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Quotes of the day: Arthur Schopenhauer
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Published Saturday, February 22, 2014 @ 12:00 AM EST
Feb 22 2014

Arthur Schopenhauer (February 22, 1788 - September 21, 1860) was a German philosopher best known for his book, The World as Will and Representation, in which he claimed that our world is driven by a continually dissatisfied will, continually seeking satisfaction. Influenced by Eastern thought, he maintained that the "truth was recognized by the sages of India"; consequently, his solutions to suffering were similar to those of Vedantic and Buddhist thinkers (i.e. asceticism); his faith in "transcendental ideality" led him to accept atheism and learn from Christian philosophy. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

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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.

Anybody can sympathize with another's sorrow, but to sympathize with another's joy is the attribute of an angel.

Because people have no thoughts to deal in, they deal cards, and try and win one another's money. Idiots!

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.

Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal.

Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character; and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.

Compassion is the basis of all morality.

Console yourself by remembering that the world doesn't deserve your affection.

Do not shorten the morning by getting up late, or waste it in unworthy occupations or in talk; look upon it as the quintessence of life, as to a certain extent sacred. Evening is like old age: we are languid, talkative, silly. 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.

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 sensu proprio.

Every child is in a way a genius; and every genius is in a way a child.

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

Every parting gives a foretaste of death; every coming together again a foretaste of the resurrection. This is why even people who were indifferent to each other rejoice so much if they come together again after twenty or thirty years' separation.

Everybody's friend is nobody's.

Fame is something which must be won; honor, only something which must not be lost.

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.

Hatred is an affair of the heart; contempt that of the head.

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

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.

If wicked actions are atoned for only in the next world, stupid ones are only atoned for in this.

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

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.

Intellect is invisible to the man who has none.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to define the limit of our reasonable desires in respect of possessions.

It would be a good thing to buy books if one could also buy the time to read them; but one usually confuses the purchase of books with the acquisition of their contents.

Life is a business that does not cover the costs.

Life is short and truth works far and lives long: let us speak the truth.

Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills.

Man is the only animal who causes pain to others with no other object than wanting to do so.

Many learned persons have read themselves stupid.

Men are by nature merely indifferent to one another; but women are by nature enemies.

Money is human happiness in the abstract: he, then, who is no longer capable of enjoying human happiness in the concrete devotes his heart entirely to money.

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

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.

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.

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.

Patriotism, when it wants to make itself felt in the domain of learning, is a dirty fellow who should be thrown out of doors.

Reason is feminine in nature; it can only give after it has received. Of itself it has nothing but the empty forms of its operation.

Style is nothing but the mere silhouette of thought; and an obscure or bad style means a dull or confused brain.

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; genius hits a target no one else can see.

Talent works for money and fame; the motive which moves genius to productivity is, on the other hand, less easy to determine.

The animals are much more content with mere existence than we are; the plants are wholly so; and man is so according to how dull and insensitive he is.

The bad thing about all religions is that, instead of being able to confess their allegorical nature, they have to conceal it...

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.

The closing years of life are like the end of a masquerade party, when the masks are dropped.

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.

The effect of music is so very much more powerful and penetrating than is that of the other arts, for these others speak only of the shadow, but music of the essence.

The first forty years of life give us the text, the next thirty the commentary.

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

The word of man is the most durable of all material.

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.

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.

There is no more mistaken path to happiness than worldliness, revelry, high life.

There is something in us wiser than our head.

To free a man from error is to give, not to take away. Knowledge that a thing is false is a truth. Error always does harm; sooner or later it will bring mischief to the man who harbors it.

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.

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

We must recognise the fact that mankind cannot get on without a certain amount of absurdity, that absurdity is an element in its existence, and illusion indispensable; as indeed other aspects of life testify.

Wealth is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become.


Categories: Arthur Schopenhauer, Question of the day


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