Arthur Schopenhauer Quotations

…the experiences and illuminations of childhood and early youth become in later life the types, standards and patterns of all subsequent knowledge and experience, or as it were, the categories according to which all later things are classified—not always consciously, however. And so it is that in our childhood years the foundation is laid of our later view of the world, and there with as well of its superficiality or depth: it will be in later years unfolded and fulfilled, not essentially changed.

-A word too much always defeats its purpose.

-All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

-Any book, which is at all important, should be reread immediately.

-Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal.

-Compassion is the basis of all morality.

-Do not shorten the morning by getting up late; look upon it as the quintessence of life, as to a certain extent sacred.

-Exaggeration of every kind is as essential to journalism as it is to dramatic art, for the object of journalism is to make events go as far as possible.

-Honor has not to be won; it must only not be lost.

-Human life must be some form of mistake.

-If a man sets out to hate all the miserable creatures he meets, he will not have much energy left for anything else; whereas he can despise them, one and all, with the greatest ease.

-Ignorance is degrading only when found in company with great riches.

-Intellect is invisible to the man who has none.

-Life swings like a pendulum backward and forward between pain and boredom.

-Natural ability can almost compensate for the want of every kind of cultivation; but no cultivation of the mind can make up for the want of natural ability.

-Not to go to the theater is like making one’s toilet without a mirror.

-Reasonable and vicious are quite consistent with each other, in fact, only through their union are great and far-reaching crimes possible.

-Religion is the masterpiece of the art of animal training, for it trains people as to how they shall think.

-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 postponed.

-The deep pain that is felt at the death of every friendly soul arises from the feeling that there is in every individual something which is inexpressible, peculiar to him alone, and is, therefore, absolutely and irretrievably lost.

-The first rule, indeed by itself virtually a sufficient condition for good style, is to have something to say.

-The highest, most varied and lasting pleasures are those of the mind.

-A man can do what he wants, but not want what he wants.

-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.

-A man’s face as a rule says more, and more interesting things, than his mouth, for it is a compendium of everything his mouth will ever say, in that it is the monogram of all this man’s thoughts and aspirations.

-After your death you will be what you were before your birth.

-Almost all of our sorrows spring out of our relations with other people.

-Boredom is just the reverse side of fascination: both depend on being outside rather than inside a situation, and one leads to the other.

-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.

-Each day is a little life; every waking and rising a little birth; every fresh morning a little youth; every going to rest and sleep a little dearth.

-Every nation ridicules other nations, and all are right.

-Every person takes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world.

-Every possession and every happiness is but lent by chance for an uncertain time, and may therefore be demanded back the next hour.

-Great men are like eagles, and build their nest on some lofty solitude.

-I’ve never know any trouble than an hour’s reading didn’t assuage.

-If we were not all so interested in ourselves, life would be so uninteresting that none of us would be able to endure it.

-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.

-In action a great heart is the chief qualification. In work, a great head.

-In the sphere of thought, absurdity and perversity remain the masters of the world, and their dominion is suspended only for brief periods.

-It is a clear gain to sacrifice pleasure in order to avoid pain.

-It is only a man’s own fundamental thoughts that have truth and life in them. For it is these that he really and completely understands. To read the thoughts of others is like taking the remains of someone else’s meal, like putting on the discarded clothes of a stranger.

-It is with trifles, and when he is off guard, that a man best reveals his character.

-It’s the niceties that make the difference fate gives us the hand, and we play the cards.

-Just as the largest library, badly arranged, is not so useful as a very moderate one that is well arranged, so the greatest amount of knowledge, if not elaborated by our own thoughts, is worth much less than a far smaller volume that has been abundantly and repeatedly thought over.

-Just remember, once you’re over the hill you begin to pick up speed.

-Martyrdom is the only way a man can become famous without ability.

-Money is human happiness in the abstract; he, then, who is no longer capable of enjoying human happiness in the concrete devotes himself utterly to money.

-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.

-Only a male intellect clouded by the sexual drive could call the stunted, narrow-shouldered, broad-hipped and short-legged sex the fair sex.

-Politeness is to human nature what warmth is to wax.

-Reading is equivalent to thinking with someone else’s head instead of with one’s own.

-Satisfaction consists in freedom from pain, which is the positive element of life.

-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 postponed.

-The alchemists in their search for gold discovered many other things of greater value.

-The difficulty is to try and teach the multitude that something can be true and untrue at the same time.

-The discovery of truth is prevented more effectively, not by the false appearance things present and which mislead into error, not directly by weakness of the reasoning powers, but by preconceived opinion, by prejudice.

-The first forty years of life give us the text; the next thirty supply the commentary on it.

-The fundament upon which all our knowledge and learning rests is the inexplicable.

-The greatest achievements of the human mind are generally received with distrust.

-The man never feels the want of what it never occurs to him to ask for.

-The more unintelligent a man is, the less mysterious existence seems to him.

-The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom.

-The wise have always said the same things, and fools, who are the majority have always done just the opposite.

-There is no absurdity so palpable but that it may be firmly planted in the human head if you only begin to inculcate it before the age of five, by constantly repeating it with an air of great solemnity.

-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.

-To find out your real opinion of someone, judge the impression you have when you first see a letter from them.

-To free a person from error is to give, and not to take away.

-Treat a work of art like a prince. Let it speak to you first.

-We forfeit three-quarters of ourselves in order to be like other people.

-Wealth is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become; and the same is true of fame.

-Will minus intellect constitutes vulgarity.

-Will power is to the mind like a strong blind man who carries on his shoulders a lame man who can see.

-With people of limited ability modesty is merely honesty. But with those who possess great talent it is hypocrisy.

-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.

-Other people’s heads are too wretched a place for true happiness to have its seat.

-We will gradually become indifferent to what goes on in the minds of other people when we acquire an adequate knowledge of the superficial and futile nature of their thoughts, of the narrowness of their views, of the paltriness of their sentiments, of the perversity of their opinions, and of the number of their errors…we shall then see that whoever attaches a lot of value to the opinions of others pays them too much honor.

-Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.

-If you want to achieve something in business, in writing, in painting, you must follow the rules without knowing them.

-To overcome difficulties is to experience the full delight of existence.

-A number of porcupines huddled together for warmth on a cold day in winter; but, as they began to prick one another with their quills, they were obliged to disperse. However the cold drove them together again, when just the same thing happened. At last, after many turns of huddling and dispersing, they discovered that they would be best off by remaining at a little distance from one another. In the same way the need of society drives the human porcupines together, only to be mutually repelled by the many prickly and disagreeable qualities of their nature. The moderate distance which they at last discover to be the only tolerable condition of intercourse, is the code of politeness and fine manners; and those who transgress it are roughly told—in the English phrase—to keep their distance. By this arrangement the mutual need of warmth is only very moderately satisfied; but then people do not get pricked. A man who has some heat in himself prefers to remain outside, where he will neither prick other people nor get pricked himself.

-…the experiences and illuminations of childhood and early youth become in later life the types, standards and patterns of all subsequent knowledge and experience, or as it were, the categories according to which all later things are classified—not always consciously, however. And so it is that in our childhood years the foundation is laid of our later view of the world, and there with as well of its superficiality or depth: it will be in later years unfolded and fulfilled, not essentially changed.

-A word too much always defeats its purpose.

-All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

-Any book, which is at all important, should be reread immediately.

-Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal.

-Compassion is the basis of all morality.

-Do not shorten the morning by getting up late; look upon it as the quintessence of life, as to a certain extent sacred.

-Exaggeration of every kind is as essential to journalism as it is to dramatic art, for the object of journalism is to make events go as far as possible.

-Honor has not to be won; it must only not be lost.

-Human life must be some form of mistake.

-If a man sets out to hate all the miserable creatures he meets, he will not have much energy left for anything else; whereas he can despise them, one and all, with the greatest ease.

-Ignorance is degrading only when found in company with great riches.

-Intellect is invisible to the man who has none.

-Life swings like a pendulum backward and forward between pain and boredom.

-Natural ability can almost compensate for the want of every kind of cultivation; but no cultivation of the mind can make up for the want of natural ability.

-Not to go to the theater is like making one’s toilet without a mirror.

-Reasonable and vicious are quite consistent with each other, in fact, only through their union are great and far-reaching crimes possible.

-Religion is the masterpiece of the art of animal training, for it trains people as to how they shall think.

-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 postponed.

-The deep pain that is felt at the death of every friendly soul arises from the feeling that there is in every individual something which is inexpressible, peculiar to him alone, and is, therefore, absolutely and irretrievably lost.

-The first rule, indeed by itself virtually a sufficient condition for good style, is to have something to say.

-The highest, most varied and lasting pleasures are those of the mind.

-A man can do what he wants, but not want what he wants.

-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.

-A man’s face as a rule says more, and more interesting things, than his mouth, for it is a compendium of everything his mouth will ever say, in that it is the monogram of all this man’s thoughts and aspirations.

-After your death you will be what you were before your birth.

-Almost all of our sorrows spring out of our relations with other people.

-Boredom is just the reverse side of fascination: both depend on being outside rather than inside a situation, and one leads to the other.

-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.

-Each day is a little life; every waking and rising a little birth; every fresh morning a little youth; every going to rest and sleep a little dearth.

-Every nation ridicules other nations, and all are right.

-Every person takes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world.

-Every possession and every happiness is but lent by chance for an uncertain time, and may therefore be demanded back the next hour.

-Great men are like eagles, and build their nest on some lofty solitude.

-I’ve never know any trouble than an hour’s reading didn’t assuage.

-If we were not all so interested in ourselves, life would be so uninteresting that none of us would be able to endure it.

-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.

-In action a great heart is the chief qualification. In work, a great head.

-In the sphere of thought, absurdity and perversity remain the masters of the world, and their dominion is suspended only for brief periods.

-It is a clear gain to sacrifice pleasure in order to avoid pain.

-It is only a man’s own fundamental thoughts that have truth and life in them. For it is these that he really and completely understands. To read the thoughts of others is like taking the remains of someone else’s meal, like putting on the discarded clothes of a stranger.

-It is with trifles, and when he is off guard, that a man best reveals his character.

-It’s the niceties that make the difference fate gives us the hand, and we play the cards.

-Just as the largest library, badly arranged, is not so useful as a very moderate one that is well arranged, so the greatest amount of knowledge, if not elaborated by our own thoughts, is worth much less than a far smaller volume that has been abundantly and repeatedly thought over.

-Just remember, once you’re over the hill you begin to pick up speed.

-Martyrdom is the only way a man can become famous without ability.

-Money is human happiness in the abstract; he, then, who is no longer capable of enjoying human happiness in the concrete devotes himself utterly to money.

-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.

-Only a male intellect clouded by the sexual drive could call the stunted, narrow-shouldered, broad-hipped and short-legged sex the fair sex.

-Politeness is to human nature what warmth is to wax.

-Reading is equivalent to thinking with someone else’s head instead of with one’s own.

-Satisfaction consists in freedom from pain, which is the positive element of life.

-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 postponed.

-The alchemists in their search for gold discovered many other things of greater value.

-The difficulty is to try and teach the multitude that something can be true and untrue at the same time.

-The discovery of truth is prevented more effectively, not by the false appearance things present and which mislead into error, not directly by weakness of the reasoning powers, but by preconceived opinion, by prejudice.

-The first forty years of life give us the text; the next thirty supply the commentary on it.

-The fundament upon which all our knowledge and learning rests is the inexplicable.

-The greatest achievements of the human mind are generally received with distrust.

-The man never feels the want of what it never occurs to him to ask for.

-The more unintelligent a man is, the less mysterious existence seems to him.

-The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom.

-The wise have always said the same things, and fools, who are the majority have always done just the opposite.

-There is no absurdity so palpable but that it may be firmly planted in the human head if you only begin to inculcate it before the age of five, by constantly repeating it with an air of great solemnity.

-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.

-To find out your real opinion of someone, judge the impression you have when you first see a letter from them.

-To free a person from error is to give, and not to take away.

-Treat a work of art like a prince. Let it speak to you first.

-We forfeit three-quarters of ourselves in order to be like other people.

-Wealth is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become; and the same is true of fame.

-Will minus intellect constitutes vulgarity.

-Will power is to the mind like a strong blind man who carries on his shoulders a lame man who can see.

-With people of limited ability modesty is merely honesty. But with those who possess great talent it is hypocrisy.

-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.

-Other people’s heads are too wretched a place for true happiness to have its seat.

-We will gradually become indifferent to what goes on in the minds of other people when we acquire an adequate knowledge of the superficial and futile nature of their thoughts, of the narrowness of their views, of the paltriness of their sentiments, of the perversity of their opinions, and of the number of their errors…we shall then see that whoever attaches a lot of value to the opinions of others pays them too much honor.

-Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.

-If you want to achieve something in business, in writing, in painting, you must follow the rules without knowing them.

-To overcome difficulties is to experience the full delight of existence.

-A number of porcupines huddled together for warmth on a cold day in winter; but, as they began to prick one another with their quills, they were obliged to disperse. However the cold drove them together again, when just the same thing happened. At last, after many turns of huddling and dispersing, they discovered that they would be best off by remaining at a little distance from one another. In the same way the need of society drives the human porcupines together, only to be mutually repelled by the many prickly and disagreeable qualities of their nature. The moderate distance which they at last discover to be the only tolerable condition of intercourse, is the code of politeness and fine manners; and those who transgress it are roughly told—in the English phrase—to keep their distance. By this arrangement the mutual need of warmth is only very moderately satisfied; but then people do not get pricked. A man who has some heat in himself prefers to remain outside, where he will neither prick other people nor get pricked himself.

-This manifold restless motion [of humanity] is produced and kept up by the agency of two simple impulses – hunger and the sexual instinct; aided a little, perhaps, by the influence of boredom, but by nothing else.
Arthur Schopenhauer