Facebook and Schopenhauer

“Every parting is a foretaste of death, and every reunion a foretaste of resurrection. That is why even people who were indifferent to one another rejoice so much when they meet again after twenty or thirty years.” — Schopenhauer (Essays and Aphorisms)

SchopenhauerI recently joined Facebook®. I thought maybe by networking I could get the word out about my philosophical counseling and life coaching practice.

A few weeks ago, thanks to Facebook, I was delighted that a cousin of mine, whom I had not spoken to in quite some years, reconnected with me via Facebook. Then, only last week, I heard from a third cousin, whom I hadn’t ever met before. She had, though, been briefly acquainted with my mother and my sister. But that was over 30 years ago. I was glad that she wrote me, for it is apparent that she is a very fine person. But, I was a bit surprised, by the enthusiasm and sheer joy that overflowed her e-mail. To her, this reconnection of distant relatives was an event of great moment.

When I forwarded my third-cousin’s e-mail to my sister, she was a bit perplexed. My sister was happy to hear about her third-cousin being alive and well, but she too was surprised by her third-cousin’s enthusiasm. What really was the source of my third cousin’s joy?

Re-read the quote by Arthur Schopenhauer. He was not a Christian philosopher, and so it is not clear why Schopenhauer would write of resurrection. But resurrection can also be taken in a symbolic and mystical sense. I really think that my third cousin’s joy of reconnecting with her long-lost relatives is symbolic of a deeper interest, the longing for self-renewal and rebirth. That longing grows when one enters one’s fifties, unless, of course, one has already experienced rebirth, in any one of its varieties.

The thing to do is to reconnect with one’s true self, the Self that is more primary than one’s ego. That would be a most joyous reunion, a true resurrection! There is, then, one face that one will never find in Facebook. It is, what the Buddhists refer to as “the face you had before you were born.”

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