The will is the only permanent and unchangeable element in the mind… it is the will which… gives unity to consciousness and holds together all its ideas and thoughts, accompanying them like a continuous harmony.
The happiness which we receive from ourselves is greater than that which we obtain from our surroundings... The world in which a man lives shapes itself chiefly by the way in which he looks at it.
The power by virtue of which Christianity was able to overcome first Judaism, and then the heathenism of Greece and Rome, lies solely on its pessimism, in the confession that our state is both exceedingly wretched and sinful, while Judaism and heathenism were both optimistic.
Poverty and slavery are… only two forms of – one might almost say two words for – the same thing, the essence of which is that a man’s energies are expended for the most part not on his own behalf but on that of others; the outcome being partly that he is overloaded with work, partly that his needs are very inadequately met.
Mystery is not the denial of reason but its honest confirmation: reason, indeed, leaves inevitability to mystery… mystery and reality are the two halves of the same sphere.
Mystery is in reality only a theological term for religious allegory. All religions have their mysteries. Properly speaking, a mystery is a dogma which is plainly absurd, but which, nevertheless conceals in itself a lofty truth.
Journalists are, in the very nature of their calling, alarmists; and this is their way of giving interest to what they write. Herein they are like little dogs; if anything stirs, they immediately set up a shrill bark.
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.
It is by virtue of his reasoning faculty that man does not live in the present only, like the brute, but looks about him and considers his past and the future.
Human life must be some kind of mistake… Existence has no real value in itself.
Instead of always thinking about our plans and anxiously looking to the future, or giving ourselves up to regret for the past, we should never forget that the present is the only reality, the only certainty; the future almost always turns out contrary to our expectations; the past, too, was very different from what we suppose it to have been.
Happiness consists in a frequent repetition of pleasure.
Boundless compassion for all living beings is the surest and most certain guarantee of pure moral conduct, and needs no casuistry. Whoever is filled with it will assuredly injure no one, do harm to no one, encroach on man’s rights; he will rather have regard for everyone, forgive everyone, help everyone as far as he can, and all his actions will bear the stamp of justice and loving-kindness.
Care should be taken not to build the happiness of life upon a broad foundation -- which means not to require a great many things in order to be happy. Happiness on such a foundation is the most easily undermined. It offers many more opportunities for accidents; and accidents are always happening.
All religions promise a reward… for excellences of the will or heart, but none for excellences of the head or understanding.
You can never read bad literature too little, nor good literature too much. Bad books are intellectual poison; they destroy the mind.
Acute illnesses are, with a few exceptions, nothing other than curative processes instituted by nature itself to remedy some disorder in the organism.
Unrest is the mark of existence.
Time is that in which all things pass away; it is merely the form under which the will to live - the thing-in-itself and therefore imperishable - has revealed to it that its efforts are in vain; it is that agent by which at every moment all things in our hands become as nothing, and lose any real value they possess.
To the man who studies to gain a thorough insight into science, books and study are merely the steps of the ladder by which he climbs to the summit; as soon as a step has been advanced he leaves it behind. The majority of mankind, however, who study to fill their memory with facts do not use the steps of the ladder to mount upward, but take them off and lay them on their shoulders in order that they may take them along, delighting in the weight of the burden they are carrying. They ever remain below because they carry what should carry them.