The great philosopher Schopenhauer thought that the world was not a rational place, and that throughout nature all creatures were constantly struggling to overcome death — in a Darwinian death-match. All of us exhibit a “will to live” — which is futile — since death comes to all eventually. Art plays an important role — since it is the only activity man does for its own sake, not as part of the daily struggle to survive. Contemplating art, for Schopenhauer, provided a safe harbour away from the brutal storms of life.
“We should comfort ourselves with the masterpieces of art as with exalted personages — stand quietly before them and wait until they speak to us.”