'For the world is Hell,
and men are,
on the one hand,
the tormented souls;
and on the other,
the devils in it'.
Arthur Schopenhauer, Parerga and Paralipomena
'Schopenhauer's saying, that "a man can do as he will, but not will as
he will," has been an inspiration to me since my youth up, and a
continual consolation and unfailing well-spring of patience in the face
of the hardships of life, my own and others.
This feeling mercifully mitigates the sense of responsibility which so
easily becomes paralyzing, and it prevents us from taking ourselves and
other people too seriously; it conduces to a view of life in which
humour, above all, has its due place.'
Albert Einstein, The World As I See It (Filiquarian Publishing, 2006 (orig 1934)).
'Life is a tricky business: I've decided to spend it, trying to understand it'.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1812), quoted by Bryan Magee in The Philosophy of Schopenhauer
(Oxford: Clarendon, 1997), p.3.
‘The Schopenhauers’ tour [beginning 1803] continued on through England, Holland, France and Switzerland and it deeply affected the young Schopenhauer, who was shocked by the dreadful social conditions he frequently encountered. Later, he would compare his experiences on his tour to the Buddha’s life transforming experiences…
Schopenhauer’s experiences moved him to no longer think of this world as the creation of an all-bountiful, good being; it appeared instead to be the work of a devil who created its creatures in order to gloat over their agony and misery’. David Cartwright, Historical Dictionary of Schopenhauer’s Philosophy (Scarecrow Press, Lanham: 2005), p.xxiii,
'Schopenhauer is known for his brilliant writing style as well as for
being a unique thinker. Generations of general readers and scholars have
found his ideas stimulating and insightful and have found his writings
delightfully easy to read in original and in translations.
Schopenhauer's attractive writing style is free of the usual conceptual
web spinnings and hair-splitting arguments for which other philosophers,
especially European philosophers are notorious'.
R. Raj Singh, Schopenhauer: A Guide for the Perplexed (London: Continuum, 2010), p.xi.
'For whoever has been lonely all his life will be a better judge than
others of this solitary business. Instead of going out amid the
nonsense and foolishness calculated for the impoverished capacity of
human bipeds, I will end joyfully conscious of returning to
the place where I started out so highly endowed of fulfilling my
Arthur Schopenhauer, Der Handschriftliche Nachlass (Frankfurt am
Main: Kramer, 1970), 5 vols., Vol 4,. p.127.
'But against the palpably sophistical proofs of Leibniz that this is the best of all possible worlds, we may even oppose seriously and honestly the proof that it is the worst of all possible worlds...If it were a little worse, it would be no longer capable of continuing to exist...
Consequently, since a worse world could not continue to exist, it is absolutely impossible; and so this world itself is the worse of all possible worlds'.
Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, vol. II, ch. 46.
'Philosophy is a high mountain road which is reached only by a steep path covered with sharp stones and prickly thorns.
It is an isolated road and becomes ever more desolate, the higher we ascend. Whoever pursues this path must
show no fear, but must leave everything behind and confidently make his own way in the wintry snow...
He soon sees the world beneath him...its jarring sounds no longer reach his ear...He himself is always in the pure
cool mountain air and now beholds the sun, when all below is still engulfed in dead of night'.
Arthur Schopenhauer, Manuscript Remains, vol. I, p.14
'But man, that selfish and heartless creature, misuses this quality of
the brute to be more content than we are with mere existence, and often
works it to such an extent that he allows the brute absolutely nothing
more than mere, bare life. The bird which was made so that it might rove
over half of the world, he shuts up into the space of a cubic foot,
there to die a slow death in longing and crying for freedom; for in a
cage it does not sing for the pleasure of it. And when I see how man
misuses the dog, his best friend; how he ties up this intelligent animal
with a chain, I feel the deepest sympathy with the brute and burning
indignation against its master'.
Arthur Schopenhauer, 'On the suffering of the world', Essays and Aphorisms (London: Penguin. 1970), p.47.
'He [Schopenhauer] loved animals and his permanent sense of the reality behind the phrase 'nature red in tooth and claw' was like an unhealing wound; he actually felt the fact at every single moment... Thousands of screaming animals are in the process of being torn to pieces alive. This alone, he thought, is enough to make the world a terrible place...so vivid was his sense of the cruelty, violence and aimlessness of both animal and human worlds that it amounted to a horror of life as such. He believed it would have been better for most living creatures never to have been born'.
Bryan Magee, The Philosophy of Schopenhauer (Oxford: Clarendon, 1997), p.154.