Arthur Schopenhauer quotes page 1
Born in 1788, Arthur Schopenhauer was an influential German philosopher. He also
was the first Western philosopher to be given access to translations of both Buddhist and Vedic philosophical
writings from India. Schopenhauer recognized the impact and importance of Christian teachings, though he was
himself an atheist. His most famous work, The World as Will and Representation, was published in 1819: it took him
almost 4 years to complete the book. Unlike Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Immanuel Kant, who believed in a
collective societal consciousness, Schopenhauer believed in the fact that motivations of the individual and their
basic desires contribute to their own morality. He wrote that human desire was illogical and futile and that the
humans will always be the source of pain and suffering. He also believed that only human compassion should drive
moral acts, which should remain clean of malice and egotism of all kinds. Schopenhauer was also a great believer in
the fact that threat of punishment by the state kept people from making bad choices. He firmly supported capital
punishment as well. Politically Schopenhauer held to his belief in ethics and advocated for limited government,
allowing people to live for themselves, with the active guidance of the state. He also thought that the "white
race" was superior in level of civilization but did not believe that other races should be treated differently.
Schopenhauer did not look kindly on women, believing them to be inferior and only fit to obey their men.
Interestingly, he believed that animals and humans were no different in their will and individualism. Arthur was a
strong proponent of animal welfare. He was one of the first philosophers since the ancient Greeks to address
homosexuality, stating that it prevented the natural procreation of mankind and prevented the birth of unwanted
children. Schopenhauer is said to have been influenced by Nietzsche, Schrodinger, Freud, and Einstein, among others. He died in 1860.
To marry is to halve your rights and double your duties.
We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves in order to be like other people.
It is difficult to find happiness within oneself, but it is impossible to find it anywhere else.
The assumption that animals are without rights, and the illusion that our treatment of them
has no moral significance, is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and
barbarity. Universal compassion in the only guarantee of morality.
A sense of humour is the only divine quality of man.
A high degree of intellect tends to make a man unsocial.
Thus, the task is not so much to see what no one yet has seen, but to think what nobody
yet has thought about that which everybody sees.
Politeness is to human nature what warmth is to wax.
Without books the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are the
engines of change, windows on the world, "Lighthouses," as the poet said "erected in the sea
of time." They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind,
books are humanity in print.
All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed; second, it is violently opposed;
third, it is accepted as self-evident.
Life is full of troubles and vexations, that one must either rise above it by means of corrected
thoughts, or leave it.
Happiness consists in frequent repetition of pleasure.
Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.
Compassion is the basis of all morality.
The life of every individual is really always a tragedy, but gone through in detail, it has the
character of a comedy.
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; genius hits a target no one else can see.
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.
Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things.
It is a wise thing to be polite; consequently, it is a stupid thing to be rude. To make enemies
by unnecessary and willful incivility, is just as insane a proceeding as to set your house on
Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal.
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.
To find out your real opinion of someone, judge the impression you have when you first see a
letter from them.
Marrying means, to grasp blindfolded into a sack hoping to find out an eel out of an assembly
Most people take the limits of their vision to be the limits of the world. A few do not. Join
Intelligence is a magnitude of intensity, not a magnitude of extensity.
If anyone spends almost the whole day in reading... he gradually loses the capacity for
thinking... This is the case with many learned persons; they have read themselves stupid.
The business of the novelist is not to relate great events, but to make small ones interesting.
Patriotism, when it wants to make itself felt in the domain of learning, is a dirty fellow who
should be thrown out of doors.
Because people have no thoughts to deal in, they deal cards, and try and win one another's
We will gradually become indifferent to what goes on in the minds of other people when we
acquire a knowledge of the superficial nature of their thoughts , the narrowness of their
views and of the number of their errors. Whoever attaches a lot of value to the opinions of
others pays them too much honor.
Obstinacy is the result of the will forcing itself into the place of the intellect.
There is some wisdom in taking a gloomy view, in looking upon the world as a kind of Hell, and
in confining one's efforts to securing a little room that shall not be exposed to the fire.
Many undoubtedly owe their good fortune to the circumstance that they possess a pleasing
smile with which they win hearts. Yet these hearts would do better to beware and to learn
from Hamlet's tables that one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.