Arthur Schopenhauer Quotes

Arthur Schopenhauer Quote

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) was a German philosopher who is best known for his pessimistic views on life and human nature. He was born in Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland) to a wealthy merchant family and studied philosophy at the University of Berlin. He became a professor of philosophy at the University of Berlin in 1820, but his views were unpopular and he was largely ignored during his lifetime.

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Schopenhauer’s philosophy is rooted in the concept of the will-to-live, which he believed was the driving force behind all human behavior. He saw the will as an irrational and insatiable force that could never be satisfied, and he believed that the only way to escape its influence was through asceticism or aesthetic experience. He saw human existence as a perpetual struggle between the will-to-live and reason, and believed that reason was ultimately powerless to overcome the will.

Despite his lack of popularity during his lifetime, Schopenhauer’s ideas had a significant influence on later philosophers, including Friedrich Nietzsche and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Today, he is considered one of the most important thinkers of the 19th century, and his ideas continue to be studied and debated by philosophers around the world.

1. “Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.”

2. “Compassion is the basis of morality.”

3. “A man can be himself only so long as he is alone; and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.”

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4. “Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things.”

5. “Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.”

Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world. - Arthur Schopenhauer

6. “The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.”

7. “It is difficult to find happiness within oneself, but it is impossible to find it anywhere else.”

8.“Happiness consists in frequent repetition of pleasure”

9. “The person who writes for fools is always sure of a large audience.”

10. “They tell us that Suicide is the greatest piece of Cowardice… That Suicide is wrong; when it is quite obvious that there is nothing in this world to which every man has a more unassailable title than to his own life and person.”

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11. “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

12. “One should use common words to say uncommon things”

13. “Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.”

14. “When we read, another person thinks for us: we merely repeat his mental process. In learning to write, the pupil goes over with his pen what the teacher has outlined in pencil: so in reading; the greater part of the work of thought is already done for us. This is why it relieves us to take up a book after being occupied with our own thoughts. And in reading, the mind is, in fact, only the playground of another’s thoughts. So it comes about that if anyone spends almost the whole day in reading, and by way of relaxation devotes the intervals to some thoughtless pastime, he gradually loses the capacity for thinking; just as the man who always rides, at last forgets how to walk. This is the case with many learned persons: they have read themselves stupid.”

15. “The art of not reading is a very important one. It consists in not taking an interest in whatever may be engaging the attention of the general public at any particular time. When some political or ecclesiastical pamphlet, or novel, or poem is making a great commotion, you should remember that he who writes for fools always finds a large public. A precondition for reading good books is not reading bad ones: for life is short.”

16. “Life is a constant process of dying.”

17. “… that when you’re buying books, you’re optimistically thinking you’re buying the time to read them. (Paraphrase of Schopenhauer)”

18. “We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves in order to be like other people.”

19. “A sense of humour is the only divine quality of man”

20. “A high degree of intellect tends to make a man unsocial.”

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21. “We will gradually become indifferent to what goes on in the minds of other people when we acquire a knowledge of the superficial nature of their thoughts, the narrowness of their views and of the number of their errors. Whoever attaches a lot of value to the opinions of others pays them too much honor.”

22. “If children were brought into the world by an act of pure reason alone, would the human race continue to exist? Would not a man rather have so much sympathy with the coming generation as to spare it the burden of existence, or at any rate not take it upon himself to impose that burden upon it in cold blood?”

23. “It is a wise thing to be polite; consequently, it is a stupid thing to be rude. To make enemies by unnecessary and willful incivility, is just as insane a proceeding as to set your house on fire. For politeness is like a counter–an avowedly false coin, with which it is foolish to be stingy.”

24. “What disturbs and depresses young people is the hunt for happiness on the firm assumption that it must be met with in life. From this arises constantly deluded hope and so also dissatisfaction. Deceptive images of a vague happiness hover before us in our dreams, and we search in vain for their original. Much would have been gained if, through timely advice and instruction, young people could have had eradicated from their minds the erroneous notion that the world has a great deal to offer them.”

25.“It would be better if there were nothing. Since there is more pain than pleasure on earth, every satisfaction is only transitory, creating new desires and new distresses, and the agony of the devoured animal is always far greater than the pleasure of the devourer”

26. “Treat a work of art like a prince: let it speak to you first.”

Treat a work of art like a prince: let it speak to you first. - Arthur Schopenhauer

27. “Religion is the masterpiece of the art of animal training, for it trains people as to how they shall think. ”

28. “Great men are like eagles, and build their nest on some lofty solitude”

30. “So the problem is not so much to see what nobody has yet seen, as to think what nobody has yet thought concerning that which everybody sees.”

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31. “Life swings like a pendulum backward and forward between pain and boredom.”

32. “Without books the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are the engines of change, windows on the world, “Lighthouses” as the poet said “erected in the sea of time.” They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind, Books are humanity in print.”

33. “No rose without a thorn but many a thorn without a rose.”

34. “Hope is the confusion of the desire for a thing with its probability. ”

35. “We can regard our life as a uselessly disturbing episode in the blissful repose of nothingness.”

36.“Marrying means to halve one’s rights and double one’s duties”

37. “Human life must be some kind of mistake. The truth of this will be sufficiently obvious if we only remember that man is a compound of needs and necessities hard to satisfy; and that even when they are satisfied, all he obtains is a state of painlessness, where nothing remains to him but abandonment to boredom. This is direct proof that existence has no real value in itself; for what is boredom but the feeling of the emptiness of life? If life—the craving for which is the very essence of our being—were possessed of any positive intrinsic value, there would be no such thing as boredom at all: mere existence would satisfy us in itself, and we should want for nothing.”

38.“Philosophy … is a science, and as such has no articles of faith; accordingly, in it nothing can be assumed as existing except what is either positively given empirically, or demonstrated through indubitable conclusions.”

39. “The safest way of not being very miserable is not to expect to be very happy.”

40. “I have not yet spoken my last word about women. I believe that if a woman succeeds in withdrawing from the mass, or rather raising herself from above the mass, she grows ceaselessly and more than a man.”

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41. “Reading is merely a surrogate for thinking for yourself; it means letting someone else direct your thoughts. Many books, moreover, serve merely to show how many ways there are of being wrong, and how far astray you yourself would go if you followed their guidance. You should read only when your own thoughts dry up, which will of course happen frequently enough even to the best heads; but to banish your own thoughts so as to take up a book is a sin against the holy ghost; it is like deserting untrammeled nature to look at a herbarium or engravings of landscapes.”

42. “The inexpressible depth of music, so easy to understand and yet so inexplicable, is due to the fact that it reproduces all the emotions of our innermost being, but entirely without reality and remote from its pain… Music expresses only the quintessence of life and its events, never these themselves.”

43. “Every parting gives a foretaste of death, every reunion a hint of the resurrection.”

Every parting gives a foretaste of death, every reunion a hint of the resurrection. - Arthur Schopenhaurer

44. “The life of every individual, viewed as a whole and in general, and when only its most significant features are emphasized, is really a tragedy; but gone through in detail it has the character of a comedy.”

45. “Buying books would be a good thing if one could also buy the time to read them; but as a rule the purchase of books is mistaken for the appropriation of their contents.”

46. “Pleasure is never as pleasant as we expected it to be and pain is always more painful. The pain in the world always outweighs the pleasure. If you don’t believe it, compare the respective feelings of two animals, one of which is eating the other.”

47. “If I maintain my silence about my secret it is my prisoner…if I let it slip from my tongue, I am ITS prisoner.”

48. “The shortness of life, so often lamented, may be the best thing about it.”

49. “Wealth is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become; and the same is true of fame.”

50. “the world is my idea”

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51. “Just as one spoils the stomach by overfeeding and thereby impairs the whole body, so can one overload and choke the mind by giving it too much nourishment. For the more one reads the fewer are the traces left of what one has read; the mind is like a tablet that has been written over and over. Hence it is impossible to reflect; and it is only by reflection that one can assimilate what one has read. If one reads straight ahead without pondering over it later, what has been read does not take root, but is for the most part lost.”

52. “Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal.”

53. “Almost all of our sorrows spring out of our relations with other people. There is no more mistaken path to happiness than worldliness.”

54. “One can never read too little of bad, or too much of good books: bad books are intellectual poison; they destroy the mind. In order to read what is good one must make it a condition never to read what is bad; for life is short, and both time and strength limited.”

55. “If we were not all so interested in ourselves, life would be so uninteresting that none of us would be able to endure it.”

56. “I have long held the opinion that the amount of noise that anyone can bear undisturbed stands in inverse proportion to his mental capacity and therefore be regarded as a pretty fair measure of it.”

57. “We seldom think of what we have, but always of what we lack.”

58. “To feel envy is human, to savour schadenfreude is devilish.”

59. “To attain something desired is to discover how vain it is; and…though we live all our lives in expectation of better things, we often at the same time long regretfully for what is past. The present, on the other hand, is regarded as something quite temporary and serving only as the road to our goal. That is why most men discover when they look back on their life that they have the whole time been living ad interim, and are surprised to see that which they let go by so unregarded and unenjoyed was precisely their life, was precisely in expectation of which they lived.”

60. “Honor has not to be won; it must only not be lost.”

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61. “Arthur Schopenhauer quotes about compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character

62. “With people of limited ability modesty is merely honesty. But with those who possess great talent, it is hypocrisy.”

63. “A man shows his character just in the way in which he deals with trifles-for then he is off his guard.”

64. “Politeness is to human nature what warmth is to wax.”

65. “In action a great heart is the chief qualification. In work, a great head.”

66. “Will minus intellect constitutes vulgarity.”

67. “Money is human happiness in the abstract, and so the man who is no longer capable of enjoying such happiness in the concrete sets his whole heart on money.”

68. “It is a wise thing to be polite; consequently, it is a stupid thing to be rude. To make enemies by unnecessary and willful incivility is just as insane a proceeding as to set your house on fire. For politeness is like a counter–an avowedly false coin, with which it is foolish to be stingy.”

69. “Wicked thoughts and worthless efforts gradually set their mark on the face, especially the eyes.”

70. “Each day is a little life: every waking and rising a little birth, every fresh morning a little youth, every going to rest and sleep a little death.”

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71. “The first forty years of life give us the text; the next thirty supply the commentary on it.”

72. “We forfeit three-quarters of ourselves in order to be like other people.”

73. “There is no doubt that life is given us, not to be enjoyed, but to be overcome; to be got over.”

74. “In early youth, as we contemplate our coming life, we are like children in a theater before the curtain is raised, sitting there in high spirits and eagerly waiting for the play to begin.”

75. “Because people have no thoughts to deal with, they deal cards and try to win one another’s money. Idiots!”

76. “Great minds are related to the brief span of time during which they live as great buildings are to a little square in which they stand: you cannot see them in all their magnitude because you are standing too close to them.”

77. “Nature shows that with the growth of intelligence comes increased capacity for pain, and it is only with the highest degree of intelligence that suffering reaches its supreme point.”

78. “Truth that is naked is the most beautiful, and the simpler its expression the deeper is the impression it makes.”

79. “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.”

80. “The intellectual attainments of a man who thinks for himself resemble a fine painting, where the light and shade are correct, the tone sustained.”

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81. “The fundament upon which all our knowledge and learning rests is the inexplicable.”

82. “The discovery of truth is prevented more effectively, not by the false appearance of things present and which mislead into error, not directly by weakness of the reasoning powers, but by preconceived opinion, by prejudice.”

83. “The greatest achievements of the human mind are generally received with distrust.”

84. “A man can be himself only so long as he is alone; and if he doesn’t love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.”

85. “It’s the niceties that make the difference fate gives us the hand, and we play the cards.”

It’s the niceties that make the difference fate gives us the hand, and we play the cards. - Arthur Schopenhaurer

86. “Thus, the task is not so much to see what no one yet has seen, but to think what nobody yet has thought about that which everybody sees.”

87. “Reading is merely a surrogate for thinking for yourself; it means letting someone else direct your thoughts.”

88. “The doctor sees all the weakness of mankind; the lawyer all the wickedness, the theologian all the stupidity.”

89. “Almost all of our sorrows spring out of our relations with other people.”

90. “Journalists are like dogs, whenever anything moves they begin to bark.”

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91. “There are 80,000 prostitutes in London alone and what are they, if not bloody sacrifices on the altar of monogamy?”

92. “Suffering by nature or chance never seems so painful as suffering inflicted on us by the arbitrary will of another.”

93. “This our world, which is so real, with all its suns and milky ways is—nothing.”

94. “All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed; Second, it is violently opposed; Third, it is accepted as self-evident.”

95. “A man’s delight in looking forward to and hoping for some particular satisfaction is a part of the pleasure flowing out of it, enjoyed in advance. But this is afterward deducted, for the more we look forward to anything the less we enjoy it when it comes.”

96. “Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal.”

97. “Wealth is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become, and the same is true of fame.”

98. “To free a person from error is to give, and not to take away.”

99. “The business of the novelist is not to relate great events, but to make small ones interesting.”

100. “Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills.”

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