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Studies in Pessimism: The Essays

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  710 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
But all this contributes to increase the measures of suffering in human life out of all proportion to its pleasures; and the pains of life are made much worse for man by the fact that death is something very real to him. The brute flies from death instinctively without really knowing what it is, and therefore without ever contemplating it in the way natural to a man, who h ...more
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Published (first published 1851)
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Diamond Cowboy
Jan 24, 2016 Diamond Cowboy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always enjoyed this phylosopher's writings. I recommend everyone takes their time when going through this volume and study each paragraph carefully, and then reread it after you have put it a way for a while.
Enjoy and Be Blessed!
Apr 23, 2012 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Read it while in a depressive mood for the full effect. I picked this one up for the obvious reason that Schopenhauer's pessimism is one of his most famous and unique philosophical trends. Influences from India are obvious to those familiar with the concepts of "taṇhā" (thirst/desire) "maya" (illusion) or "dukkha" (suffering).

On the Sufferings of the World was the most concise expression of his pessimism. Reason is inferior to Will. Will is insatiable. An unsatiated will makes for an unhappy pe
Jeff M
Jan 17, 2009 Jeff M rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The original cranky old man. This book is at least amusing with all of his rants and raves. The message however can easily be summed up as: "Life sucks and than you die." "Women are only good for one thing, and we all know what that is." Than finally, "people make too much damn noise."

Now get off my lawn, and no you can't have your football back!
Jul 01, 2015 Saman rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
I didn't like "On noise", "On education" and "On women".
Neil Jenkins
Aug 11, 2011 Neil Jenkins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why does his pessimism uplift me? I think because he points out our psychological weaknesses, it allows you to step outside the box to see yourself, which always feels great.
Marcus Lira
Jan 12, 2008 Marcus Lira rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
As long as you ignore Schopenhauer's chauvinism in his essay "On Women", this is a really good book.
Pedro Rodrigues
Feb 04, 2015 Pedro Rodrigues rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: filosofia

Entrevista feita por mim a Arthur Schopenhauer, 4 de Fevereiro de 2015, Frankfurt.

Esta pequena entrevista abordará algumas problemáticas levantadas por Schopenhauer no livro "Studies in Pessimism". Entrevista de pendor humorístico-filosófico.

Eu: Quais são as suas esperanças relativamente ao novo governo grego? Crê que o partido de esquerda radical "Syriza" conseguirá inverter o paradigma económico-político que vigora na União Europeia, ou assistiremos mais uma vez à subjugação do poder político
Feb 21, 2013 Sam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
it was a lofty one.But such a wise philosopher disappointed me on his description on "women." he regards them with sheer contempt and considers them always secondary in humankind.probably the best quote on it is,"with people of only moderate ability,modesty is mere honesty;but with those who possess great talent,it is hypocrisy."
Luke McCullough
Apr 18, 2015 Luke McCullough rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With the exception of the chapter "On Women", which reflects the sex-based bigotry of a typical 19th century man, the essays found in this collection provide great illumination on life. Humans experience much dissatisfaction because, unlike other animals, we can look forward and backwards, hope, dream, etc.; we have concerns that transcend the present. Here is a parable of Schopenhauer's which I enjoyed:

A number of porcupines huddled together for warmth on a cold day in winter; but, as they bega
Apr 29, 2012 haripriya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-readings
Surprisingly fun read, including the misogynistic(*) essay and all. As a first-time reader of him, Schopenhauer comes across to me as this well-read and sharp guy with a tendency to go overboard with his scornful rants(sure lives up to the title of the book). He dishes out mostly interesting and palatable ideas to chew over and then shocks trying to force down something "seemingly" outrageous! I thought he was bang on in 2 of the essays-"On Suicide" and "On Education".

To describe the overall rea
Stacey Teague
Mar 06, 2013 Stacey Teague rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
notes i made whilst reading this:

thought for what is absent and future
consumed by reflection
what others think of you influences how we act in most situations
things that we deem necessary to have in order to live
entire sacrifice of self
assume that we are infinite like time/space (vanity)
present is to past as something is to nothing
hunger and the sexual instinct
becoming but never being
want for nothing
we are bored when we realise there is nothing valuable one can do with their time, which is the es
Only by ignoring the essay "on women," which is disgustingly sexist, did I arrive at a 4-star rating. The other essays (except perhaps "on noise") are quite good.
Mar 26, 2015 Andy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"No rose without a thorn. Yes, but many a thorn without a rose."

I can personally sympathize with Schopenhauer’s pessimistic views, and I certainly think there’s something to be gained from his view of life. He’s right that men cannot see past their own lives and see the insignificance of it. They rarely enjoy the present, always driven by the insatiable Universal Will, struggling for a future that never comes. We look upon the present, and life generally as a task, we constantly hope for a bette
Jan 31, 2015 T.J. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Seventy-six pages seems like an ideal length for a book of philosophical essays, especially on pessimism, but this is really an accessible, readable collection.

The first two essays are essential to Schopenhauer's philosophy; they touch on boredom, misfortune, suffering, disappointment, and the inevitability of death, and of course the will-to-life. One of his most famous lines--"It is bad to-day, and it will be worse to-morrow; and so on till the worst of all"--comes very early on.

But don't be t
Jeremy Egerer
Jan 24, 2016 Jeremy Egerer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Remember the book of Ecclesiastes? This is what it would have been if it had been written by somebody who was capable of writing. An extremely insightful look at happiness and the human condition, with only a couple of useless chapters and a hilariously controversial essay about women -- more controversial for the things he gets right than the things he gets devilishly wrong*. I leave the reader to decide which is which. Absolutely essential reading.

*Schopenhauer writes, "If it is true that the
Bill Wallace
Feb 27, 2015 Bill Wallace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The roots of rational romanticism. Known more by his reputation than by actual reading, Schopenhauer's influence has been eclipsed by Nietzsche and other, later philosophers, but returning to the source, or at least the river downstream from Kant, proves to be a surprisingly entertaining experience. If one can somehow overlook old Arthur's utterly vile view of women, the rest of this book feels true, mordantly funny, and stunningly modern. The last chapter, a collection of parables and aphorisms ...more
The book is a collection of essays taken from Schopenhauer's Parerga brought together by the translator under one title. The translator has taken the liberty of making certain omissions here and there which are supposed to avoid repeating arguments already presented in other books in the series. Given these caveats, it should be evident that the collection may not be a fair representation of the philosopher's system as a whole. Nevertheless, this review will concentrate on this collection of es ...more
Jacob Sanders
Apr 29, 2013 Jacob Sanders rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Again, totally worth it. Just have to read around his sexist and racist viewpoints.
Aug 28, 2015 Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, it contains his grumpy old man essay 'Noise' and his exceptionally disappointing and annoying essay 'On Women' both of which are 1 stars on their own....and yet here we are at 4.

Because when divorced from his lone butthurt pathologies and on the topics of philosophy itself Schopenhauer is still one of the greatest philosophers alive and possibly the only 19th Century German philosopher who I can pretty much unreservedly like. Even more important, the people these (and other) essays influe
Feb 14, 2015 Burcu rated it really liked it
Classic Schopenhauer! I agree with other reviewers that this book should be read in a depressed mood to get the most out of it. I always enjoy his philosophy and pessimism mostly because I really think he is right and life of mankind is all about dissapointments and dissatisfaction. Althought he never aims to help his readers with the pursuit of happiness, by contemplating and understanding his realistic aspect about -how miserable life actually is- we may enable ourselves to achieve self-realiz ...more
Chinonso Anunkor
Feb 27, 2013 Chinonso Anunkor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Made much sense the second time around
Jordi Polo
Dec 18, 2015 Jordi Polo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Los ensayos de "On women" y "On noise" no valen para nada pero todos los demas ensayos extremadamente interesantes.
La vida es un estado sin sentido, peor que la muerte donde se está bien sin sufrir. En la vida hay muchas necesidades provenientes en principio de nuestro cuerpo y luego complementadas por las de la sociedad y nuestro intelecto. Lo unico que podemos hacer es intentar cumplir esas necesidades para no sufrir.
Tenemos una voluntad para vivir que es lo que lo que es afectado por el tiemp
Apr 30, 2015 Shenanitims rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Schopenhauer's rather hit-or-miss. His views on Pessimism and Suicide are spot-on, but some other views haven't aged so well. His theorizing on women is extremely dated, but otherwise it shows a refreshing take on life. There's few people out there, philosophers or otherwise, who will openly support suicide and argue that pessimism is the (natural) way of the world.

Schopenhauer's work is apparently within the public domain, so hit up Amazon or your favorite ebook vendor to catch up like I am!
Michaelson Williams
As you look at my reading list you will most likely notice most of the books on my shelf are 5 stars like this one by Arthur Schopenhauer. The reason for these high rating is because most of the books I've read were for research and have been included as a reading list in the back of CLP - Corrective Linguistic Programming; How To Achieve Your Positive Life Intuitively. The books that I found less important to my book CLP were omitted therefore may not show up on my shelf or be reviewed on goodr ...more
Jun 06, 2014 Jakob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
What to say about this one? This is a collection of essays written by the ultimate grumpy philosopher. The texts were originally published in 'Pererga und Paralipomena', and the following essays are included:


Schopenhauer is in my opinion one of the most interesting and perspicacious philosophers. He is also one of the most readable philosoph
John Martindale
3 Stars because it was a bit entertaining and funny. Of course, my calling it entertaining and funny, would likely be a disappointment to Schopenhauer if he was still around to read the review. He would be far more pleased if I read his book and then went out and shot myself. His chapter on suicide was amusing, ranting against the absurdity that its against the law, for after all, the bible itself never even says anything against killing yourself!
Since I carry with me a melancholy personality,
Michael Walsh
Aug 03, 2014 Michael Walsh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Given time to reflect on this book as a whole, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it. Schopenhauer's pessimism is unrelenting, which is of course a necessary condition for such a work. At times his pessimism appears to be a lucid description of the human condition, but at times it also feels distant. Once you read his essay on women, it all sort of feels distorted. I picture Schopenhauer writing his essays in a constant grimace, in a terrible mood, and obviously after his chapter on noise (o ...more
Sep 12, 2013 Lotz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Schopenhauer is the hunched-over, cranky old man who resides in all of us. I think even the most resolutely cheerful person would identify with some of what he says, if only because Schopenhauer articulates his views in such a lucid, entertaining way. And, really, it’s fun to be cranky—yelling at the neighborhood kids making a racket, snubbing your nose at chattering women, and looking down at the general imbecility of mankind (all this can be found in the essay).

What is amazing about Schopenhau
Yassine Bhs
" 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. "
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Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher best known for his work The World as Will and Representation. Schopenhauer attempted to make his career as an academic by correcting and expanding Immanuel Kant's philosophy concerning the way in which we experience the world.

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“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.” 514 likes
“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?” 140 likes
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