The Life and Work of Arthur Schopenhauer

"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)
"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 mission."
(Arthur Schopenhauer, Der Handschriftliche Nachlass (Frankfurt am Main: Kramer, 1970), 5 vols., Vol 4,. p.127.)
"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 inthe 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 oflife in which humour, above all, has its due place."
(Albert Einstein, The World As I See It (Filiquarian Publishing, 2006 (orig 1934))
"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.)

"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.)

"Schopenhauer was one of the first Western philosophers to recognize and argue for the rights of animals, condemning the cruelty to animals in many of his own writings."
(R. Raj Singh, Schopenhauer: A Guide for the Perplexed (London: Continuum, 2010), p.117.)

"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 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.)

"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)

    Some statements by Schopenhauer...

"For the world is Hell, and men are on the one hand, the tormented souls; and on the other, the devils in it."
"Life is a tricky business: I've decided to spend it, trying to understand it."
"It is difficult to find happiness within oneself, but it is impossible to find it anywhere else."
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."
"A pessimist is an optimist in full possession of the facts."
"The majority of men...are not capable of thinking, but only of believing, and...are not accessible to reason, but only to authority."
"A man can be himself only so long as he is alone; and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free."
"We seldom think of what we have but always of what we lack. Therefore, rather than grateful, we are bitter."
"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."
"A high degree of intellect tends to make a man unsocial."
"Man is never happy, but spends his whole life in striving after something which he thinks will make him so."
“I have long held the opinion that the amount of noise that anyone can bear undisturbed stands in inverse proportion to his mental capacity and therefore be regarded as a pretty fair measure of it.”
"Life swings like a pendulum backward and forward between pain and boredom."
"What people commonly call fate is mostly their own stupidity."
"The safest way of not being very miserable is not to expect to be very happy."
"The present is the only reality and the only certainty."
"The person who writes for fools is always sure of a large audience."
"Wealth is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become; and the same is true of fame."
"Consider the Koran...this wretched book was sufficient to start a world-religion, to satisfy the metaphysical need of countless millions for twelve hundred years, to become the basis of their morality and of a remarkable contempt for death, and also to inspire them to bloody wars and the most extensive conquests. In this book we find the saddest and poorest form of theism. Much may be lost in translation, but I have not been able to discover in it one single idea of value."
"Christianity...hardly deserves to be called a religion at all. It is rather a play of fantasy, a production cobbled together by poets out of popular legends, and for the most part an obvious personification of natural forces. It is hard to imagine that grown men ever took this childish religion seriously...According to this dogma, God called into existence out of nothing a weak and sin-prone race in order to hand it over to endless torment. There is finally the further fact that the God who prescribed forbearance and forgiveness of every sin, even to the point of loving one's enemy, fails to practise it himself, but does rather the opposite..."
"Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world."
"Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man."
"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 is the only guarantee of morality."
"Man is the only animal who causes pain to others with no other object than wanting to do so."
"Religion is the masterpiece of the art of animal training, for it trains people as to how they shall think."
"Men are the devils of the earth, and the animals are its tormented souls."
"Because Christian morality leaves animals out of account, they are at once outlawed in philosophical morals; they are mere 'things,' mere means to any ends whatsoever. They can therefore be used for vivisection, hunting, coursing, bullfights, and horse racing, and can be whipped to death as they struggle along with heavy carts of stone. Shame on such a morality that is worthy of pariahs, and that fails to recognize the eternal essence that exists in every living thing, and shines forth with inscrutable significance from all eyes that see the sun!"
"The eternal it lives in us, also lives in every animal."
"Almost all of our sorrows spring out of our relations with other people."
"After your death you will be what you were before your birth."
"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 death."
"A man can surely do what he wills to do, but cannot determine what he wills."
"If children were brought into the world by an act of pure reason alone, would the human race continue to exist? Would not a man rather have so much sympathy with the coming generation as to spare it the burden of existence, or at any rate not take it upon himself to impose that burden upon it in cold blood?"
“Marrying means to halve one’s rights and double one’s duties.”

Chronology of Schopenhauer's life
Videos about Schopenhauer
List of Schopenhauer's writings
Schopenhauer's writings online
Family correspondence
Schopenhauer in England
Writings about Schopenhauer
Online writings about Schopenhauer