100+ Best Schopenhauer Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher. He is best known for his 1818 work The World as Will and Representation, wherein he characterizes the phenomenal world as the product of a blind and insatiable metaphysical will. Profoundly inspirational Schopenhauer quotes will challenge the way you think, and make your life worth living.

If you’re searching for deep quotes by philosophers that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of quotes by William James, best Montesquieu quotes and famous Bertrand Russell quotes.

Famous Schopenhauer Quotes

A pessimist is an optimist in full possession of the facts. – Schopenhauer

The more unintelligent a man is, the less mysterious existence seems to him. – Schopenhauer

Want and boredom are indeed the twin poles of human life. – Schopenhauer

Life is full of troubles and vexations, that one must either rise above it by means of corrected thoughts, or leave it. – Schopenhauer

The majority of men… are not capable of thinking, but only of believing, and… are not accessible to reason, but only to authority. – Schopenhauer

Journalists are like dogs, when ever anything moves they begin to bark. – Schopenhauer

How very paltry and limited the normal human intellect is, and how little lucidity there is in the human consciousness, may be judged from the fact that, despite the ephemeral brevity of human life, the uncertainty of our existence and the countless enigmas which press upon us from all sides, everyone does not continually and ceaselessly philosophize, but that only the rarest of exceptions do. – Schopenhauer

No rose without a thorn but many a thorn without a rose. – Schopenhauer

No greater mistake can be made than to imagine that what has been written latest is always the more correct; that what is written later on is an improvement on what was written previously; and that every change means progress. – Schopenhauer

Truth that is naked is the most beautiful, and the simpler its expression the deeper is the impression it makes. – Schopenhauer

Every time a man is begotten and born, the clock of human life is wound up anew to repeat once more its same old tune that has already been played innumerable times, movement by movement and measure by measure, with insignificant variations. – Schopenhauer

Optimism is not only a false but also a pernicious doctrine, for it presents life as a desirable state and man’s happiness as its aim and object. Starting from this, everyone then believes he has the most legitimate claim to happiness and enjoyment. If, as usually happens, these do not fall to his lot, he believes that he suffers an injustice, in fact that he misses the whole point of his existence. – Schopenhauer

Our life is a loan received from death with sleep as the daily interest on this loan. – Schopenhauer

Marrying means doing whatever possible to become repulsed of each other – Schopenhauer

Dissimulation is innate in woman, and almost as much a quality of the stupid as of the clever. – Schopenhauer

Memory works like the collection glass in the Camera obscura: it gathers everything together and therewith produces a far more beautiful picture than was present originally. – Schopenhauer

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. – Schopenhauer

Life is a constant process of dying. – Schopenhauer

Every hero is a Samson. The strong man succumbs to the intrigues of the weak and the many; and if in the end he loses all patience he crushes both them and himself. – Schopenhauer

To be shocked at how deeply rejection hurts is to ignore what acceptance involves. We must never allow our suffering to be compounded by suggestions that there is something odd in suffering so deeply. There would be something amiss if we didn’t. – Schopenhauer

Just as one spoils the stomach by overfeeding and thereby impairs the whole body, so can one overload and choke the mind by giving it too much nourishment. For the more one reads the fewer are the traces left of what one has read; the mind is like a tablet that has been written over and over. Hence it is impossible to reflect; and it is only by reflection that one can assimilate what one has read. If one reads straight ahead without pondering over it later, what has been read does not take root, but is for the most part lost. – Schopenhauer

Truth is no harlot who throws her arms round the neck of him who does not desire her; on the contrary, she is so coy a beauty that even the man who sacrifices everything to her can still not be certain of her favors. – Schopenhauer

You are free to do what you want, but you are not free to want what you want. – Schopenhauer

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 happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority. – Schopenhauer

No one can transcend their own individuality. – Schopenhauer

The greatest wisdom is to make the enjoyment of the present the supreme object of life; because that is the only reality, all else being merely the play of thought. On the other hand, such a course might just as well be called the greatest folly: for that which in the next moment exists no more, and vanishes utterly, like a dream, can never be worth a serious effort. – Schopenhauer

A man can surely do what he wills to do, but cannot determine what he wills. – Schopenhauer

Noise is the most impertinent of all forms of interruption. It is not only an interruption, but also a disruption of thought. – Schopenhauer

What disturbs and depresses young people is the hunt for happiness on the firm assumption that it must be met with in life. From this arises constantly deluded hope and so also dissatisfaction. Deceptive images of a vague happiness hover before us in our dreams, and we search in vain for their original. Much would have been gained if, through timely advice and instruction, young people could have had eradicated from their minds the erroneous notion that the world has a great deal to offer them. – Schopenhauer

Life is a language in which certain truths are conveyed to us; if we could learn them in some other way, we should not live. – Schopenhauer

Religion is the metaphysics of the masses. – Schopenhauer

If we suspect that a man is lying, we should pretend to believe him; for then he becomes bold and assured, lies more vigorously, and is unmasked. – Schopenhauer

Vulgar people take huge delight in the faults and follies of great men. – Schopenhauer

The shortness of life, so often lamented, may be the best thing about it. – Schopenhauer

Restlessness is the hallmark of existence. – Schopenhauer

The real meaning of persona is a mask, such as actors were accustomed to wear on the ancient stage; and it is quite true that no one shows himself as he is, but wears his mask and plays his part. Indeed, the whole of our social arrangements may be likened to a perpetual comedy; and this is why a man who is worth anything finds society so insipid, while a blockhead is quite at home in it. – Schopenhauer

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. – Schopenhauer

The vanity of existence is revealed in the whole form existence assumes: in the infiniteness of time and space contrasted with the finiteness of the individual in both; in the fleeting present as the sole form in which actuality exists; in the contingency and relativity of all things; in continual becoming without being; in continual desire without satisfaction; in the continual frustration of striving of which life consists. . . Time is that by virtue of which everything becomes nothingness in our hands and loses all real value. – Schopenhauer

Mankind cannot get on without a certain amount of absurdity. – Schopenhauer

We can regard our life as a uselessly disturbing episode in the blissful repose of nothingness. – Schopenhauer

With people of limited ability modesty is merely honesty. But with those who possess great talent it is hypocrisy. – Schopenhauer

If a relationship is perfectly natural there will be a complete fusion of the happiness of both of you-owing to fellow-feeling and various other laws which govern our natures, this is, quite simply, the greatest happiness that can exist. – Schopenhauer

Almost all of our sorrows spring out of our relations with other people. – Schopenhauer

That which knows all things and is known by none is the subject. – Schopenhauer

The person who writes for fools is always sure of a large audience. – Schopenhauer

It is difficult to find happiness within oneself, but it is impossible to find it anywhere else. – Schopenhauer

I know of no more beautiful prayer than that which the Hindus of old used in closing: May all that have life be delivered from suffering. – Schopenhauer

Apart from man, no being wonders at its own experience. – Schopenhauer

Honor means that a man is not exceptional; fame, that he is. Fame is something which must be won; honor, only something which must not be lost. – Schopenhauer

The fourfold root of the principle of sufficent reason is Anything perceived has a cause. All conclusions have premises. All effects have causes. All actions have motives. – Schopenhauer

Life is a business that does not cover the costs. – Schopenhauer

It is only a man’s own fundamental thoughts that have truth and life in them. – Schopenhauer

Scoundrels are always sociable. – Schopenhauer

When a man has reached a condition in which he believes that a thing must happen because he does not wish it, and that what he wishes to happen never will be, this is really the state called desperation. – Schopenhauer

Patriotism is the passion of fools and the most foolish of passions. – Schopenhauer

Every nation ridicules other nations, and all are right. – Schopenhauer

A man of genius can hardly be sociable, for what dialogues could indeed be so intelligent and entertaining as his own monologues? – Schopenhauer

Politeness is a tacit agreement that people’s miserable defects, whether moral or intellectual, shall on either side be ignored and not be made the subject of reproach. – Schopenhauer

Genius and madness have something in common: both live in a world that is different from that which exists for everyone else. – Schopenhauer

If anyone spends almost the whole day in reading…he gradually loses the capacity for thinking…This is the case with many learned persons; they have read themselves stupid – Schopenhauer

Will without intellect is the most vulgar and common thing in the world, possessed by every blockhead, who, in the gratification of his passions, shows the stuff of which he is made. – Schopenhauer

Wealth is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become; and the same is true of fame. – Schopenhauer

To attain something desired is to discover how vain it is; and…though we live all our lives in expectation of better things, we often at the same time long regretfully for what is past. The present, on the other hand, is regarded as something quite temporary and serving only as the road to our goal. That is why most men discover when they look back on their life that they have the whole time been living ad interim, and are surprised to see that which they let go by so unregarded and unenjoyed was precisely their life, was precisely in expectation of which they lived. – Schopenhauer

I have not yet spoken my last word about women. I believe that if a woman succeeds in withdrawing from the mass, or rather raising herself from above the mass, she grows ceaselessly and more than a man. – Schopenhauer

Men best show their character in trifles, where they are not on their guard. It is in the simplest habits, that we often see the boundless egotism which pays no regard to the feelings of others and denies nothing to itself. – Schopenhauer

Human existence is an error…it is bad today and every day it gets worse, until the worst happens. – Schopenhauer

Our moral virtues benefit mainly other people; intellectual virtues, on the other hand, benefit primarily ourselves; therefore the former make us universally popular, the latter unpopular. – Schopenhauer

Man is never happy, but spends his whole life in striving after something which he thinks will make him so. – Schopenhauer

The greatest of follies is to sacrifice health for any other kind of happiness. – Schopenhauer

It would be better if there were nothing. Since there is more pain than pleasure on earth, every satisfaction is only transitory, creating new desires and new distresses, and the agony of the devoured animal is always far greater than the pleasure of the devourer – Schopenhauer

Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world. – Schopenhauer

Marrying means, to grasp blindfolded into a sack hoping to find out an eel out of an assembly of snakes. – Schopenhauer

The reason domestic pets are so lovable and so helpful to us is because they enjoy, quietly and placidly, the present moment. – Schopenhauer

Reason is feminine in nature; it can only give after it has received. – Schopenhauer

If the lives of men were relieved of all need, hardship and adversity; if everything they took in hand were successful, they would be so swollen with arrogance that, though they might not burst, they would present the spectacle of unbridled folly-nay, they would go mad. And I may say, further, that a certain amount of care or pain or trouble is necessary for every man at all times. A ship without ballast is unstable and will not go straight. – Schopenhauer

Life is short and truth works far and lives long: let us speak the truth. – Schopenhauer

I am often surprised by the cleverness, and now and again by the stupidity, of my dog; and I have similar experiences with mankind. – Schopenhauer

There are two things which make it impossible to believe that this world is the successful work of an all-wise, all-good, and at the same time, all-powerful being; firstly, the misery which abounds in it everywhere; and secondly, the obvious imperfection of its highest product, man, who is a burlesque of what he should be. – Schopenhauer

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. – Schopenhauer

Exaggeration of every kind is as essential to journalism as it is to dramatic art, for the object of journalism is to make events go as far as possible. – Schopenhauer

We seldom think of what we have but always of what we lack. Therefore, rather than grateful, we are bitter. – Schopenhauer

It is a wise thing to be polite; consequently, it is a stupid thing to be rude. To make enemies by unnecessary and willful incivility, is just as insane a proceeding as to set your house on fire. For politeness is like a counter–an avowedly false coin, with which it is foolish to be stingy. – Schopenhauer

One should use common words to say uncommon things – Schopenhauer

Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things. – Schopenhauer

When you look back on your life, it looks as though it were a plot, but when you are into it, it’s a mess: just one surprise after another. Then, later, you see it was perfect. – Schopenhauer

Great men are like eagles, and build their nest on some lofty solitude. – Schopenhauer

We may divide thinkers into those who think for themselves and those who think through others. The latter are the rule and the former the exception. The first are original thinkers in a double sense, and egotists in the noblest meaning of the word. – Schopenhauer

Life without pain has no meaning. – Schopenhauer

Suicide may also be regarded as an experiment – a question which man puts to Nature, trying to force her to answer. The question is this: What change will death produce in a man’s existence and in his insight into the nature of things? It is a clumsy experiment to make; for it involves the destruction of the very consciousness which puts the question and awaits the answer. – Schopenhauer

There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is generally adopted. – Schopenhauer

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. – Schopenhauer

Reading is equivalent to thinking with someone else’s head instead of with one’s own. – Schopenhauer

Students and scholars of all kinds and of every age aim, as a rule, only at information, not insight. They make it a point of honour to have information about everything, every stone, plant, battle, or experiment and about all books, collectively and individually. It never occurs to them that information is merely a means to insight, but in itself is of little or no value. – Schopenhauer

Pleasure is never as pleasant as we expected it to be and pain is always more painful. The pain in the world always outweighs the pleasure. If you don’t believe it, compare the respective feelings of two animals, one of which is eating the other. – Schopenhauer

The safest way of not being very miserable is not to expect to be very happy. – Schopenhauer

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? – Schopenhauer

Pride is an established conviction of one’s own paramount worth in some particular respect, while vanity is the desire of rousing such a conviction in others, and it is generally accompanied by the secret hope of ultimately coming to the same conviction oneself. Pride works from within; it is the direct appreciation of oneself. Vanity is the desire to arrive at this appreciation indirectly, from without. – Schopenhauer

The discovery of truth is prevented more effectively, not by the false appearance things present and which mislead into error, not directly by weakness of the reasoning powers, but by preconceived opinion, by prejudice. – Schopenhauer

A good supply of resignation is of the first importance in providing for the journey of life. – Schopenhauer

The art of not reading is a very important one. It consists in not taking an interest in whatever may be engaging the attention of the general public at any particular time. When some political or ecclesiastical pamphlet, or novel, or poem is making a great commotion, you should remember that he who writes for fools always finds a large public. A precondition for reading good books is not reading bad ones: for life is short. – Schopenhauer

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