Arthur Schopenhauer Quotes


Type: Philosopher

Born: 22 February 1788

Died: 21 September 1860

Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher. He is best known for his 1818 work "The World as Will and Representation", in which he characterizes the phenomenal world as the product of a blind, insatiable, and malignant 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. His writing on aesthetics, morality, and psychology would exert important influence on thinkers and artists throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

Arthur Schopenhauer Quotes

One should use common words to say uncommon things

Truth that is naked is the most beautiful.

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

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

No one writes anything worth writing, unless he writes entirely for the sake of his subject.

There are, first of all, two kinds of authors: those who write for the subject's sake, and those who write for writing's sake. [...] The truth is that when an author begins to write for the sake of covering paper, he is cheating the reader; because he writes under the pretext that he has something to say.

A book can never be anything more than the impress of its author's thoughts; and the value of these will lie either in the matter about which he has thought, or in the form which his thoughts take, in other words, what it is that he has thought about it.

It often happens that we blurt out things that may in some kind of way be harmful to us, but we are silent about things that may make us look ridiculous; because in this case effect follows very quickly on cause.

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.

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

Great men are like eagles, and build their nest on some lofty solitude

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

Truth is most beautiful undraped.

Happiness consists in frequent repetition of pleasure

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.

A poet or philosopher should have no fault to find with his age if it only permits him to do his work undisturbed in his own corner; nor with his fate if the corner granted him allows of his following his vocation without having to think about other people.

After your death, you will be what you were before your birth.

Compassion is the basis of all morality

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

Writers may be classified as meteors, planets, and fixed stars. They belong not to one system, one nation only, but to the universe. And just because they are so very far away, it is usually many years before their light is visible to the inhabitants of this earth.

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

There is not much to be got anywhere in the world. It is filled with misery and pain; if a man escapes these, boredeom lies in wait for him at every corner. Nay more; it is evil which generally has the upper hand, and folly that makes the most noise. Fate is cruel and mankind pitiable.

Qualsiasi uomo notevole, chiunque cioè non appartenga a quei 5/6 dell'umanità dotati tanto miseramente dalla natura, rimarrà dopo i quarant'anni difficilmente esente da una certa traccia di misantropia.

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

Ordinary people merely think how they shall 'spend' their time; a man of talent tries to 'use' it.

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

All happiness is of a negative rather than positive nature, and for this reason cannot give lasting satisfaction and gratification, but rather only ever a release from a pain or lack, which must be followed either by a new pain or by languor, empty yearning and boredom.

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

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.

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?

A sense of humour is the only divine quality of man

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

Let us see rather that like Janus - or better, like Yama, the Brahmin god of death - religion has two faces, one very friendly, one very gloomy...

Everywhere where detestable Islam has not yet driven out the ancient, profound religions of humanity with fire and sword, my ascetic results would have to fear the reproach of being trivial

Faith is like love: it does not let itself be forced.

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.

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.

That the Negroes were enslaved more than other races, and on a large scale, is evidently a result of their being, in contrast to other races, inferior in intelligence - which, however, does not justify such slavery

Si llamáramos a las tumbas y preguntáramos a los muertos si les gustaría levantarse otra vez, nos dirían que no.

... that when you're buying books, you're optimistically thinking you're buying the time to read them.
(Paraphrase of Schopenhauer)

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.

Reading is thinking with someone else's head instead of ones own.

Lesen heißt mit einem fremden Kopfe, statt des eigenen, denken.

Everything is beautiful only so long as it does not concern us.

(...) a ingenuidade se mantém como a indumentária de honra do gênio, assim como a nudez é a da beleza.

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

Clio, the muse of history, is as thoroughly infected with lies as a street whore with syphilis.

Marrying means to halve one's rights and double one's duties

Heiraten heißt das Mögliche t(h)un, einander zum Ekel zu werden.

(Marrying means doing whatever possible to become repulsed of each other.)

One simple test of the claim that the pleasure in the world outweighs the pain…is to compare the feelings of an animal that is devouring another with those of the animal being devoured.

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

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.

El hombre puede, acaso, hacer lo que quiere; pero no puede querer lo que quiere".

Music is the occult metaphysical exercise of a soul not knowing
that it philosophizes.

To become reconciled to a friend with whom you have broken, is a form of weakness; and you pay the penalty of it when he takes the first opportunity of doing precisely the very thing which brought about the breach.

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

Any foolish boy can stamp on a beetle, but all the professors in the world cannot make a beetle.

Die, welche schwierige, dunkle, verflochtene, zweideutige Reden zusammensetzen, wissen ganz gewiss nicht recht, was sie sagen wollen, sondern haben nur ein dumpfes, nach einem Gedanken erst ringendes Bewusstsein davon; oft aber wollen sie sich selber und anderen verbergen, dass sie eigentlich nichts zu sagen haben.

Bei gleicher Umgebung lebt doch jeder in einer anderen Welt.

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