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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.

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, Parerga and Paralipomena

There are 80,000 prostitutes in London alone and what are they, if not bloody sacrifices on the altar of monogamy?

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, "On Women," Studies in Pessimism

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, The World As Will and Representation

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

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, "On the Suffering of the World," Essays and Aphorisms

Every woman while she would be ready to die of shame if surprised in the act of generation, nonetheless carries her pregnancy without a trace of shame and indeed with a kind of pride. The reason is that pregnancy is in a certain sense a cancellation of the guilt incurred by coitus; thus coitus bears all the shame and disgrace of the affair, while pregnancy, which is so intimately associated with it, stays pure and innocent and is indeed to some extent sacred.

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, Essays and Aphorisms

Reading is thinking with some one else's head instead of one's own.

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, "On Thinking for Oneself", Parerga und Paralipomena

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.

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, Parerga and Paralipomena

The first forty years of life furnish the text, while the remaining thirty supply the commentary.

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, Counsels and Maxims

Authority and example lead the world.

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, attributed, Day's Collacon

Only loss teaches us about the value of things.

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, Aphorismen zur Lebensweisheit

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.

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, "Aphorisms on the Wisdom of Life", Parerga and Paralipomena

Reading is a mere makeshift for original thinking.

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, "On Thinking for Oneself", Parerga und Paralipomena

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

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, The World as Will and Representation

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.

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, Essays and Aphorisms

You should read only when your own thoughts dry up, which will of course happen frequently enough even to the best heads; but to banish your own thoughts so as to take up a book is a sin against the holy ghost; it is like deserting untrammeled nature to look at a herbarium or engravings of landscapes.

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, "On Thinking for Oneself", Parerga und Paralipomena

Natural abilities can almost compensate for the want of every kind of cultivation, but no cultivation of the mind can make up for the want of natural abilities.

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, attributed, Day's Collacon

That books do not take the place of experience, and that learning is no substitute for genius, are two kindred phenomena; their common ground is that the abstract can never take the place of the perceptive.

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, The World as Will and Representation

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

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, Studies in Pessimism

Of course, it is no easy matter to be polite; in so far, I mean, as it requires us to show great respect for everybody, whereas most people deserve none at all.

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, Counsels and Maxims

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.

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, The Wisdom of Life and Counsels and Maxims

Politeness is to human nature what warmth is to wax.

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, Counsels and Maxims

Rascals are always sociable--more's the pity! and the chief sign that a man has any nobility in his character is the little pleasure he takes in others' company. He prefers solitude more and more, and, in course of time, comes to see that, with few exceptions, the world offers no choice beyond solitude on one side and vulgarity on the other.


In our monogamous part of the world, to marry means to halve one's rights and double one's duties.

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, Parerga and Paralipomena


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