The Wisdom of Life Quotes

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The Wisdom of Life The Wisdom of Life by Arthur Schopenhauer
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The Wisdom of Life Quotes Showing 1-30 of 30
“There is not much to be got anywhere in the world. It is filled with misery and pain; if a man escapes these, boredeom lies in wait for him at every corner. Nay more; it is evil which generally has the upper hand, and folly that makes the most noise. Fate is cruel and mankind pitiable.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“When we see that almost everything men devote their lives to attain, sparing no effort and encountering a thousand toils and dangers in the process, has, in the end, no further object than to raise themselves in the estimation of others; when we see that not only offices, titles, decorations, but also wealth, nay, even knowledge[1] and art, are striven for only to obtain, as the ultimate goal of all effort, greater respect from one's fellowmen,—is not this a lamentable proof of the extent to which human folly can go?”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“Honor has not to be won; it must only not be lost.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“For the more a man has in himself, the less he will want from other people,—the less, indeed, other people can be to him. This is why a high degree of intellect tends to make a man unsocial. True,”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“In travelling where novelties of all kinds press in upon us, mental food is often supplied so rapidly from without that there is no time for digestion. We regret that the quickly shifting impressions can leave no permanent imprint. In reality, however, it is with this as it is with reading. How often we regret not being able to retain in the memory one-thousandth part of what is read ! It is comforting in both cases to know that the seen as well as the read has made a mental impression before it is forgotten, and thus forms the mind and nourishes it, while that which is retained in the memory merely fills and swells the hollow of the head with matter which remains ever foreign to it, because it has not been absorbed, and therefore the recipient can be as empty as before.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“For what a man is in himself, what accompanies him when he is alone, what no one can give or take away, is obviously more essential to him than everything he has in the way of possessions, or even what he may be in the eyes of the world. An intellectual man in complete solitude has excellent entertainment in his own thoughts and fancies, while no amount of diversity or social pleasure, theatres, excursions and amusements, can ward off boredom from a dullard.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“The happiness we receive from ourselves is greater than that which we obtain from our surroundings[1]”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“Would a musician feel flattered by the loud applause of an audience if he knew that they were nearly all deaf, and that, to conceal their infirmity, they set to work to clap vigorously as soon as ever they saw one or two persons applauding?”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“No doubt, when modesty was made a virtue, it was a very advantageous thing for the fools; for everybody is expected to speak of himself as if he were one.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“What a man is: that is to say, personality, in the widest sense of the word; under which are included health, strength, beauty, temperament, moral character, intelligence, and education.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“All the pride and pleasure of the world, mirrored in the dull consciousness of a fool, are poor indeed compared with the imagination of Cervantes writing his Don Quixote in a miserable prison.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“If you stroke a cat, it will purr; and, as inevitably, if you praise a man, a sweet expression of delight will appear on his face; and even though the praise is a palpable lie, it will be welcome, if the matter is one on which he prides himself.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“... what every one most aims at in ordinary contact with his fellows is to prove them inferior to himself ...”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“It is the possession of a great heart or a great head, and not the mere fame of it, which is worth having, and conducive to happiness. Not fame, but that which deserves to be famous, is what a man should hold in esteem.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“The general history of art and literature shows that the highest achievements of the human mind are, as a rule, not favorably received at first; but remain in obscurity until they win notice from intelligence of a high order, by whose influence they are brought into a position which they then maintain, in virtue of the authority thus given them. If the reason of this should be asked, it will be found that ultimately, a man can really understand and appreciate those things only which are of like nature with himself. The dull person will like what is dull, and the common person what is common; a man whose ideas are mixed will be attracted by confusion of thought; and folly will appeal to him who has no brains at all; but best of all, a man will like his own works, as being of a character thoroughly at one with himself.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“The cheapest sort of pride is national pride; for if a man is proud of his own nation, it argues that he has no qualities of his own of which he can be proud; otherwise he would not have recourse to those which he shares with so many millions of his fellowmen. The man who is endowed with important personal qualities will be only too ready to see clearly in what respects his own nation falls short, since their failings will be constantly before his eyes. But every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud adopts, as a last resource, pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and glad to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail,”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“... a hundred fools together will not make one wise man.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“But if a man finds himself in possession of great mental faculties, such as alone should venture on the solution of the hardest of all problems—those which concern nature as a whole and humanity in its widest range, he will do well to extend his view equally in all directions, without ever straying too far amid the intricacies of various by-paths, or invading regions little known; in other words, without occupying himself with special branches of knowledge, to say nothing of their petty details. There is no necessity for him to seek out subjects difficult of access, in order to escape a crowd of rivals; the common objects of life will give him material for new theories at once serious and true; and the service he renders will be appreciated by all those—and they form a great part of mankind—who know the facts of which he treats. What a vast distinction there is between students of physics, chemistry, anatomy, mineralogy, zoology, philology, history, and the men who deal with the great facts of human life, the poet and the philosopher!”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“Since everything which exists or happens for a man exists only in his consciousness and happens for it alone, the most essential thing for a man is the constitution of this consciousness, which is in most cases far more important than the circumstances which go to form its contents.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“To measure a man's happiness only by what he gets, and not also by what he expects to get, is as futile as to try and express a fraction which shall have a numerator but no denominator.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“For to start life with just as much as will make one independent, that is, allow one to live comfortably without having to work—even if one has only just enough for oneself, not to speak of a family—is an advantage which cannot be over-estimated; for it means exemption and immunity from that chronic disease of penury, which fastens on the life of man like a plague; it is emancipation from that forced labor which is the natural lot of every mortal. Only under a favorable fate like this can a man be said to be born free, to be, in the proper sense of the word, sui juris, master of his own time and powers, and able to say every morning, This day is my own.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“But inherited wealth reaches its utmost value when it falls to the individual endowed with mental powers of a high order, who is resolved to pursue a line of life not compatible with the making of money; for he is then doubly endowed by fate and can live for his genius; and he will pay his debt to mankind a hundred times, by achieving what no other could achieve, by producing some work which contributes to the general good, and redounds to the honor of humanity at large.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“...officers in the army, (except those in the highest positions), are paid most inadequately for the services they perform; and the deficiency is made up by honor, which is represented by titles and orders, and, in general, by the system of rank and distinction.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“We should add very much to our happiness by a timely recognition of the simple truth that every man's chief and real existence is in his own skin, and not in other people's opinions [...] To set much too high a value on other people's opinion is a common error everywhere; an error, it may be, rooted in human nature itself, or the result of civilization, and social arrangements generally; but, whatever its source, it exercises a very immoderate influence on all we do, and is very prejudicial to our happiness.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“The peculiar characteristic of the philistine is a dull, dry kind of gravity, akin to that of animals. Nothing really pleases, or excites, or interests him, for sensual pleasure is quickly exhausted, and the society of philistines soon becomes burdensome, and one may even get tired of playing cards.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“Health outweighs all other blessings so much that one may really say that a healthy beggar is happier than an ailing king. A quiet and cheerful temperament, happy in the enjoyment of a perfectly sound physique, an intellect clear, lively, penetrating and seeing things as they are, a moderate and gentle will, and therefore a good conscience—these are privileges which no rank or wealth can make up for or replace.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“omnis motus, quo celerior, eo magis motus.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“But a man who does none of these things, who does not even try to do them, who never attempts to learn the rudiments of any branch of knowledge so that he may at least do what he can towards promoting it—such a one, born as he is into riches, is a mere idler and thief of time, a contemptible fellow. He will not even be happy, because, in his case, exemption from need delivers him up to the other extreme of human suffering, boredom, which is such martyrdom to him, that he would have been better off if poverty had given him something to do. And as he is bored he is apt to be extravagant, and so lose the advantage of which he showed himself unworthy.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“every man is pent up within the limits of his own consciousness, and cannot directly get beyond those limits any more than he can get beyond his own skin;”
Arthur Schopenhauer, The Wisdom of Life
“felicidad perfecta es inalcanzable, podamos llegar a esa felicidad relativa que consiste en la ausencia del dolor.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, El arte de ser feliz: Explicado en cincuenta reglas para la vida