26+ quotes from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1 by Arthur Schopenhauer

Quotes from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1

Arthur Schopenhauer ·  534 pages

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“The life of every individual, viewed as a whole and in general, and when only its most significant features are emphasized, is really a tragedy; but gone through in detail it has the character of a comedy.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“Life is short and truth works far and lives long: let us speak the truth.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“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.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“What give all that is tragic, whatever its form, the characteristic of the sublime, is the first inkling of the knowledge that the world and life can give no satisfaction, and are not worth our investment in them. The tragic spirit consists in this. Accordingly it leads to resignation.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“And to this world, to this scene of tormented and agonised beings, who only continue to exist by devouring each other, in which, therefore, every ravenous beast is the living grave of thousands of others, and its self-maintenance is a chain of painful deaths; and in which the capacity for feeling pain increases with knowledge, and therefore reaches its highest degree in man, a degree which is the higher the more intelligent the man is; to this world it has been sought to apply the system of optimism, and demonstrate to us that it is the best of all possible worlds. The absurdity is glaring.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“Therefore the man of genius requires imagination, in order to see in things not what nature has actually formed, but what she endeavoured to form, yet did not bring about, because of the conflict of her forms with one another”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“Genius is the ability to leave entirely out of sight our own interest, our willing, and our aims, and consequently to discard entirely our own personality for a time, in order to remain pure knowing subject, the clear eye of the world; and this not merely for moments, but with the necessary continuity and conscious thought to enable us to repeat by deliberate art what has been apprehended and "what in wavering apparition gleams fix in its place with thoughts that stand for ever!”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“All striving comes from lack, from a dissatisfaction with one's condition, and is thus suffering as long as it is not satisfied; but no satisfaction is lasting; instead, it is only the beginning of a new striving. We see striving everywhere inhibited in many ways, struggling everywhere; and thus always suffering; there is no final goal of striving, and therefore no bounds or end to suffering.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“Any beautiful mind, full of ideas, would always express itself in the most natural, simple and straightforward way, anxious to communicate its thoughts to others (if this is at all possible) and thus relieve the solitude that he must experience in a world such as this: but conversely, intellectual poverty, confusion and wrong-headedness, clothe themselves in the most laboured expressions and obscure turns of phrase in order to conceal petty, trivial, bland or trite thoughts in difficult and pompous expressions.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“All happiness is of a negative rather than positive nature, and for this reason cannot give lasting satisfaction and gratification, but rather only ever a release from a pain or lack, which must be followed either by a new pain or by languor, empty yearning and boredom.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“It is really incredible how meaningless and insignificant when seen from without, and how dull and senseless when felt from within, is the course of life of the great majority of men. It is weary longing and worrying, a dreamlike staggering through the four ages of life to death, accompanied by a series of trivial thoughts. They are like clockwork that is wound up and goes without knowing why. 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. Every individual, every human apparition and its course of life, is only one more short dream of the endless spirit of nature, of the persistent will-to-live, is only one more fleeting form, playfully sketched by it on its infinite page, space and time; it is allowed to exist for a short while that is infinitesimal compared with these, and is then effaced, to make new room. Yet, and here is to be found the serious side of life, each of these fleeting forms, these empty fancies, must be paid for by the whole will-to-live in all its intensity with many deep sorrows, and finally with a bitter death, long feared and finally made manifest. It is for this reason that the sight of a corpse suddenly makes us serious.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“That which knows all things and is known by none is the subject.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“What keeps all living things busy and in motion is the striving to exist. But when existence is secured, they do not know what to do: that is why the second thing that sets them in motion is a striving to get rid of the burden of existence, not to feel it any longer, 'to kill time', i.e. to escape boredom.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“Poetry is related to philosophy as experience is related to empirical science. Experience makes us acquainted with the phenomenon in the particular and by means of examples, science embraces the whole of phenomena by means of general conceptions. So poetry seeks to make us acquainted with the Platonic Ideas through the particular and by means of examples. Philosophy aims at teaching, as a whole and in general, the inner nature of things which expresses itself in these. One sees even here that poetry bears more the character of youth, philosophy that of old age.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“[Materialism] seeks the primary and most simple state of matter, and then tries to develop all the others from it; ascending from mere mechanism, to chemism, to polarity, to the vegetable and to the animal kingdom. And if we suppose this to have been done, the last link in the chain would be animal sensibility - that is knowledge - which would consequently now appear as a mere modification or state of matter produced by causality. Now if we had followed materialism thus far with clear ideas, when we reached its highest point we would suddenly be seized with a fit of the inextinguishable laughter of the Olympians. As if waking from a dream, we would all at once become aware that its final result - knowledge, which it reached so laboriously, was presupposed as the indispensable condition of its very starting-point, mere matter; and when we imagined that we thought matter, we really thought only the subject that perceives matter; the eye that sees it, the hand that feels it, the understanding that knows it. Thus the tremendous petitio principii reveals itself unexpectedly.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“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.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“Our greatest sufferings do not lie in the present, as intuitive representations or immediate feeling, but rather in reason, as abstract concepts, tormenting thoughts.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“The conviction is well founded, which the sight of noble conduct calls forth, that the spirit of love... can never pass away and become nothing.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“Everything is beautiful only so long as it does not concern us.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“optimism, where it is not just the thoughtless talk of someone with only words in his flat head, strikes me as not only absurd, but even a truly wicked way of thinking, a bitter mockery of the unspeakable sufferings of humanity.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“If now the all-mother sends forth her children without protection to a thousand threatening dangers, this can only be because she knows that if they fall they fall back into her womb, where they are safe; therefore their fall is a mere jest.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“the ancient wisdom of the Indian philosophers declares, “It is Mâyâ, the veil of deception, which blinds the eyes of mortals, and makes them behold a world of which they cannot say either that it is or that it is not: for it is like a dream; it is like the sunshine on the sand which the traveller takes from afar for water, or the stray piece of rope he mistakes for a snake.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“Boredom is certainly not an evil to be taken lightly: it will ultimately etch lines of true despair onto a face. It makes beings with as little love for each other as humans nonetheless seek each other with such intensity, and in this way becomes the source of sociability.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“[T]he whole talk about the absolute, is nothing but the cosmological proof incognito. This proof, in consequence of the case brought against it by Kant, deprived of all right and declared outlawed, dare no longer show itself in its true form, and therefore appears in all kinds of disguises - now in distinguished form, concealed under intellectual intuition or pure thought now as a suspicious vagabond, half begging, half demanding what it wants in more unpretending philosophemes. If an absolute must absolutely be had, then I will give one which is far better fitted to meet all the demands which are made on such a thing than these visionary phantoms: it is matter. It has no beginning, and it is imperishable; thus it is really independent, and quod per se est et per se concipitur; from its womb all proceeds, and to it all returns; what more can be desired of an absolute?”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“The past and the future (considered apart from the consequences of their content) are empty as a dream, and the present is only the indivisible and unenduring boundary between them.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


“On the other hand, I must mention that, by a diligent search in lunatic asylums, I have found individual cases of patients who where unquestionably endowed with great talents, and whose genius distinctly appeared through their madness, which, however, had completely gained the upper hand.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, quote from The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1


About the author

Arthur Schopenhauer
Born place: in Free City of Danzig (today Gdańsk), Poland
Born date February 22, 1788
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