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  • We can regard our life as a uselessly disturbing episode in the blissful repose of nothingness.
  • Human existence must be a kind of error…it may be said of it, ‘it is bad today and every day it will get worse, until the worst of all happens’.
  • I was gripped by the misery of life as Buddha was in his youth when he saw sickness, old age, pain and death … This world could not have been the work of an all-loving being, but that of a devil, who had brought creatures into existence in order to delight in the sight of their sufferings.
  • Life is so short, questionable and evanescent that it is not worth the trouble of major effort.
  • There is only one inborn erroneous notion … that we exist in order to be happy … So long as we persist in this inborn error … the world seems to us full of contradictions. For at every step, in great things and small, we are bound to experience that the world and life are certainly not arranged for the purpose of maintaining a happy existence…hence the countenances of almost all elderly persons wear the expression of … disappointment.
  • What disturbs and depresses young people is the hunt for happiness on the firm assumption that it must be met with in life. From this arises constantly deluded hope and so also dissatisfaction. Deceptive images of a vague happiness hover before us in our dreams … and we search in vain for their original … Much would have been gained if through timely advice and instruction young people could have had eradicated from their minds the erroneous notion that the world has a great deal to offer them.
  • The less a man is forced to come into contact with others, the better off he is.
  • There is in the world only the choice between loneliness and vulgarity.
  • Whoever attaches a lot of value to the opinions of others pays them too much honour
  • All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
  • We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves in order to be like other people.
  • A man’s delight in looking forward to and hoping for some particular satisfaction is a part of the pleasure flowing out of it, enjoyed in advance. But this is afterward deducted, for the more we look forward to anything the less we enjoy it when it comes.
  • Buying books would be a good thing if one could also buy the time to read them in: but as a rule the purchase of books is mistaken for the appropriation of their contents.
  • Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal.
  • Honor has not to be won; it must only not be lost.
  • If you want to know your true opinion of someone, watch the effect produced in you by the first sight of a letter from him.
  • 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 the world to which every man has a more unassailable title than to his own life and person.
  • Music is the answer to the mystery of life. It is the most profound of all the arts; it expresses the deepest thoughts of life and being; a simple language which nonetheless cannot be translated.
  • The life of every individual is really always a tragedy but gone through in detail, it has the character of a comedy.
  • The difficulty is to try and teach the multitude that something can be true and untrue at the same time.
  • Wicked thoughts and worthless efforts gradually set their mark on the face, especially the eyes.
  • Nature shows that with the growth of intelligence comes increased capacity for pain, and it is only with the highest degree of intelligence that suffering reaches its supreme point.
  • To marry is to halve your rights and double your duties.
  • The doctor sees all the weakness of mankind; the lawyer all the wickedness, the theologian all the stupidity.
  • Religion is the masterpiece of the art of animal training, for it trains people as to how they shall think.
  • In the sphere of thought, absurdity and perversity remain the masters of the world, and their dominion is suspended only for brief periods.
  • Reading is equivalent to thinking with someone else’s head instead of with one’s own.
  • The fundament upon which all our knowledge and learning rests is the inexplicable.
  • Many learned persons have read themselves stupid.
  • It is a source of consolation to look back upon those great misfortunes which never happened.
  • That I could clamber to the frozen moon And draw the ladder after me.

Arthur Schopenhauer

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