Arthur Schopenhauer quotes page 2
Life is short and truth works far and lives long - let us speak the truth.
Pride is an established conviction of one's own paramount worth in some particular respect,
while vanity is the desire of rousing such a conviction in others, and it is generally
accompanied by the secret hope of ultimately coming to the same conviction oneself. Pride
works from within; it is the direct appreciation of oneself. Vanity is the desire to arrive at this
appreciation indirectly, from without.
Treat a work of art like a prince: let it speak to you first.
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.
A reproach can only hurt if it hits the mark. Whoever knows that he does not deserve a
reproach can treat it with contempt.
The person who writes for fools is always sure of a large audience.
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.
Every child is in a way a genius; and every genius is in a way a child.
Great men are like eagles, and build their nest on some lofty solitude.
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.
For our improvement we need a mirror.
Wealth is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become; and the same is true of
If the world were a paradise of luxury and ease, a land flowing with milk and honey, where
every Jack obtained his Jill at once and without any difficulty, men would either die of boredom
or hang themselves; or there would be wars, massacres, and murders; so that in the end
mankind would inflict more suffering on itself than it has now to accept at the hands of Nature.
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.
I have described religion as the metaphysics of the people.
Fame is something which must be won; honor, only something which must not be lost.
The fundament upon which all our knowledge and learning rests is the inexplicable.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to define the limit of our reasonable desires in respect of
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.
It is a wise thing to be polite; consequently it is a stupid thing to be rude. To make enemies
by unnecessary and wilful 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. A sensible man will be generous in the use of it... Wax, a substance naturally hard and
brittle, can be made soft by the application of a little warmth, so that it will take any shape
you please. In the same way, by being polite and friendly, you can make people pliable and
obliging, even though they are apt to be crabbed and malevolent. Hence politeness is to
human nature what warmth is to wax.
Dissimulation is innate in woman, and almost as much a quality of the stupid as of the clever.
Sleep is the interest we have to pay on the capital which is called in at death; and the higher
the rate of interest and the more regularly it is paid, the further the date of redemption is
It is the courage to make a clean breast of it in the face of every question that makes the
There is no doubt that life is given us, not to be enjoyed, but to be overcome - to be got
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
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.
Men are by nature merely indifferent to one another; but women are by nature enemies.