Arthur Schopenhauer


German Philosopher

Author Quotes

Politeness is to human nature what warmth is to wax.

Music... stand quite alone. It is cut off from all the other arts... It does not express a particular and definite joy, sorrow, anguish, horror, delight, or mood of peace, but joy, sorrow, anguish, horror, delight, peace of mind themselves, in the abstract, in their essential nature, without accessories, and therefore without their customary motives. Yet it enables us to grasp and share them fully in this quintessence.

Men best show their character in trifles, where they are not on guard. It is in insignificant matters, and in the simplest habits, that we often see the boundless egotism which pays no regard to the feelings of others, and denies nothing to itself.

Man shows his character best in trifles.

Lessons well learnt in youth are never forgotten.

It is not so difficult a task to plant new truths as to root out old errors, for there is this paradox in men: they run after that which is new, but are prejudiced in favor of that which is old... A truth that is merely acquired from others only clings to us as a limb added to the body, or as a false tooth, or a wax nose. A truth we have acquired by our own mental exertions, is like our natural limbs, which really belong to us. This is exactly the difference between an original thinker and the mere learned man.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to define the limits which reason should impose on the desire for wealth; for there is no absolute or definite amount of wealth which will satisfy a man.

Instead of developing the child’s own faculties of discernment, and teaching it to judge and think for itself, the teacher uses all his energies to stuff its head full of the ready-made thoughts of other people.

Hatred comes from the heart; contempt from the head; and neither feeling is quite within our control.

If we turn from contemplating the world as a whole, and, in particular, the generations of men as they live their little hour of mock-existence, and then are swept away in rapid succession; if we turn from this, and look at life in its small details, as presented, say, in a comedy, how ridiculous it all seems ! It is like a drop of water seen through a microscope, a single drop teeming with infusoria; or a speck of cheese full of mites invisible to the naked eye. How e laugh as they bustle about so eagerly, and struggle with one another in so tiny a space! And whether here, or in the little span of human life, this terrible activity produces a comic effect.

Everyone can make a claim to honor; very few to fame, as being attainable only in virtue of extraordinary achievements.

Great intellectual gifts mean an activity pre-eminently nervous in its character, and consequently a very high degree of susceptibility to pain in every form.

Compared with the short span of time they live, men of great intellect are like huge buildings, standing on a small plot of ground. The size of the building cannot be seen by anyone, just in front of it; nor, for an analogous reason, can the greatness of a genius be estimated while he lives. but when a century has passed, the world recognizes it and wishes him back again.

Every generation, no matter how paltry its character, thinks itself much wiser than the one immediately preceding it, let alone those that are more remote.

All love, however ethereally it may bear itself, is rooted in the sexual impulse alone, nay, it absolutely is only a more definitely determined, specialised, and indeed in the strictest sense individualized sexual impulse.

According to the true nature of things, everyone has all the sufferings of the world as his own; indeed, he has to look upon all merely possible sufferings as actual for him, so long as he is the firm and constant will-to-live, in other words, affirms life with all his strength. For the knowledge that sees through the principium individuationis, a happy life in time, given by chance or won from it by shrewdness, amid the sufferings of innumerable others, is only a beggar’s dream, in which he is a king, but from which he must awake, in order to realize that only a fleeting illusion had separated him from the suffering of his life.

A man can be himself only so long as he is alone;... if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.

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German Philosopher