Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

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

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

“Happiness consists in frequent repetition of pleasure”

“… that when you’re buying books, you’re optimistically thinking you’re buying the time to read them.”

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

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

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

“If anyone spends almost the whole day in reading…he gradually loses the capacity for thinking…This is the case with many learned persons; they have read themselves stupid”

“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.”

“Compassion is the basis of morality.”

“Life without pain has no meaning.”

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

“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.”

“A man can do what he wants, but not want what he wants.”

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

“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 in the only guarantee of morality.”

“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.”

“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.”

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

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

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

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

“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”

“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.”

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

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

“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.”

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

“One should use common words to say uncommon things”

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

“The world is my idea”

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

“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.”

“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.”

“He who writes carelessly confesses thereby at the very outset that he does not attach much importance to his own thoughts. ”

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

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

“Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal.”

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

“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?”

“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.”

“Music is the melody whose text is the world.”

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

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

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

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