At a much earlier period Schopenhauer in Parerga und Paralipomena had expressed the opinion that the two things which mark modern social life, in distinction from that of antiquity, and to the advantage of the latter, are the knightly principle of honor and venereal disease; together, he added, they have poisoned life, and introduced a hostile and even diabolical element into the relations of the sexes, which has indirectly affected all other social relationships.

The essays in this volume form part of the corollary; they are taken from a collection published towards the close of Schopenhauer's life, and by him entitled Parerga und Paralipomena, as being in the nature of surplusage and illustrative of his main position. They are by far the most popular of his works, and since their first publication in 1851, they have done much to build up his fame.

Many other instances of a like character might be given from the Paralipomena; but the foregoing will suffice to show that the natural inclination of Cardan's temper towards the marvellous had been aggravated by his recent troubles. Also the belief that all men's hands were against him never slumbered, but for this disposition there may well have been some justification.

In his Paralipomena, "the last fruit off an old tree," which he put together about this time, there are numerous stories of prodigies and portents; of doors which would not close, and doors which opened of their own accord; of rappings on the walls, and of mysterious thunderings and noises during the night.

The Paralipomena were not in print and available, but what can be read in them to-day doubtless reflects with accuracy the attitude of Cardan's mind towards religious matters in 1570.

It stirred in me a veritable indignation against both author and translator. Was philosophy nothing but mystification, as it is assumed to be by artists and shop clerks? Reading Parerga and Paralipomena reconciled me to philosophy. After that I bought in French The Critique of Pure Reason, The World as Will and Idea, and a number of other books.

By all means wrap yourself in your despotic furs, there is no one to whom they are more appropriate, cruel goddess of love and of beauty! After a while I add a few verses from Goethe, which I recently found in his paralipomena to Faust.

Though the Paralipomena were locked in his desk, it is almost certain that the spirit with which they were inspired would have infected Cardan's brain, and prompted him to repeat in words the views on religion and a future state which he had already put on paper, for he rarely let discretion interfere with the enunciation of any opinion he favoured.

In the Paralipomena are many passages written in the spirit of universalism, and treating of the divine principle as something which animates wise men alone, wise men and philosophers of every age and every clime, Aristotle being the head and chief. Plato and Socrates and the Seven Sages adorn this illustrious circle, which includes likewise the philosophers of Chaldea and Egypt.

He published these essays in 1841 under the title of "The Two Fundamental Problems of Ethics," and ten years later Parerga und Paralipomena the composition of which had engaged his attention for five or six years.