and that destruction process is painful.  This is even more than Socrates’ admonition to “know thyself.”  To know oneself to Nietzsche is to understand our “divided nature,” and making ourselves worthy—worthy of what?—to finally make yourself worthy of one’s self.  If you don’t do this Nietzsche feels you are just a puppet, an instrument of another person’s purpose.  Much of this explanation of Nietzsche and suffering comes from Professor Robinson’s lecture on Nietzsche from The Teaching Company programs on philosophy.

Summary

In order to understand Nietzsche one must have experienced some significant suffering in their lives.  When a client has a serious Phoenix AZ IRS problem, there is a unique experience with suffering unlike having a painful medical problem.  It manifests itself in emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  That is why I am recommending you to contact Scott Allen E.A. for a free consultation.  He understands truly the importance of following through on the option that you decide is best for you.  You can contact Scott Allen E.A at 480-926-9300.

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What can you apply from Nietzsche’s Ubermensch or Superman if you have a Scottsdale Arizona IRS Tax problem?

The figure of Zarathustra is from Nietzsche’s best-known work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, which was published between 1883 and 1885.  Zarathustra is Nietzsche’s spokesperson who teaches that decadent Western values can only be restored by a new superhero, the Ubermensch or Superman.  The literal translation from German is Overman.  Zarathustra makes the announcement that the Ubermensch is what man is to become in the future if mankind is to have meaning in their lives.  For Nietzsche, the Overman embodies the fulfillment of the human search for meaning and he knows it will be some time in the future before this occurs.

Nietzsche’s Zarathustra says one must first grasp life and the true nature of living.

Nature says that whatever lives, obeys; that is, obeys the necessity that governs all reality.  He who cannot obey himself is commanded.  That is the nature of living.  Obeying oneself is harder than being commanded by others.  Life is nothing but a “will to power;” That is, the will to self-mastery.  Self-mastery for Zarathustra is not a means to an end but is an end in itself.

Opposition is essential for self-mastery, according to Zarathustra, but this opposition is not a competition.  There is no winner or loser in the quest for self-mastery outside of ourselves.  The Ubermensch is never identified by victory or domination over others—only over himself.  Here is Nietzsche from his book, The Gay Science:

I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful.  Amor Fati (love of fate): let that be my love henceforth!  I do not want to wage war against what is ugly.  I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse.  Looking away shall be my only negation.  And all in all and on the whole; someday I wish to be only a Yes-sayer.

What a sublime thought about the will to power.  The will to power is ultimately the power to say “yes” to the beauty of reality as it must be; Amor Fati, of what is necessary, of what must be because that is the way reality is, that’s the way reality works.

The Overman is Nietzsche’s ideal towards which human civilization should consciously be striving towards.  Nietzsche has a much higher vision of mankind that goes way beyond the limitations of human nature.  Perhaps even becoming Godlike—dare I say that.  Nietzsche admits that he is not an Ubermensch.  The closest that he ever comes to declare someone of this status is Goethe, whom I discuss in more detail in chapter 21.

He saw in Goethe a person who lived life at a different level than the rest of mankind.  He was truly a renaissance man that excelled at everything he did in the sciences and literary field of endeavor.  Goethe was not one who would try to keep up with the Jones’.  He had artistic integrity for its sake, and would never sacrifice that integrity to be popular or accepted by the masses.  Being an Overman would not give Goethe a license to defy the conventions of the time however.

There is a story that I find quite amusing about Goethe and Beethoven.  One day while they were in each other’s company, they decided to go out for a walk.  Picture in your mind’s eye, the two greatest geniuses of their time, walking down the street together, engaged in deep conversation.  As they were approached by a group of noblemen, Goethe steps aside courteously and acknowledges their nobility as they passed.  Meanwhile, Beethoven who is hard of hearing and has continued his conversation with Goethe, turns around to find that Goethe has stepped aside for these noblemen and is reported to have said in his Beethovenian way, “Come on, there are thousands of them, there are only two of us.”

Beethoven was right but the Overman label means more than being unconventional.  It was Goethe’s integrity, not anything that is superficial; it’s what was inside of Goethe’s being that Nietzsche was referring to when he used the term Ubermensch.  It was Goethe’s spirit that was capable of rising up to a level that the masses never aspire towards.

It is my belief that Nietzsche’s Superman was his way of describing man’s capability of eternally progressing from an ordinary natural man to something approaching the Gods.  Nietzsche hated putting limits on anything.  His vision of a Superman was not like our current day movie version that flies around catching criminals.  No, his version of a Superman was one who has complete control over their mind as well as their passions because they have chosen to be that way, not because it is the easy way out.

For Nietzsche the Ubermensch recognizes that life is nothing but passing over and through life towards death to a new life.  This brings us to his thought experiment called eternal recurrence.  Let me quote again from, The Gay Science:

What if some day or night a demon were to steal after you in your loneliest loneliness and say to you, “This life as you now live it and have lived it you’ll have to live once more an innumerably times more.  And there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, even this moment and I myself.  The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down, again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!”

“Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus?  Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him, “You are a God, and I never have heard anything more divine.”  If this thought gains possession of you, it would change you as you are or perhaps crush you.  The question in each and everything, “Do you desire this once more and innumerable times more?”  would lie upon your actions as the greatest weight.  Or how well-disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate confirmation and seal?

This is what it means to be a “Yes-sayer;” to be ready to say yes to reality exactly as it must occur so that you would wish nothing more than for the exact sequence of things as they had been to recur again and again and again.

Referring back to my very first paragraph of this chapter—We can see how entirely this concept of the eternal recurrence is meant to repudiate the whole spirit and dynamism of the Enlightenment which was built on the hope and confident belief that things would continue to change for the better for everyone and each new day would be get better and better.  Nietzsche says no.  The affirmation of life requires this discipline of mind that says yes to the present moment, as it is, as the only way to find meaning in life.

I would like to add one bit of admonition to the principle of eternal recurrence—act right now as if you are about to make the same mistake a second time, that you made the first time you were in this same situation.  If you accept this counsel you cannot use the excuse that you are not responsible for your decisions because fate had power over your agency to choose.

In summary, the Ubermensch is someone who is in control of his emotions and passions.  He is self-directed and is not swayed by public opinion.  He is his own person and accepts responsibility for his actions and does not live a life of resentment or regret.

Nietzsche developed this “thought experiment” as the ultimate test of how you feel about your life and how you are living right now in the present moment.  Nietzsche asks, “Are you capable of affirming your life in such a way that you would repeat it exactly as it is an infinite number of times?”

There is a movie called Groundhog Day, with Bill Murray, that used this theme of eternal recurrence except it wasn’t a whole life, it was just one day.  At first his predicament was used for self-indulgence.  This was followed up with boredom and several attempts to commit suicide.  Eventually, the main character decided to live his life in such a way that he could live it an innumerable number of times.  He made lots of mistakes but in the end he found not only happiness but also the girl of his dreams.

Summary

If you find yourself in the midst of having a serious Scottsdale AZ IRS problem, becoming a Ubermench or Superman as defined by Nietzsche may be the best way to deal with the situation.  Nietzsche is saying that it is wrong to fight against what has happened and the only real way out of your predicament is to accept that it has happened to the point that you would be able to do it all over again.  Not because it was right to get in trouble but because that is reality and dealing with reality is what life is all about.

Now that you find yourself in trouble with the Mesa AZ IRS, it’s time to make the right choice now as if you had the chance to make right what you did wrong the first time.  That choice is to call Scott Allen E.A. and schedule a free consultation.  Scott is available at 480-926-9300.  You will be glad you made the right choice the first time.

Print off this blog and bring it with you at the initial consultation and receive $50.00 off any IRS resolution work we do.  One blog offer per client.

info@taxdebtadvisors.com

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Aphorisms of Nietzsche and Gilbert AZ IRS Tax Problems—Part 2

As you consider the truths in Nietzsche’s aphorisms, I ask you to consider using Scott Allen E.A. if you have a serious Gilbert AZ IRS tax problem.  Scott has the expertise to advise you correctly and more importantly the ability to carry out what he promises to do.

Aphorisms of Nietzsche

  • To forget one’s purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.
  • When one has much to put into them, a day has a hundred pockets.

We need to be careful with this one, but it needs to be said.  Most IRS resolution companies have the wrong purpose—they see IRS help work as a profit making machine rather than a service to clients who are vulnerable and desperate for relief—not from their money but from their IRS problem.  During 2012 the 3 largest IRS resolution companies—I won’t mention their names, have all gone out of business and left literally hundreds of thousands of individuals stranded who have paid in hard earned money and gotten less than zero—in other words their clients are worse off for going to them.  Scott Allen E.A. knows the purpose of his business which is a family business started in 1977 helping individuals like you resolve their IRS matter.

  • That which needs to be proved cannot be worth much.

Sometimes potential clients will ask Scott Allen E.A. to prove that he can do what he says he can do.  Unfortunately, with most professions, it is impossible to prove that you can do something.  There will always be some area that is in doubt.  However, the feeling you will have inside after meeting with Scott will be the best evidence of proof that he is one who keeps his promises and will deliver the service you expect—provided you comply with his requests for timely information.  Nietzsche said it best, “That which needs to be proved cannot be worth much.”

  • A thought, even a possibility, can shatter and transform us.

It is amazing to see the transformation of clients once they have a belief that there is a possibility that Scott Allen E.A. can help them solve their IRS problem.  And seeing that transformation in a client’s countenance is what empowers Scott to go to work each day and enjoy what he does as well as any one.

  • The man who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself.

We see on occasion a prospective client that really doesn’t want to resolve their IRS problem.  They want to fight it, they want it to be the way they want it to be. These clients are “Tax Protesters.”  They don’t believe in paying any income tax and feel that paying taxes in unconstitutional.  We can’t help these clients because they want something for themselves that is against the law.

  • What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.

This is probably Nietzsche’s most famous quote.  It is often quoted as, “That which does not kill me only makes me stronger.”  You have a responsibility to yourself and your family to not be destroyed by your tax problem.  It’s too easy to just roll over and give up.  That is unnecessary.  But you probably will need some professional assistance so that your IRS matter doesn’t destroy you.

  • Maturity consists in having rediscovered the seriousness one had as a child at play.

There is something beautiful watching a child play.  They are in the moment and truly believe they are race car drivers or moving mountains of sand and dirt while at play.  I love to be present when I see this happening to Scott Allen E.A.  As he is working towards resolving a client’s IRS problem, the option that comes to his mind is very apparent when you start hearing Scott whistle or snap his fingers.  And if he is doing both at the same time—watch out—a miracle is about to happen to benefit one of his clients.

  • One must have a good memory to be able to keep the promises one makes.

The reason Scott Allen E.A. doesn’t have to have that good of a memory is that he has a “recipe” to follow once he has determined the best option to settle an Arizona IRS problem.  And he follows that recipe with exactness knowing that if he does the client will always get the best settlement the law allows.  It’s been that way for 36 years at his family business and there is no reason to change recipes now.

  • Perhaps I know best why it is man alone who laughs; he alone suffers so deeply that he had to invent laughter.

If you will notice, you will find yourself laughing quite a bit while working with Scott Allen E.A..  He has learned that one of the best ways to lessen the suffering you are going through is with humor.  Never think that it is a sign that he is not taking your IRS problem seriously.  No it’s just he wants to have some fun in that journey and clients enjoy the confidence that follows a good laugh.

I hope you enjoyed reading a few aphorisms of Friedrich Nietzsche and that you feel you know a little better what makes Scott Allen E.A. tick.  Call Scott today for a free consultation regarding your tax problem.  He can be reached at 480-926-9300.

www.taxdebtadvisors.com

Print off this blog and bring it with you at the initial consultation and receive $50.00 off any IRS resolution work we do.  One blog offer per client.

info@taxdebtadvisors.com

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Aphorisms of Nietzsche and Chandler Arizona IRS Problems—Part 1

First let’s review a short biography of Friedrich Nietzsche then we will review some of his aphorisms and learn how his wisdom can help us resolve Chandler AZ IRS Problems.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Nietzsche is my favorite philosopher to read.   I do not always agree with everything he says, but I wouldn’t trade those disagreements for all the ways he has strengthened my beliefs and much more importantly, purified my motives.  If Nietzsche offends you, maybe it is because you are afraid to find out what you really believe deep down inside of your soul.

Friedrich Nietzsche was born in Rocken, a small town in the Prussian province of Saxony (Germany), on October 15, 1844.  He was born into a home that descended from a long line of Lutheran preachers.

In 1869, at the age of only twenty-four, Nietzsche was appointed professor of classical philology at the University of Basel, where he taught for the next ten years.  Nietzsche wrote in an aphoristic style that was perfectly suited to his iconoclastic beliefs and his piercing observations that lay bare the hidden motivations underlying many aspects of human behavior.  Freud remarked that Nietzsche’s insights often agree in the most amazing manner with psychoanalysis.  He further stated that he stopped reading Nietzsche so that he could discover something on his own.

A colleague wrote, “Nietzsche enjoyed the good will of all the colleagues who knew him, as he was thoroughly inoffensive by nature.  His amiable attitude toward doctoral candidates “was never unfriendly or irritated but held conferences in a kind, though superior, manner…”

Nietzsche went through periods late in life when he did not write.  “Now nothing more will be printed, for a number of years, –I absolutely have to withdraw and wait until I can shake the last fruit from my tree.”  But when inspiration came he would return to his only true love, writing.  “There have been…hours when an immense all-inclusive philosophy…spreads out before my eyes.”

In 1888 shortly before he lapsed into permanent insanity, he wrote, “Nearly every day for one or two hours, I have mustered the energy required to see my whole conception from top to bottom. I feel more than ever the great serenity and certainty of being on my way and even close to a great goal.  I am now the most grateful person in the world; it is my great harvest time.  Everything is easy for me, I succeed in everything, although scarcely anybody has ever dealt with such great things.”

One of his last admissions was, “I myself never got beyond attempts and ventures, never beyond prologues and promises.”

Nietzsche resigned from his professorship in 1879 owning to chronic ill health.  He suffered from paralyzing migraine headaches.  He lived on a university pension at resorts in Italy, France and Switzerland.

In January 1889 Nietzsche collapsed on a street in Turin, Italy, and from that moment on he rapidly descended into insanity.  He remained in a condition of mental and physical paralysis until his death in Weimar on August 25, 1900.

Nietzsche’s passion to communicate did not prevent him from living a life of intense loneliness.  His friends included people of status in the arts and sciences, but he could not maintain those relationships.  Nietzsche never married even though it was something he deeply desired.

Aphorisms of Nietzsche

As you read the following aphorisms of Friedrich Nietzsche I would ask you to consider each one as a guide to how you should chose who should represent you before the IRS should you need professional expertise.  May I be so bold to recommend that you serious consider a free consultation with Scott Allen E.A.  He has the skills and knowledge to resolve your IRS problem.  He can be reached at 480-926-9300.  When you call, you will talk personally with Scott Allen E.A. and he alone will resolve your tax matter from beginning to end.

  • I’m not upset that you lied to me; I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.

It’s not that tax clients “lie” be some are prone to leave out important facts that are critical to the resolution of an IRS tax debt.  In fact there have been some instances where the intentional omission of certain facts resulted in a settlement that was less favorable than what Scott would have negotiated had he knew the full truth up front.  Always be willing to trust Scott Allen E.A. the full truth about your situation.  He will never judge you—in fact it will empower him to work even harder to get the settlement you deserve.

  • Distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful.

It is the impulse of the IRS to punish at worse and intimidate at the least to get the most from you whether it be right or wrong, or due to their own lack of knowledge of tax law as it pertains to IRS matters.  Scott Allen E.A. knows IRS tax law and more important than that   the IRS knows that Scott know the law.  Scott is able to get the best IRS settlement ALLOWED BY LAW.

  • Talking too much about oneself may be a way of hiding oneself.

Probably the most impressive trait of Scott Allen E.A. is that he allows clients to talk while he listens.  You will never hear him making promises he can’t keep.  The most he will ever say is, “I can help you.  Do you want to get started today?’  The rest is up to you.  I promise you will know at that point you have come to the right person.

  • He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.

Tempe AZ IRS problems can be so very hard to bear, but if you have a belief it will eventually be favorably resolved, you will be up to the task.  One of the most difficult part of IRS settlement is not the IRS, it is clients who seem to be reluctant to follow through on relatively simple requests for information that would allow them to remove the “handcuffs of the IRS.”   I plead with you to take seriously this advice.  Follow what Scott Allen E.A. asks you to do and he will be able to keep his promises and many times exceed them on your behalf.

I implore you today to call Scott Allen E.A. for a free Mesa AZ tax consultation at 480-926-9300.  You will never regret following his advice and will enjoy the benefits of his expertise.

Print off this blog and bring it with you at the initial consultation and receive $60.00 off any IRS resolution work we do.  One blog offer per client.

info@taxdebtadvisors.com

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Schopenhauer Quotes that help resolve Tempe AZ IRS Problems

First let’s review a brief biography and then consider the genius of his quotes.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

Arthur Schopenhauer was born in 1788 in the city of Danzig, Germany on the Baltic Sea.    He was the son of Heinrich and Johanna Schopenhauer, who were both descendants of wealthy German middle class families.  In 1805 Schopenhauer’s father committed suicide when he was only 16 years old.  His mother, who was a famous author, kicked Arthur out of her home when Goethe told her that her son was destined for great things. She followed this up with a letter and wrote, “I hope I never have to see you again.” She could not tolerate any competition from her son for the attention she desired only for herself.  There is no doubt that these experiences contributed to Schopenhauer’s view of the world and his philosophy.

Schopenhauer knew at a very young age that he was a genius.  A fact that his parents often wished was not discovered by their son until after he was out of their home.  There are letters from his parents written to him when he was a child asking him why he was so disagreeable?  Why do you need to challenge what everyone says and not accept what others have to say?  He was convinced of his genius all his life.  Schopenhauer sincerely believed in his genius and his purpose in life was to bring his view of the truth to others not able to “see the target.”

Schopenhauer became a student at the University of Gottingen in 1809.  There he studied metaphysics and psychology.  In 1818 Schopenhauer published his masterpiece, The World as Will and Idea. In 1820, Schopenhauer became a lecturer at the University of Berlin.  It was there that he came into direct competition with  G. W. F. Hegel, whose philosophy he despised.  He scheduled his own lectures to coincide with Hegel’s in an attempt to destroy student support of Hegel’s philosophy.  However, only 5 students came to his first lecture and none came to his second and Schopenhauer dropped out of academia and never taught at a university again.  This was the only job that Schopenhauer ever had and it lasted only one day.

While living in Berlin, Schopenhauer was named as a defendant in a law suit by a woman named Caroline Marquet.  She asked for damages, alleging that Schopenhauer had pushed her.  Knowing that he was a man of some means and that he disliked noise, she deliberately annoyed him by raising her voice while standing right outside his door.  Marquet alleged that the philosopher had assaulted and battered her after she refused to leave his doorway.  Her companion testified that she saw Marquet prostrate outside of his apartment.  Because Marquet won the lawsuit, he made payments to her for the next twenty years.  When she died, he wrote on a copy of her death certificate, “Obit anus, abet onus.”  (Latin for, “The old woman dies, the burden is lifted).  Schopenhauer tended to rub people the wrong way and if they got in his way he was not hesitant to abuse them in his writings, verbally or as in this example physically.

Schopenhauer was considered a liberal in his social views: he was strongly against taboos on issues like suicide and homosexuality.  He condemned the treatment of African slaves and supported the abolitionist movement in the United States.  He was very concerned about the rights of animals and praised the establishment of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in London and the Animals’ Friends Society in Philadelphia.

In 1831, a cholera epidemic broke out in Berlin and both Hegel and Schopenhauer fled the city.  Hegel returned prematurely, caught the infection and died a few days later.  Schopenhauer moved south and settled permanently in Frankfurt in 1833.  He remained there for the next 27 years living all alone except the companionship of two poodles named Atma and Butz.  He enjoyed good health until 1860.  He died sitting in his armchair of heart failure on September 21 of that year at the age of 72.

Schopenhauer Quotes

  • The ordinary aims at a target other cannot miss; Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.

Scott Allen E.A. near Tempe AZ will hit a target no one else can see if you will do your part to make that possible.  That means showing up to all your appointments, provide the information requested and doing that in a timely basis.  You will be amazed at what Scott can do if you follow those three simple requests.

  • If you want to know your true opinion of someone, watch the effect produced in you by the first sight of a letter from him.

It’s not appropriate to refer to the IRS as a “him”, but if you remember the feelings you got when you first saw a letter addressed to you from the IRS you can understand what Schopenhauer communicates with this quote.

  • It is a clear gain to sacrifice pleasure in order to avoid pain.

Some solutions to your IRS problem make take lots of time and effort on your part to complete—even with the assistance of an Tempe Arizona IRS resolution expert.  But as Schopenhauer advises, please be willing to “sacrifice pleasure in order to avoid pain.”

  • Just remember, once you’re over the hill you begin to pick up speed.

Once you get past the initial steps towards resolving your IRS problem with Scott, you will be over the hill and will pick up speed towards your ultimate resolution of your tax matter with the IRS.

  • Reading is the equivalent to thinking with someone else’s head instead of your own.

Hopefully you have noticed that as you read these blogs, you are actually getting into the head of Scott Allen E.A. and have a better idea of who he is and are gaining confidence in his abilities to help you with your IRS problem in Tempe AZ.

  • The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom.

This quote applies to having an IRS problem.  Your problem will cause you lots of pain if it isn’t resolved timely, and lots of boredom not being able to enjoy the simple pleasures life offers like you used to.

May I frankly and humbly suggest that you call Scott Allen E.A. if you have a Tempe AZ IRS problem?  He will meet with you for a free consultation and offer you the benefit of seeing what he can do to help you.  He can be reached at 480-926-9300.

Print off this blog and bring it with you at the initial consultation and receive $65.00 off any IRS resolution work we do.  One blog offer per client.

info@taxdebtadvisors.com

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Schopenhauer’s Philosophy and Arizona IRS Tax Problems

Schopenhauer’s philosophy is considered by many to be deeply pessimistic.  But he obviously must have made some valid observations since Nietzsche, Freud, Jung, Wagner, Mahler, Schoenberg, Darwin, Proust, Kafka, O’Neill, Tolstoy and Einstein credit him for having great influence on their work.  This list includes leaders in philosophy, music, science, psychoanalysis, authors and playwrights.  The breath of Schopenhauer’s influence makes his life and work worthy of serious review.

Schopenhauer wrote that the will is a blind, rationally inaccessible force that is a primitive energy.  This energy manifests itself in and through everything.  The will gives us pleasure so that we will reproduce and pain so that we will avoid being eaten.  It is impersonal, insatiable and dwells within us.  It is a source of considerable suffering.  After you satisfy the cravings and desires of the will, you have a brief respite, but then typically you become bored.  As Schopenhauer put it, “Life is nothing but a pendulum swinging between the pain of unfulfilled desires and boredom.  Once we fulfill our desires then we are satiated and our strivings are quieted momentarily but we immediately sink into boredom or emptiness.”  Schopenhauer says that unsatisfied desires often have unfortunate and painful consequences.  So the two options for human existence are pain and boredom.  As long as one is alive, they are under siege by the will and the only way to eliminate that is to eliminate one’s self.  Schopenhauer felt that Buddhism offered a way to minimize the negative effects of the will.

Even though Schopenhauer was so pessimistic in his views of life, does not mean that he did not enjoy life.  Nietzsche reminds us in his book, Beyond Good and Evil, “One must remember that Schopenhauer played the flute every night after dinner.”  Nietzsche felt that Schopenhauer still found things in life that he enjoyed despite his pessimistic philosophy.

One must ask the question, “Was Schopenhauer’s view of life appropriate for everyone or just Schopenhauer?”  And secondly, was Schopenhauer more vulnerable to the strivings of the will than others?  Was he such a pained, fearful, neurotic person that his personality influenced his philosophy or did he actually discover the truth about certain things that lead to his view of the world?  I think it highly probably that we are all affected to one degree or another by this will, but that degree differs from person to person.  And we are probably more prone to the effects of the will at certain stressful points during our lives than others.  Schopenhauer would disagree with my points here.  He felt that we are all affected by the will beyond our ability to deal with it and find meaning in life.  All we can do is try to minimize its effect on us.

The world is not just will to Schopenhauer, it is also idea.  The world is what we think it is and that is always an illusion or a perception.  The world is what our mind tells us it is.  There is no reality, only illusion and even though an illusion is shared by many, it is still not reality.  Life is just a spark in between two pools of darkness without any meaning or purpose.

Schopenhauer felt himself in competition with Hegel.  In one of his writings he stated, “I wish to apologize to the reader of the future for mentioning Hegel, a philosopher you have never heard of.”  Hegel celebrated the human spirit and taught his students how to enjoy that spirit.  He believed that the human spirit controlled the destiny of history.  In another classroom across the hall was Schopenhauer saying, “There is a force that wells up in you.  It is always there.  It gnaws at you.  It is always victimizing you because it wants more and more.  If you get what you want, you get bored.  If you get what you want it might even be painful.  Usually you don’t get what you want.”

Schopenhauer contradicted Hegel by saying that history doesn’t have a rational direction.  History is just things happening and they happen because of this will that we experience through us, that is at work all the time trying to express and satisfy itself.  He would say things like “we have these fancy philosophical types who are telling us we can celebrate the human spirit.  They are telling us that we can learn to conquer our desires through reason.  They tell us that we can be creative and remove ourselves from the will that is pulsating through us.  That is all fine and good, but just let yourself experience your life and think about how you want food, sex, and excitement.  Sometimes you get what you want and most of the time you don’t.  Most of your desires are not met at all.  So you suffer.  You are always in a state of tension because of suffering, because of desire, because of the will.  You are not even conscious of the will.  It is buried below your conscious mind.”

As you can see Schopenhauer philosophy is very unpleasant and pessimistic.  His ideas did not make people feel comfortable.  Some have referred to it as “metaphysics from hell.”  Life is a state of being where your desires are not satisfied and your questions are never answered. And you are stuck.  There are no options except suicide and if you give in to suicide then you gave in to the will.  This is pretty pessimistic stuff.

Nietzsche and Schopenhauer started at the same point with the same data and came to different conclusions.  Both looked at life very accurately, both had no supernatural belief.  Both looked directly at the reality of death, and both looked at nothingness.  Nietzsche affirmed and embraced life and Schopenhauer chose to negate it.  Hume and Schopenhauer had the same basic beliefs and reacted much differently.  Hume was a very pleasant English gentleman and on his deathbed was asked how being an atheist he could be so calm facing death.  Hume replied that there was nothing before he was born and he didn’t want to be bored with an association of those who thought they were going to heaven.  There was absolutely no hint of pessimism or regret.  So it seems that personality and life experiences must have an impact on the philosopher’s philosophy.  It has been said that one must first understand the life of the philosopher before trying to understand their philosophy and that one follows the other.  But Schopenhauer did not just take us to the edge of the abyss and leave us there to fend for ourselves.  He offered remedies to the human condition as he saw it.  His remedies are valuable insights into living life whether you believe in effects of the will.

Schopenhauer offers four methods of escape from this pulsing energy he called “the will.”   The first solution is what he called aesthetic contemplation.  For example we can get our minds off of things by seeing a movie or watching a sporting event.  During Schopenhauer’s time you might go look at a painting or other types of art to get your mind off the underlying agony that is the constant companion of all humans.  He admits that this type of relief is only fleeting and cannot sustain permanent relief.  This notion of getting disengaged from life by getting one’s mind off of its misery can be helpful for a while.  This may explain why the entertainment industry is so popular today.

The second suggestion Schopenhauer makes is the cultivation of sympathy for one’s fellow beings.  That too is only temporary.  It was Schopenhauer’s view that we should recognize that everyone is struggling with the will.  All of us are suffering from its manifestations.  We all suffer the same agonies, and the realization that we are all in this together makes coping with it easier.  Having true sympathy or compassion, and understanding that everyone is struggling with the same thing, partially removes the ravages of the will.  It is not a cure, but at least something that can temporarily help us along and perhaps engender a noncompetitive acceptance of the condition we all face as human beings.

The third suggestion is music.  He believed that music has a special capacity to capture the will and lessen its negative impact on us.  Schopenhauer believed that music has a calming effect.  Music for Schopenhauer is not meant to make us understand anything.  It is to get us away from thinking about anything.  The music he listened to was usually without words or lyrics.  Mozart not Rap.  He thinks that music speaks in a language that can and does put us more at peace with ourselves.

The fourth suggestion is the most challenging.  Hold your breath—the best we might do is lose the will to live.  Schopenhauer thinks perhaps the best of all the remedies for the disease called life and its agonies would be to reach a condition of calm and tranquil passivity where our individual wills do not torment us anymore.  We don’t allow anything to matter to us, even our very selves.  It is his view that the loss of the will to live is not the same as the desire to commit suicide.  He is suggesting that we reach a benign and mellow point where things don’t matter anymore, even you.

In summary the human predicament is that we are victims of life.  Life itself is the disease and we need a cure from that disease and all the knowledge in the world will not bring about a cure. Schopenhauer brings a very strongly negative and pessimistic element into European philosophical thinking.  He believes that the best we can accomplish is to find whatever peace of mind we can.  This requires a disengagement from the painful cycle of desire and satisfaction of desires.

Schopenhauer proposed a thought experiment in which you go to a cemetery and knock on any tombstone and ask the person there if they want to be alive again and his conclusion was that none of the dead would want to be alive again.  Nietzsche would contradict Schopenhauer on this point by saying, if you lived well, if you lived life to its fullest, you would be willing to live it again an innumerable number of times.  This was Nietzsche’s law of eternal recurrence.  That one must embrace and affirm life to the point that we would want to live it all over again an infinite number of times exactly the same way.

Schopenhauer was very taken with Buddhist beliefs.  He was the major influential figure who brought Buddhist thinking to the West in a way that made it spread.  The message of Buddhism is that life is suffering and to be alive is to suffer.  Buddha said, “All is suffering.”  Suffering is brought about by desire and desire does have a cure and the cure is to lose our attachment to our desires.  It is this disengagement that Schopenhauer recommends.

Schopenhauer’s remedies are: aesthetic contemplation, cultivating sympathy for our fellow beings, good music, and disengagement from our attachments and desires are similar to many admonitions from the scriptures.  The scriptures teach us that we should be willing to bear one another’s burdens, mourn with those who mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort and to deny ourselves of all ungodliness.  Despite his pessimism, there is much to benefit from understanding the following quotes of Schopenhauer.

So how does Schopenhauer’s philosophy relate to having an IRS problem?  The IRS is like “the will.”  It is unrelenting in its pursuit of you and your assets if you have an Arizona IRS debt.  And Schopenhauer’s remedies will resonate with you during your first free consultation with Scott Allen E.A.  You will be able to enjoy life more just knowing that you have a plan to resolve your tax debt.  You will sense Scott’s sympathy for your situation with the IRS.  You are not a number to Scott; you are a person with feelings and fears about what the IRS can do to you.   You may not agrees with Scott’s choice of music, but his actions and results will be music to you.  And finally, you will lose your neurotic attachment to your property once you know that Scott Allen E.A. of Mesa AZ will be able to protect them from IRS seizure and levy action.  Call Scott Allen E.A. at 480-926-9300 and put your mind at ease.

Print off this blog and bring it with you at the initial consultation and receive 10% off any IRS resolution work we do.  One blog offer per client.

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Dostoevsky explains the problem with freedom and IRS problems

Many of our clients “confess” that they got in trouble with the IRS because it was so easy to do—in other words, they had the freedom to get in trouble.  Dostoevsky explains that freedom is a burden that most people are incapable of handling.  Now that you have made some choices with your freedom that have gotten you in trouble with the IRS, you need a professional that can help you to understand the choices you now need to make to get out of trouble.

May I recommend that your choice should be Scott Allen E.A.  He has the understanding not only of how to get your out of trouble with the IRS but he also has the ability to counsel you how to use your freedom to make correct choices on how to stay out of trouble in the future.

Scott Allen E.A. offers a free consultation and can be reached at 480-926-9300.

Now let’s look at what Dostoevsky has to say about how to use our freedom.

In the second chapter of Book 5 of The Brothers Karamazov, Ivan tells Alyosha a parable entitled “The Grand Inquisitor” to illustrate why he believes that Christianity has failed utterly to deal with the ultimate source of the problem of evil.  The Grand Inquisitor goes so far as to say that God is the very source of the problem.

The parable tells of a powerful 16th century Spanish Jesuit Cardinal—The Grand Inquisitor—who is the leader of the Inquisition in Seville, Spain.  In the parable, Jesus returns to Earth and performs a miracle in Seville, raising a dead child to life (this is analogous to the boy torn apart by the hounds).

The Cardinal has Jesus arrested for this public display, charging that rather than bring salvation, Jesus has in the past and once again placed upon suffering humanity, the additional and intolerable burden of freedom and with freedom, responsibility for themselves.  The Inquisitor says to the captive Jesus:

For the secret of man’s being is not only to live but to have something to live for (have meaning in their lives).  Without a stable conception of the object of life, man would not consent to go on living, and would rather destroy himself than remain on earth, though he had bread in abundance.  That is true.  But what happened?  Instead of taking men’s freedom from them, Thou didst make it greater than ever!  Didst Thou forget that man prefers peace and even death, to freedom of choice in the knowledge of good and evil?  Nothing is more seductive for man than his freedom of control, but nothing is a greater cause of suffering.  And behold, instead of giving a firm foundation for setting the conscience of man at rest for ever.  Thou didst choose all that is exceptional, vague, and enigmatic; Thou didst choose what was utterly beyond the strength of men, acting as though Thou didst not love them at all—Thou who didst come to give Thy life for them!  Instead of taking possession of men’s freedom, Thou didst increase it, and burdened the spiritual kingdom of mankind with its sufferings forever.

The human predicament in the mind of the Grand Inquisitor seems to be either happiness, peace and contentment, or freedom and responsibility which lead to unavoidable suffering.   These two are mutually exclusive according to Ivan as he expresses in his parable of The Grand Inquisitor.  So how does Dostoevsky escape what he has so eloquently put forth with the character of Ivan the rationalist?  Is there any way that Dostoevsky can drag us through all this atheistic mud and then wash us clean enough to still believe in the goodness of God?

Yes, but you will have to read the previous blog about Dostoevsky and Forgiveness.  Again if you have found yourself in trouble with the IRS, please call Scott Allen E.A. at 480-926-9300.  He will help you in unique ways that others are not able to do.  His IRS tax resolution business is a family business that started in 1977 and continues today because he provides the same level of service as its founders—his parents.

Print off this blog and bring it with you at the initial consultation and receive $50.00 off any IRS resolution work we do.  One blog offer per client.

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