“For to him who does works of love the veil of Maya has become transparent, the illusion of the principium individuationis has left him. He recognizes himself, his will, in every being, and consequently also in the sufferer. He is now free from the perversity with which the will to live, not recognizing itself, here in one individual enjoys a fleeting and precarious pleasure, and there in another pays for it with suffering and starvation, and thus both inflicts and endures misery, not knowing that, like Thyestes, it eagerly devours its own flesh; and then, on the one hand, laments its undeserved suffering, and on the other hand transgresses without fear of Nemesis, always merely because, involved in the principium individuationis, thus generally in the kind of knowledge which is governed by the principle of sufficient reason, it does not recognize itself in the foreign phenomenon, and therefore does not perceive eternal justice. To be cured of this illusion and deception of Maya, and to do works of love, are one and the same. But the latter is the necessary and inevitable symptom of that knowledge.
The opposite of the sting of conscience, the origin and significance of which is explained above, is the good conscience, the satisfaction which we experience after every disinterested deed. It arises from the fact that such a deed, as it proceeds from the direct recognition of our own inner being in the phenomenon of another, affords us also the verification of this knowledge, the knowledge that our true Self exists not only in our own person, this particular manifestation, but in everything that lives.
By this the heart feels itself enlarged, as by egoism it is contracted.
For as the latter concentrates our interest upon the particular manifestation of our own individuality, upon which knowledge always presents to us the innumerable dangers which constantly threaten this manifestation, and anxiety and care becomes the key-note of our disposition; the knowledge that everything living is just as much our own inner nature, as is our own person, extends our interest to everything living; and in this way the heart is enlarged. Thus through the diminished interest in our own self, the anxious care for the self is attacked at its very root and limited; hence the peace, the unbroken serenity, which a virtuous disposition and a good conscience affords, and the more distinct appearance of this with every good deed, for it proves to ourselves the depth of that disposition.”
- Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation