74 Great Arthur Schopenhauer Quotes

74 Great Arthur Schopenhauer Quotes

by / Comments Off / 153 View / Dec 23, 2014

Arthur Schopenhauer was a philosopher and author from Danzig in the late 1700′s. He is most famous for his book The World as Will and Representation which evaluated our world through human nature. He died on September 21, 1860 at the age of 72.

“…this our world, which is so real, with all its suns and milky ways is–nothing.”

“A great affliction of all Philistines is that idealities afford them no entertainment, but to escape from boredom they are always in need of realities.”

“A man of intellect is like an artist who gives a concert without any help from anyone else, playing on a single instrument — a piano, say, which is a little orchestra in itself. Such a man
is a little world in himself; and the effect produced by various instruments together, he produces single-handed, in the unity of his own consciousness. Like the piano, he has no place in a
symphony; he is a soloist and performs by himself — in soli tude, it may be; or if in the company with other instruments, only as principal; or for setting the tone, as in singing.”

“A man who has no mental needs, because his intellect is of the narrow and normal amount, is, in the strict sense of the word, what is called a philistine.”

“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.”

“A reproach can only hurt if it hits the mark. Whoever knows that he does not deserve a reproach can treat it with contempt.”

“All religions promise a reward for excellences of the will or heart, but none for excellences of the head or understanding.”

“All wanting comes from need, therefore from lack, therefore from suffering.”

“Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal.”

“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.”

“Compassion is the basis of all morality.”

“Descartes is rightly regarded as the father of modern philosophy primarily and generally because he helped the faculty of reason to stand on its own feet by teaching men to use their brains
in place whereof the Bible, on the one hand, and Aristotle, on the other, had previously served.”

“Dissimulation is innate in woman, and almost as much a quality of the stupid as of the clever.”

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

“For our improvement we need a mirror.”

“For the purpose of acquiring gain, everything else is pushed aside or thrown overboard, for example, as is philosophy by the professors of philosophy.”

“For what is modesty but hypocritical humility, by means of which, in a world swelling with vile envy, a man seeks to beg pardon for his excellences and merits from those who have none? For
whoever attributes no merit to himself because he really has none is not modest, but merely honest.”

“Genuine contempt, on the other hand, is the unsullied conviction of the worthlessness of another.”

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

“Happiness consists in frequent repetition of pleasure.”

“Hatred is a thing of the heart, contempt a thing of the head.”

“If a person is stupid, we excuse him by saying that he cannot help it; but if we attempted to excuse in precisely the same way the person who is bad, we should be laughed at.”

“If, while hurrying ostensibly to the temple of truth, we hand the reins over to our personal interests which look aside at very different guiding stars, for instance at the tastes and
foibles of our contemporaries, at the established religion, but in particular at the hints and suggestions of those at the head of affairs, then how shall we ever reach the high,
precipitous, bare rock whereon stands the temple of truth?”

“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.”

“It is a clumsy experiment to make; for it involves the destruction of the very consciousness which puts the question and awaits the answer.”

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

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

“It is the courage to make a clean breast of it in the face of every question that makes the philosopher.”

“It takes place, by and large, with the same sort of necessity as a tree brings forth fruit, and demands of the world no more than a soil on which the individual can flourish.”

“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”

“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.”

“Means at our disposal should be regarded as a bulwark against the many evils and misfortunes that can occur. We should not regard such wealth as a permission or even an obligation to
procure for ourselves the pleasures of the world.”

“Men of learning are those who have read the contents of books. Thinkers, geniuses, and those who have enlightened the world and furthered the race of men, are those who have made direct use
of the book of the world.”

“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.”

“Monotheistic religions alone furnish the spectacle of religious wars, religious persecutions, heretical tribunals, that breaking of idols and destruction of images of the gods, that razing
of Indian temples and Egyptian colossi, which had looked on the sun 3,000 years: just because a jealous god had said, ‘Thou shalt make no graven image.’”

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

“My body and my will are one.”

“Noise is the most impertinent of all forms of interruption. It is not only an interruption, but also a disruption of thought.”

“Nothing endures but change.”

“One can forget everything, everything, only not oneself, one’s own being.”

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

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

“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.”

“Rascals are always sociable — more’s the pity!”

“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

“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.”

“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 animal lacks both anxiety and hope because its consciousness is restricted to what is clearly evident and thus to the present moment: the animal is the present incarnate.”

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

“The charlatan takes very different shapes according to circumstances; but at bottom he is a man who cares nothing about knowledge for its own sake, and only strives to gain the semblance of
it that he may use it for his own personal ends, which are always selfish and material.”

“The chief objection that I have to Pantheism is that it says nothing. To call the world “God” is not to explain it; it is only to enrich our language with a superfluous synonym for the word

“The composer reveals the innermost nature of the world, and expresses the profoundest wisdom in a language that his reasoning faculty does not understand, just as a magnetic somnambulist
gives information about things of which she has no conception when she is awake. Therefore in the composer, more than in any other artist, the man is entirely separate and distinct from the

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

“The heavy armor becomes the light dress of childhood; the pain is brief, the joy unending.”

“The less one, as a result of objective or subjective conditions, has to come into contact with people, the better off one is for it.”

“The old woman dies, the burden is lifted.”

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

“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 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 first kind have had thoughts or experiences which seem to
them worth communicating, while the second kind need money and consequently write for money.”

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

“There is only one healing force, and that is nature; in pills and ointments there is none. At most they can give the healing force of nature a hint about where there is something for it to

“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.”

“This actual world of what is knowable, in which we are and which is in us, remains both the material and the limit of our consideration.”

“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.”

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

“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 see in tragedy the noblest men, after a long conflict and suffering, finally renounce forever all the pleasure of life and the aims till then pursued so keenly, or cheerfully and
willingly give up life itself.”

“Writers may be classified as meteors, planets, and fixed stars.”