Arthur Schopenhauer

Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer
  • Born: February 22, 1788
  • Died: September 21, 1860
  • Nationality: German
  • Profession: Philosopher









Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher. He is best known for his 1818 work The World as Will and Representation (expanded in 1844), wherein he characterizes the phenomenal world as the product of a blind and insatiable metaphysical will. Proceeding from the transcendental idealism of Immanuel Kant, Schopenhauer developed an atheistic metaphysical and ethical system that has been described as an exemplary manifestation of philosophical pessimism, rejecting the contemporaneous post-Kantian philosophies of German idealism. Schopenhauer was among the first thinkers in Western philosophy to share and affirm significant tenets of Eastern philosophy (e.g., asceticism, the world-as-appearance), having initially arrived at similar conclusions as the result of his own philosophical work.

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A reproach can only hurt if it hits the mark. Whoever knows that he does not deserve a reproach can treat it with contempt. Human Nature
At the age of five years to enter a spinning-cotton or other factory, and from that time forth to sit there daily, first ten, then twelve, and ultimately fourteen hours, performing the same mechanical labor, is to purchase dearly the satisfaction of drawing breath. But this is the fate of millions, and that of millions more is analogous to it. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
Compassion is the basis of all morality. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
Dogma is intended for, and suited to, the great mass of the human race; and as such it can contain merely allegorical truth that it nevertheless has to pass off as truth in the proper sense. Miscellaneous
Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world. Human Nature
Every true thinker for himself is so far like a monarch; he is absolute, and recognizes nobody above him. His judgments, like the decrees of a monarch, spring from his own sovereign power and proceed directly from himself. He takes as little notice of authority as a monarch does of a command; nothing is valid unless he has himself authorized it. On the other hand, those of vulgar minds, who are swayed by all kinds of current opinions, authorities, and prejudices, are like the people which in silence obey the law and commands. Human Nature
For an author to write as he speaks is just as reprehensible as the opposite fault, to speak as he writes; for this gives a pedantic effect to what he says, and at the same time makes him hardly intelligible. Time ;Oratory, Discussion & Debate
For our improvement we need a mirror. Human Nature
For the purpose of acquiring gain, everything else is pushed aside or thrown overboard, for example, as is philosophy by the professors of philosophy. Human Nature
Honor has not to be won; it must only not be lost. Miscellaneous
If there is anything in the world that can really be called a man’s property, it is surely that which is the result of his mental activity. Copyrights, Patents & Intellectual Property
Intellect is invisible to the man who has none. Human Nature
It is difficult if not impossible to find some reasonable limit for acquiring more and more property. Regulation & Deregulation
It is difficult, if not impossible, to define the limit of our reasonable desires in respect of possessions. Human Nature
National character is only another name for the particular form which the littleness, perversity and baseness of mankind take in every country. Every nation mocks at other nations, and all are right. States. Nations & Nationhood
Newspapers are the second hand of history. This hand, however, is usually not only of inferior metal to the other hands, it also seldom works properly. History ;Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Opinion is like a pendulum and obeys the same law. If it goes past the center of gravity on one side, it must go a like distance on the other; and it is only after a certain time that it finds the true point at which it can remain at rest. Public Opinion & Polling
Our moral virtues benefit mainly other people; intellectual virtues, on the other hand, benefit primarily ourselves; therefore the former make us universally popular, the latter unpopular. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
Patriotism, when it wants to make itself felt in the domain of learning, is a dirty fellow who should be thrown out of doors. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Nationalism & Treason ;Citizenship & Patriotism
People are often reproached because their desires are directed mainly to money and they are fonder of it than of anything else. Yet it is natural and even inevitable …. every other blessing can satisfy only one desire and one need; for instance, food is good only to the hungry, wine only for the healthy, medicine for the sick, a fur coat for winter, women for youth, and so on... Money alone is the absolutely good thing because it meets not merely one need in concreto, but needs generally in abstracto. Human Nature
Pride is an established conviction of one’s own paramount worth in some particular respect, while vanity is the desire of rousing such a conviction in others, and it is generally accompanied by the secret hope of ultimately coming to the same conviction oneself. Pride works from within; it is the direct appreciation of oneself. Vanity is the desire to arrive at this appreciation indirectly, from without. Human Nature
Religion is the masterpiece of the art of animal training, for it trains people as to how they shall think. Religion & God ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. Human Nature
The cheapest form of pride however is national pride. For it reveals in the one thus afflicted the lack of individual qualities of which he could be proud, while he would not otherwise reach for what he shares with so many millions. He who possesses significant personal merits will rather recognize the defects of his own nation, as he has them constantly before his eyes, most clearly. But that poor blighter who has nothing in the world of which he can be proud, latches onto the last means of being proud, the nation to which he belongs to. Thus he recovers and is now in gratitude ready to defend with hands and feet all errors and follies which are its own. Nationalism & Treason ;Citizenship & Patriotism
The discovery of truth is prevented more effectively, not by the false appearance things present and which mislead into error, not directly by weakness of the reasoning powers, but by preconceived opinion, by prejudice. Truth ;Human Nature
The fundament upon which all our knowledge and learning rests is the inexplicable. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
There are 80,000 prostitutes in London alone and what are they, if not bloody sacrifices on the altar of monogamy? Families, Children & Parenting
There are two things which make it impossible to believe that this world is the successful work of an all-wise, all-good, and, at the same time, all-powerful Being; firstly, the misery which abounds in it everywhere; and secondly, the obvious imperfection of its highest product, man, who is a burlesque of what he should be. Religion & God
There is only one inborn erroneous notion ... that we exist in order to be happy ... So long as we persist in this inborn error ... the world seems to us full of contradictions. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves in order to be like other people. Human Nature
Wealth is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
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. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Freedom & Liberty
A man can do what he wants, but not want what he wants.
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.
A man's face as a rule says more, and more interesting things, than his mouth, for it is a compendium of everything his mouth will ever say, in that it is the monogram of all this man's thoughts and aspirations.
All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. Truth
Almost all of our sorrows spring out of our relations with other people. Sympathy
As the biggest library if it is in disorder is not as useful as a small but well-arranged one, so you may accumulate a vast amount of knowledge but it will be of far less value than a much smaller amount if you have not thought it over for yourself. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Because people have no thoughts to deal in, they deal cards, and try and win one another's money. Idiots! Money, Coins & Minting
Boredom is just the reverse side of fascination: both depend on being outside rather than inside a situation, and one leads to the other.
Buying books would be a good thing if one could also buy the time to read them in: but as a rule the purchase of books is mistaken for the appropriation of their contents. Time
Compassion is the basis of morality.
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. Life ;Morning ;Death
Every nation ridicules other nations, and all are right.
Every parting gives a foretaste of death, every reunion a hint of the resurrection. Death
Every person takes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world.
Every possession and every happiness is but lent by chance for an uncertain time, and may therefore be demanded back the next hour. Time ;Happiness & Unhappiness
Friends and acquaintances are the surest passport to fortune. Money, Coins & Minting
Great men are like eagles, and build their nest on some lofty solitude.
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. Time
Hatred is an affair of the heart; contempt that of the head.
Honor means that a man is not exceptional; fame, that he is. Fame is something which must be won; honor, only something which must not be lost.
If we were not all so interested in ourselves, life would be so uninteresting that none of us would be able to endure it. Life
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.
In action a great heart is the chief qualification. In work, a great head. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
In our monogamous part of the world, to marry means to halve one's rights and double one's duties.
In the sphere of thought, absurdity and perversity remain the masters of the world, and their dominion is suspended only for brief periods.
It is a clear gain to sacrifice pleasure in order to avoid pain.
It is in the treatment of trifles that a person shows what they are.
It is only a man's own fundamental thoughts that have truth and life in them. For it is these that he really and completely understands. To read the thoughts of others is like taking the remains of someone else's meal, like putting on the discarded clothes of a stranger. Truth ;Life
It is only at the first encounter that a face makes its full impression on us.
It is with trifles, and when he is off guard, that a man best reveals his character.
It's the niceties that make the difference fate gives us the hand, and we play the cards.
I've never known any trouble than an hour's reading didn't assuage. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Journalists are like dogs, when ever anything moves they begin to bark.
Just remember, once you're over the hill you begin to pick up speed.
Martyrdom is the only way a man can become famous without ability. Fame
Men are by nature merely indifferent to one another; but women are by nature enemies. Women ;Nature
Money is human happiness in the abstract; he, then, who is no longer capable of enjoying human happiness in the concrete devotes himself utterly to money. Happiness & Unhappiness ;Money, Coins & Minting
Music is the melody whose text is the world. Music, Chants & Rapps
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. Nature
Obstinacy is the result of the will forcing itself into the place of the intellect.
Opinion is like a pendulum and obeys the same law. If it goes past the centre of gravity on one side, it must go a like distance on the other; and it is only after a certain time that it finds the true point at which it can remain at rest. Time
Politeness is to human nature what warmth is to wax. Nature
Rascals are always sociable, more's the pity! and the chief sign that a man has any nobility in his character is the little pleasure he takes in others' company.
Reading is equivalent to thinking with someone else's head instead of with one's own.
Satisfaction consists in freedom from pain, which is the positive element of life. Life ;Freedom & Liberty
Sleep is the interest we have to pay on the capital which is called in at death; and the higher the rate of interest and the more regularly it is paid, the further the date of redemption is postponed. Death
Suffering by nature or chance never seems so painful as suffering inflicted on us by the arbitrary will of another. Nature
The alchemists in their search for gold discovered many other things of greater value.
The brain may be regarded as a kind of parasite of the organism, a pensioner, as it were, who dwells with the body.
The difficulty is to try and teach the multitude that something can be true and untrue at the same time. Time
The doctor sees all the weakness of mankind; the lawyer all the wickedness, the theologian all the stupidity. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
The first forty years of life give us the text; the next thirty supply the commentary on it. Life
The greatest achievements of the human mind are generally received with distrust.
The greatest of follies is to sacrifice health for any other kind of happiness. Health, Healthcare & Medicine ;Happiness & Unhappiness
The longer a man's fame is likely to last, the longer it will be in coming.
The man never feels the want of what it never occurs to him to ask for.
The more unintelligent a man is, the less mysterious existence seems to him.
The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom. Happiness & Unhappiness
The wise have always said the same things, and fools, who are the majority have always done just the opposite.
The word of man is the most durable of all material.
There is no absurdity so palpable but that it may be firmly planted in the human head if you only begin to inculcate it before the age of five, by constantly repeating it with an air of great solemnity.
There is no doubt that life is given us, not to be enjoyed, but to be overcome; to be got over. Life
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 the world to which every man has a more unassailable title than to his own life and person. Life ;Death
To find out your real opinion of someone, judge the impression you have when you first see a letter from them.
To free a person from error is to give, and not to take away.
To live alone is the fate of all great souls.
Treat a work of art like a prince. Let it speak to you first. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
We can come to look upon the deaths of our enemies with as much regret as we feel for those of our friends, namely, when we miss their existence as witnesses to our success. Success
We forfeit three-quarters of ourselves in order to be like other people.
Wealth is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become; and the same is true of fame.
Wicked thoughts and worthless efforts gradually set their mark on the face, especially the eyes.
Will minus intellect constitutes vulgarity.
Will power is to the mind like a strong blind man who carries on his shoulders a lame man who can see. Power
With people of limited ability modesty is merely honesty. But with those who possess great talent it is hypocrisy.

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