Needs, discomfort and suffering is what we start from. This is what I learn from the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.
He is best known for his pessimism and his misogyny. To him, the world is hell. Try to find a room furthest from the flames. One should renounce life, not seek happiness.
This student of Immanuel Kant (another German philosopher), Schopenhauer was strongly influenced by Eastern philosophy.
He believed that human action is determined not by reason but by ‘will’ – the blind and irrational desire for physical existence.
He was the nineteenth century philosopher who said: “that optical illusion of the mind from which everyone suffers, making life, at its beginning, seem of long duration; and at its end, when one looks back over the course of it, how short a time it seems!”
In his twenties, Schopenhauer wrote “The World as Will and Idea“.
In his essay “On the Freedom of the Will“, Schopenhauer stated, “You can do what you will, but in any given moment of your life you can will only one definite thing and absolutely nothing other than that one thing.”
He said there are three types of freedom, namely, physical, intellectual, and moral.
For those of you who are new to this philosopher, get “Arthur Schopenhauer, His Life and Philosophy” by Helen Zimmern.
Here is a selection of Arthur Schopenhauer quotations:
“Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.”
“Compassion is the basis of morality.”
“All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed; Second, it is violently opposed; Third, it is accepted as self-evident.”
“Happiness consists in frequent repetition of pleasure”
“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.”
“The person who writes for fools is always sure of a large audience.”
“One should use common words to say uncommon things.”
“A high degree of intellect tends to make a man unsocial.”
“Life is a constant process of dying.”
“Hope is the confusion of the desire for a thing with its probability. ”
“The more unintelligent a man is, the less mysterious existence seems to him.”
“Marrying means to halve one’s rights and double one’s duties.”
“We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves in order to be like other people.”
“Treat a work of art like a prince: let it speak to you first.”
“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.”
“Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal.”
“Faith is like love: it does not let itself be forced.”
“Wealth is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become; and the same is true of fame.”
“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.”
“The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom.”