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Studies in Pessimism: The Essays

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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 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 has this prospect always before his eyes. So that even if only a few brutes die a natural death, and most of them live only just long enough to transmit their species, and then, if not earlier, become the prey of some other animal.


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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 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 has this prospect always before his eyes. So that even if only a few brutes die a natural death, and most of them live only just long enough to transmit their species, and then, if not earlier, become the prey of some other animal.

30 review for Studies in Pessimism: The Essays

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    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 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 person. Therefore either happiness is impossible, or one must (somehow) get the Will under control. Its a pretty depressing take on the human condition, esp as regards human intimacy. The strong appeal it has for me is disconcerting. The essay on suicide is great. Not that I'm into suicide personally, but that there are good arguments for why some people should do it, and why it's taboo nature is unjustified. This is the kind of thing I'd like to prank call a suicide hotline with. "On Noise" seemed bizarre and unnecessarily crotchety, especially out of his historical context (he was very upset about people cracking whips on the street). I like to think deeply about things, and noise doesn't tend to bother me very much unless its both loud and persistant. Maybe Ol' Schopy wasnt very good at meditating. The essay on women was pretty misogynistic, yet it did have a legitimate point in claiming that male and female brains are fundamentally different. From my limited reading of brain science, it seems like his portrayal of this difference is obsolete. Essay on education was also great. Education teaches us to construct abstract conceptual frameworks, and then fit our facts and everyday experiences into this framework. This is an unnatural and flawed mode of learning. Abstract frameworks should come from the wisdom garnered by empirical experience. The result is that we worship abstract "fixed ideas" learned in childhood and eschew experience or evidence which contradicts them. Makes me want to give a more thorough reading of Stirner's essay on education, which I did not do justice. The parables were OK, but im not really one for aphorisms, so I dock thee one star. Biggest takeaways: That human intimacy is a very difficult and risky endeavor. That the Will is the tyrant behind the eyes who must somehow be usurped, or made peace with. He is quite a good writer (or the translator is good). Its all cogent and easily readable without much backtracking. Easier than either Nietzsche or Stirner imo. That said, this was defiantly a beginner text.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeff M

    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! 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!

  3. 5 out of 5

    P.E.

    Bitter syllogisms & paralogisms Contents: - Pointlessness of existence - The meaning and value of suicide - The negative value of pleasure - The influence of education on our way to perceive the world... - The inferiority of women (...) - Rambling thoughts about noise - Superiority complex A few quotes: 'They tell us that suicide is the greatest piece of cowardice; that only a madman could be guilty of it; and other insipidities of the same kind; or else they make the nonsensical remark that suicide is wr Bitter syllogisms & paralogisms Contents: - Pointlessness of existence - The meaning and value of suicide - The negative value of pleasure - The influence of education on our way to perceive the world... - The inferiority of women (...) - Rambling thoughts about noise - Superiority complex A few quotes: 'They tell us that suicide is the greatest piece of cowardice; that only a madman could be guilty of it; and other insipidities of the same kind; or else they make the nonsensical remark that suicide is wrong; when it is quite obvious that there is nothing in the world to which every man has a more unassailable title than to his own life and person.' 'I have reminded the reader that every state of welfare, every feeling of satisfaction, is negative in its character; that is to say, it consists in freedom from pain, which is the positive element of existence. It follows, therefore, that the happiness of any given life is to be measured, not by its joys and pleasures, but by the extent to which it has been free from suffering—from positive evil.' 'It is just this characteristic way in which the brute gives itself up entirely to the present moment that contributes so much to the delight we take in our domestic pets. They are the present moment personified, and in some respects they make us feel the value of every hour that is free from trouble and annoyance, which we, with our thoughts and preoccupations, mostly disregard. But man, that selfish and heartless creature, misuses this quality of the brute to be more content than we are with mere existence, and often works it to such an extent that he allows the brute absolutely nothing more than mere, bare life. The bird which was made so that it might rove over half of the world, he shuts up into the space of a cubic foot, there to die a slow death in longing and crying for freedom; for in a cage it does not sing for the pleasure of it. And when I see how man misuses the dog, his best friend; how he ties up this intelligent animal with a chain, I feel the deepest sympathy with the brute and burning indignation against its master.' 'Human life must be some kind of mistake. The truth of this will be sufficiently obvious if we only remember that man is a compound of needs and necessities hard to satisfy; and that even when they are satisfied, all he obtains is a state of painlessness, where nothing remains to him but abandonment to boredom. This is direct proof that existence has no real value in itself; for what is boredom but the feeling of the emptiness of life?' 'It is by no means a bad plan to consult women in matters of difficulty, as the Germans used to do in ancient times; for their way of looking at things is quite different from ours, chiefly in the fact that they like to take the shortest way to their goal, and, in general, manage to fix their eyes upon what lies before them; while we, as a rule, see far beyond it, just because it is in front of our noses. In cases like this, we need to be brought back to the right standpoint, so as to recover the near and simple view. Then, again, women are decidedly more sober in their judgment than we are, so that they do not see more in things than is really there; whilst, if our passions are aroused, we are apt to see things in an exaggerated way, or imagine what does not exist.' 'A man reaches the maturity of his reasoning powers and mental faculties hardly before the age of twenty-eight; a woman at eighteen. And then, too, in the case of woman, it is only reason of a sort—very niggard in its dimensions. That is why women remain children their whole life long; never seeing anything but what is quite close to them, cleaving to the present moment, taking appearance for reality, and preferring trifles to matters of the first importance. For it is by virtue of his reasoning faculty that man does not live in the present only, like the brute, but looks about him and considers the past and the future; and this is the origin of prudence, as well as of that care and anxiety which so many people exhibit. Both the advantages and the disadvantages which this involves, are shared in by the woman to a smaller extent because of her weaker power of reasoning. She may, in fact, be described as intellectually short-sighted, because, while she has an intuitive understanding of what lies quite close to her, her field of vision is narrow and does not reach to what is remote; so that things which are absent, or past, or to come, have much less effect upon women than upon men. This is the reason why women are more often inclined to be extravagant, and sometimes carry their inclination to a length that borders upon madness. In their hearts, women think that it is men's business to earn money and theirs to spend it—- if possible during their husband's life, but, at any rate, after his death. The very fact that their husband hands them over his earnings for purposes of housekeeping, strengthens them in this belief.' 'For the innate rule that governs women's conduct, though it is secret and unformulated, nay, unconscious in its working, is this: We are justified in deceiving those who think they have acquired rights over the species by paying little attention to the individual, that is, to us. The constitution and, therefore, the welfare of the species have been placed in our hands and committed to our care, through the control we obtain over the next generation, which proceeds from us; let us discharge our duties conscientiously. But women have no abstract knowledge of this leading principle; they are conscious of it only as a concrete fact; and they have no other method of giving expression to it than the way in which they act when the opportunity arrives. And then their conscience does not trouble them so much as we fancy; for in the darkest recesses of their heart, they are aware that in committing a breach of their duty towards the individual, they have all the better fulfilled their duty towards the species, which is infinitely greater. And since women exist in the main solely for the propagation of the species, and are not destined for anything else, they live, as a rule, more for the species than for the individual, and in their hearts take the affairs of the species more seriously than those of the individual. This gives their whole life and being a certain levity; the general bent of their character is in a direction fundamentally different from that of man; and it is this to which produces that discord in married life which is so frequent, and almost the normal state.' 'It is only the man whose intellect is clouded by his sexual impulses that could give the name of the fair sex to that under-sized, narrow-shouldered, broad-hipped, and short-legged race; for the whole beauty of the sex is bound up with this impulse. Instead of calling them beautiful, there would be more warrant for describing women as the un-aesthetic sex. Neither for music, nor for poetry, nor for fine art, have they really and truly any sense or susceptibility; it is a mere mockery if they make a pretence of it in order to assist their endeavor to please. Hence, as a result of this, they are incapable of taking a purely objective interest in anything; and the reason of it seems to me to be as follows. A man tries to acquire direct mastery over things, either by understanding them, or by forcing them to do his will. But a woman is always and everywhere reduced to obtaining this mastery indirectly, namely, through a man; and whatever direct mastery she may have is entirely confined to him. And so it lies in woman's nature to look upon everything only as a means for conquering man; and if she takes an interest in anything else it is simulated—a mere roundabout way of gaining her ends by coquetry, and feigning what she does not feel. Hence, even Rousseau declared: Women have, in general, no love for any art; they have no proper knowledge of any; and they have no genius.' ---------- Link to the audiobook: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xPqP... Parallels: The Trouble with Being Born Journey to the End of the Night The Clown Gore Vidal vs Norman Mailer | The Dick Cavett Show Soundtrack: Pale Yellow - Woodkid

  4. 5 out of 5

    Steven Walle

    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! Diamond 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! Diamond

  5. 5 out of 5

    Belhor Crowley

    I didn't like "On noise", "On education" and "On women". I didn't like "On noise", "On education" and "On women".

  6. 5 out of 5

    Marcus Lira

    As long as you ignore Schopenhauer's chauvinism in his essay "On Women", this is a really good book. As long as you ignore Schopenhauer's chauvinism in his essay "On Women", this is a really good book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ragavendra Natarajan

    Ah Schopenhauer! The grand old grumpy man of Philosophy - equal parts hilarious, soothing, and endearing! This book is a series of essays by Schopenhauer on various topics ranging from his central philosophical thesis on how the “will to live” dictates every aspect of human existence, to his views on the effect that the noise of carriage whips in the streets have on thinking minds (an essay hilarious in its grumpiness). The most interesting essays (“On the sufferings of the world”, “The vanity of Ah Schopenhauer! The grand old grumpy man of Philosophy - equal parts hilarious, soothing, and endearing! This book is a series of essays by Schopenhauer on various topics ranging from his central philosophical thesis on how the “will to live” dictates every aspect of human existence, to his views on the effect that the noise of carriage whips in the streets have on thinking minds (an essay hilarious in its grumpiness). The most interesting essays (“On the sufferings of the world”, “The vanity of existence”, & “On suicide”) talk about Schopenhauer’s idea of how a “will to live” dictates existence and the suffering it thereby entails. He argues that suffering is the “positive” ever present, with pleasure being the mere absence of suffering; and that if reason alone would dictate human behavior there would be no cause for the continued existence of the human race - an existence which is an endless cycle of seeking pleasures which once attained only begin the next cycle. The influence of similar eastern philosophies is apparent. Philosophical pessimism, which on the surface can appear a bleak and depressing way of looking at the world, can be particularly kind and liberating. It liberates one from the enormous burden of assigning a meaning to existence. It inculcates kindness by making one realize that every person is fighting a battle by merely existing. These two quotes sum it up well. “In the first place, a man is never happy, but spends his whole life striving after something which he thinks will make him so; he seldom attains his goal, and when he does, it is only to be disappointed; he is mostly shipwrecked in the end, and comes into harbour with masts and rigging gone. And then, it is all one whether he has been happy or miserable; for his life was never anything more than a present moment always vanishing; and now it is over” “In fact, the conviction that the world and man is something that had better not have been, is of a kind to fill us with indulgence towards one another. Nay, from this point of view, we might as well consider the proper form of address to be not, Monsieur, Sir, mein Herr, but my fellow-sufferer! This may perhaps sound strange, but it is in keeping with the facts; it puts others in the right light; and it reminds us of that which is after all the most necessary thing in life - the tolerance, patience, regard, and love of neighbour, of which everyone stands in need, and which, therefore, every man owes to his fellow”

  8. 4 out of 5

    Luke

    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 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 began to prick one another with their quills, they were obliged to disperse. However the cold drove them together again, when just the same thing happened. At last, after many turns of huddling and dispersing, they discovered that they would be best off by remaining at a little distance from one another. In the same way the need of society drives the human porcupines together, only to be mutually repelled by the many prickly and disagreeable qualities of their nature. The moderate distance which they at last discover to be the only tolerable condition of intercourse, is the code of politeness and fine manners; and those who transgress it are roughly told -- in this English phrase -- to keep their distance. By this arrangement the mutual need of warmth is only very moderately satisfied; but then people do not get pricked. A man who has some heat in himself prefers to remain outside, where he will neither prick other people nor get pricked himself (Schopenhauer 142).

  9. 4 out of 5

    Neil Jenkins

    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.

  10. 5 out of 5

    ميرا.

    Skip the nonsense of " On Women " Chapter, and the book will be interesting. Skip the nonsense of " On Women " Chapter, and the book will be interesting.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Caleb

    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. 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.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    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 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 Schopenhauer is that he manages to take surliness and form it into a legitimate, compelling philosophical system. His ideas touch on metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, and nearly every aspect of life. In fact, Schopenhauer proposes an entirely new meaning to life, and a way to achieve it. That’s more than any broom-wielding old men I know can say.

  13. 4 out of 5

    hp

    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 re 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 reading experience, I would like to use his own parable-"No rose without a thorn. Yes, but many a thorn without a rose." He is unsentimental at his best, and at his worst too. * - I have been able to forgive him on counts of misogyny after reading about the following incident from his later years : After the elderly Schopenhauer sat for a sculpture portrait by Elisabet Ney, he told Richard Wagner's friend Malwida von Meysenbug, "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 above the mass, she grows ceaselessly and more than a man.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    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." 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."

  15. 5 out of 5

    Logan

    Knocked a couple stars for the offensive and immensely wrong "Of Women" section, which can't help but shed doubt on the true quality of this philosopher's insights and ideas in general. Knocked a couple stars for the offensive and immensely wrong "Of Women" section, which can't help but shed doubt on the true quality of this philosopher's insights and ideas in general.

  16. 5 out of 5

    A Young Philosopher

    9/10. Schopenhauer is the penultimate philosopher for thinking about Life qua Life: what is the human relation to the big questions of life? He writes extremely well, showing a classical mastery of language which seems very prevalent in top-class 19th century writers. The primary investigation of Schopenhauer is of the nature and value of the Will (lust, food, sleep, desire, etc.) as opposed to the Intellect (which is focused on objects in and of themselves — not for use). One comes out of Schopen 9/10. Schopenhauer is the penultimate philosopher for thinking about Life qua Life: what is the human relation to the big questions of life? He writes extremely well, showing a classical mastery of language which seems very prevalent in top-class 19th century writers. The primary investigation of Schopenhauer is of the nature and value of the Will (lust, food, sleep, desire, etc.) as opposed to the Intellect (which is focused on objects in and of themselves — not for use). One comes out of Schopenhauer with an interesting question: to become non-common, noble, above in the matters of the intellect; or to do what is truly "good" for one's genes: to socialize, propagate, display, attract, will for status. Of course, this relation is not direct in the modern world, but there is still a distinction between the true lover of wisdom in his massive library, as opposed to the man who grabs life by the balls — becoming buff, rising in his career, socializing, making connections. Is there a better route? Does a matter of thought trump your genetic interests, or is the distinction an illusion? Schopenhauer is of course a life pessimist, a philosophy that only arises in the upper class and/or people with very high intellect, especially in high civilizations (see how geniuses do not reproduce?). It is an odd place to be in. I say: rejoice in the learning, rejoice in the thinking about grand schemes of political philosophy, of massive historical frames of reference, of putting one's self in a universal frame of reference; but understand that living life is important too — it is not to be disdained and thrown into the garbage, but instead a challenge for mastery. There is both a game (of life!) to play and a universe which high intellects thirst to understand. I say satisfy both drives — do not become the intellectual hermit, nor become the uncultured power-grabber. A golden, Aristotelian mean will be better and thrust one towards the telos of Man. -3 stars for the anti-natalism, which is compensated for by his essay on women (+2 stars) — see https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Souhail

    "I shall be told, I suppose, that my philosophy is comfortless — because I speak the truth; and people prefer to be assured that everything the Lord has made is good. Go to the priests, then, and leave philosophers in peace!" "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 "I shall be told, I suppose, that my philosophy is comfortless — because I speak the truth; and people prefer to be assured that everything the Lord has made is good. Go to the priests, then, and leave philosophers in peace!" "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." "For the more we look forward to anything, the less satisfaction we find in it when it comes." "That a god like Jehovah should have created this world of misery and woe, out of pure caprice, and because he enjoyed doing it, and should then have clapped his hands in praise of his own work, and declared everything to be very good-that will not do at all!" "Suicide may also be regarded as an experiment — a question which man puts to Nature, trying to force her to an 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." "Every form of emotion; in other words, every movement of the will, if it’s so strong as decidedly to outweigh the intellectual element in consciousness, and to make the man appear as a being that wills rather than knows." "Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world. This is an error of the intellect as inevitable as that error of the eye which lets you fancy that on the horizon heaven and earth meet." "Men of very great capacity, will as a rule, find the company of very stupid people preferable to that of the common run; for the same reason that the tyrant and the mob, the grandfather and the grandchildren, are natural allies." "For a man may have the most excellent judgment in all other matters, and yet go wrong in those which concern himself; because here the will comes in and deranges the intellect at once. Therefore let a man take counsel of a friend." "No child under the age of fifteen should receive instruction in subjects which may possibly be the vehicle of serious error, such as philosophy, religion, or any other branch of knowledge where it is necessary to take large views; because wrong notions imbibed early can seldom be rooted out, and of all the intellectual faculties, judgment is the last to arrive at maturity. The child should give its attention either to subjects where no error is possible at all, such as mathematics, or to those in which there is no particular danger in making a mistake, such as languages, natural science, history and so on." "Wisdom which is only theoretical and never put into practice, is like a double rose; its color and perfume are delightful, but it withers away and leaves no seed."

  18. 4 out of 5

    Steven Godin

    "We are like lambs in a field, disporting themselves under the eye of the butcher, who chooses out first one and then another for his prey. So it is that in our good days we are all unconscious of the evil Fate may have presently in store for us--sickness, poverty, mutilation, loss of sight or reason. No little part of the torment of existence lies in this, that Time is continually pressing upon us, never letting us take breath, but always coming after us, like a taskmaster with a whip. If at an "We are like lambs in a field, disporting themselves under the eye of the butcher, who chooses out first one and then another for his prey. So it is that in our good days we are all unconscious of the evil Fate may have presently in store for us--sickness, poverty, mutilation, loss of sight or reason. No little part of the torment of existence lies in this, that Time is continually pressing upon us, never letting us take breath, but always coming after us, like a taskmaster with a whip. If at any moment Time stays his hand, it is only when we are delivered over to the misery of boredom."

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Woodward

    The interesting essays in this book range from thought provoking to deeply hateful. I love how the essay on women was included, which showcased Schopenhauer’s unapologetic misogyny. It’s nice to have a reminder that philosophers are often very arrogant and wrong :)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Schopenhauer is the patron saint--the sun & moon--of incels Relentlessly contrarian and doer, but also occasionally hilarious. The hilarity is, I assume, generally unintentional, but perhaps Artie was just having a laugh. At the same time, he makes several good points: life kinda sucks sometimes and may indeed be, for many of us, a pendulum between misery and boredom. Or perhaps between misery and "not misery". Perhaps even a modicum of peace and joy and love, with bits of pure enjoyment in there Schopenhauer is the patron saint--the sun & moon--of incels Relentlessly contrarian and doer, but also occasionally hilarious. The hilarity is, I assume, generally unintentional, but perhaps Artie was just having a laugh. At the same time, he makes several good points: life kinda sucks sometimes and may indeed be, for many of us, a pendulum between misery and boredom. Or perhaps between misery and "not misery". Perhaps even a modicum of peace and joy and love, with bits of pure enjoyment in there, I hope, for everyone. Less than coherent, logically structured essays with theses, arguments, conclusions or therefores, each “piece” in this collection is best described as itself a rather loose collection of non-sequiturs and trenchant (witty?) brief observations along a theme. Some of these are absurdly over the top—to the extent that I’m sure a smarter person than me could turn the whole thing into a brilliant stand-up routine.

  21. 4 out of 5

    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, 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, the first few chapters were quite a pleasure. It is kind of fun to hear someone voice the pessimistic side of me. But yeah, Schopenhauer i think is a bit far on one side of the canoe. Our world is quite the mix of the beautiful and ugly, pleasure and pain, good and evil and I think it is silly to move to one extreme. But Oh man, his chapter On Woman, wow, oh wow. What a joke, he literally thinks woman don't have any reasoning faculties, are unable to do art or poetry or appreciate it and that they remain like small stupid children their whole life and gee... compared to man, they have about as much value as a flee. If I remember right, he died a bachelor...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andrew “The Weirdling” Glos

    A collection of essays with Schopenhauer at his misanthropic best. Always insightful, even if you don’t always agree with him. Every essay is worth reading over and over, with the possible exception of “On Women”. Smart fellow though he was, Schopenhauer missed that every thing he described as negative attributes of women is just as likely because they were oppressed by a patriarchal system leaving women no other avenues of being and existence. And not because that’s “just the way women are”. Yo A collection of essays with Schopenhauer at his misanthropic best. Always insightful, even if you don’t always agree with him. Every essay is worth reading over and over, with the possible exception of “On Women”. Smart fellow though he was, Schopenhauer missed that every thing he described as negative attributes of women is just as likely because they were oppressed by a patriarchal system leaving women no other avenues of being and existence. And not because that’s “just the way women are”. You can tell he’s never been married or had daughters, and that his mother was a constant source of strife in his life.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bro_Pair أعرف

    That was pretty fun. There's no sort of rigor or design to the essays; I could picture Artie just ranting in his attic and writing the best stuff down. At its best, like the first three essays, it's phenomenal, vicious and unsentimental, and funny, too. Middling, it's still pretty funny, as with his rant about the sound of whip cracks. At its worst, it's laughably unmoored; the chapter on women reads like DemoniusX with a year of college behind him. But ultimately Schopenhauer is clear, ruthless That was pretty fun. There's no sort of rigor or design to the essays; I could picture Artie just ranting in his attic and writing the best stuff down. At its best, like the first three essays, it's phenomenal, vicious and unsentimental, and funny, too. Middling, it's still pretty funny, as with his rant about the sound of whip cracks. At its worst, it's laughably unmoored; the chapter on women reads like DemoniusX with a year of college behind him. But ultimately Schopenhauer is clear, ruthless, and funny, and that is a rare, invaluable combination for any writer.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Terry Grigg

    I've been meaning to read this for ages, though have already seen plenty of quotes from it. Schopenhauer is one of the best pessimistic and anti-natalist writers and although his style can be a little turgid for the modern reader, he gets straight to the heart of the matter. He was definitely misogynistic, which is quite repellant, but probably no worse than many others at that time. Comparable to Wagner in that his art far surpasses his personality. Anyway, well worth the read and some interest I've been meaning to read this for ages, though have already seen plenty of quotes from it. Schopenhauer is one of the best pessimistic and anti-natalist writers and although his style can be a little turgid for the modern reader, he gets straight to the heart of the matter. He was definitely misogynistic, which is quite repellant, but probably no worse than many others at that time. Comparable to Wagner in that his art far surpasses his personality. Anyway, well worth the read and some interesting parables at the end. Five stars for the philosophy, not so much for the man.

  25. 4 out of 5

    berthamason

    This book in a nutshell: suicide is great, women are awful.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Noah Goats

    If the title of this collection doesn't let you know what you're in for, then the first line of the first essay will: "Unless suffering is the direct and immediate object of life, our existence must entirely fail of its aim." And then it goes downhill from there. I enjoyed reading these essays for two reasons 1) they contain flashes of genuine wisdom, and 2) they contain a lot of hilariously over-the-top pieces of ridiculous pessimism. Schopenhauer's aim is to show us the unvarnished truth, but s If the title of this collection doesn't let you know what you're in for, then the first line of the first essay will: "Unless suffering is the direct and immediate object of life, our existence must entirely fail of its aim." And then it goes downhill from there. I enjoyed reading these essays for two reasons 1) they contain flashes of genuine wisdom, and 2) they contain a lot of hilariously over-the-top pieces of ridiculous pessimism. Schopenhauer's aim is to show us the unvarnished truth, but sometimes he goes so far with his relentless negativity that he overshoots his mark and becomes unintentionally comic. Ultimately, it's hard to take his philosophy seriously when he is clearly wrong about so many things that are key to his ideas. His statement that all happiness is negative in it's character, that it is just "freedom from pain," is palpably incorrect. And his misogyny, which was virulent even by the standards of its day, also makes him look like a bitter old idiot who has never known a woman in his entire miserable existence. His philosophy tells us more about Schopenhauer than it does about life in general.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dominik Dabrowski

    Some interesting ideas, some delightfully fucked up. Definitely not a feminist. I feel like this dude's worldview could have been substantially upgraded had he taken psilocybin mushrooms. He might have realized that all that gloomy shit he keeps digging into also has a positive flipside and it's truly positive, not just "An absence of suffering" as he repeats all the time. It's a shame Joe Rogan wasn't active in the first half of the 19th century. Some interesting ideas, some delightfully fucked up. Definitely not a feminist. I feel like this dude's worldview could have been substantially upgraded had he taken psilocybin mushrooms. He might have realized that all that gloomy shit he keeps digging into also has a positive flipside and it's truly positive, not just "An absence of suffering" as he repeats all the time. It's a shame Joe Rogan wasn't active in the first half of the 19th century.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael’

    I do not agree with all of Schopenhauer’s claims but he always allows me to develop my own thinking in relation to him. He raises questions others (in the west) overlook and answers them in ways others couldn’t. Lenin, Stirner & Schopenhauer used to be the 3 big influences on my thinking which may be described a radical pessimist, egoist socialism, when I was not converting to some form of Christianity or Judaism at least. His simple but deep writing style, his flowing prose, the intuitiveness a I do not agree with all of Schopenhauer’s claims but he always allows me to develop my own thinking in relation to him. He raises questions others (in the west) overlook and answers them in ways others couldn’t. Lenin, Stirner & Schopenhauer used to be the 3 big influences on my thinking which may be described a radical pessimist, egoist socialism, when I was not converting to some form of Christianity or Judaism at least. His simple but deep writing style, his flowing prose, the intuitiveness and originality of his arguments all contribute to a work of philosophy that is worth reading and rereading. The first two “essays”, they aren’t really essays, are called ‘ON THE SUFFERINGS OF THE WORLD’ and ‘THE VANITY OF EXISTENCE’, these are two short, easy introductions to Schopenhauer’s philosophy. However, he doesn’t explain many of the central concepts so I would recommend watching one of the introductions to Schopenhauer available on YouTube. Weltgeist’s series on ‘The World as Will and Represention’ and Jonas Čeika’s video on Philip Mainländer are both very good. Schopenhauer follows up with a good case for decriminalising suicide including some interesting material on the philosophy and history of that topic. Then follows a dialogue on immortality which is quite good for convincing someone there is some sense in Schopenhauer’s philosophy. After this the book becomes somewhat less interesting. Chapter 5 is ‘FURTHER PSYCHOLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS’ which is a series of sometimes very interesting and sometimes rather unenlightened observations on human thought and behaviour. This part is rather long and somewhat of a slog compared to other parts of the book but would stand out most other philosophy books. Then ‘ON EDUCATION’ which is interesting but inferior in content to Rousseau’s ‘On Education’ and modern theoretical pedagogy. The last three chapters are mostly Schopenhauer’s opinions on noise, women and various other topics and is the weakest part of the book. It has very little to do with his actually innovative work but there are a few gems and it is certainly very well written and unintentionally comical at times. One of the best philosophy books I’ve read in a while. It left me full of enthusiasm and even a little pessimism. Better start reading The World as Will and Representation again because I didn’t finish the first time and it is well worth reading.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Levi Czentye

    Chapter "On Suicide" - 5 stars Chapter "Of Women" - 0 stars Chapter "On Suicide" - 5 stars Chapter "Of Women" - 0 stars

  30. 4 out of 5

    T.J.

    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 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 turned off by his vision. Knowing that our lives are filled with work and worry and bad luck and unhappiness leads us to live better, with "tolerance, patience, regard, and love of neighbor." Compassion is key. John Lennon famously said that life is what happens while you're busy making other plans. Well, Schopenhauer got there first: "We look upon the present as something to be put up with while it lasts, and serving only as the way towards our goal. Hence most people, if they glance back when they come to the end of life, will find that all along they have been living ad interim: they will be surprised to find that the very thing they disregarded and let slip by unenjoyed, was just the life in the expectation of which they passed all their time." As for the rest of the collection, well, it gets a little spotty after his brief defense of suicide. His execrable "On Women" is not just dated but downright misogynistic: "in a word, they are big children all their life." The short piece "On Noise" is just a curmudgeonly rant on the annoying sound of whipcracks.

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