Talk:Arthur Schopenhauer

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10.2.05 One that's often attributed is "The closing years of life are like the end of a masquerade party, when the masks are dropped" Is this attribution correct?

7.3.2005 I've heard it as well, although I can't say where it is to be found. Perhaps, in the "Parega und Par..." thing that he wrote at end of his life?

"Gegen das Ende des Lebens nun gar geht es wie gegen das Ende eines Maskenballs, wann die Larven abgenommen werden. Man sieht jetzt, wer diejenigen, mit denen man während seines Lebenslaufes in Berührung gekommen war, eigentlich gewesen sind. Denn die Charaktere haben sich an den Tag gelegt, die Taten haben ihre Früchte getragen, die Leistungen ihre gerechte Würdigung erhalten, und alle Trugbilder sind zerfallen. Zu diesem allen nämlich war Zeit erfordert."
"Towards the end of life, much the same happens as at the end of a masked ball when the masks are removed. We now see who those really were with whom we had come in contact during the course of our life. Characters have revealed themselves, deeds have borne fruit, achievements have been justly appreciated, and all illusions have crumbled away. But for all this time was necessary." (Parerga and Paralipomena, Volume I, Chapter VI, "On the Different Periods of Life," Oxford University Press, ISBN 0 19 824508 4

Collected Works[edit]

  • With this philosopher, we could almost scan in his whole oevre as containing worthwhile quotations. 15:46, 18 December 2005 (UTC)Lestrade
  • All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.


Wikiquote no longer allows unsourced quotations, and they are in process of being removed from our pages (see Wikiquote:Limits on quotations); but if you can provide a reliable and precise source for any quote on this list please move it to Arthur Schopenhauer. --Antiquary 19:43, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

  • From every sentence deep, original and sublime thoughts arise, and the whole is pervaded by a high and holy and earnest spirit....In the whole world there is no study so beneficial and so elevating as that of the Upanishads. They are destined sooner or later to become the faith of the people.
    • Comment on the Upanishads, some of Hinduism's sacred scriptures.
  • Have these gentlemen of the scalpel and crucible no notion at all then that they are first and foremost men and chemists only secondly? How can you sleep soundly, knowing you have harmless animals under lock and key, in order to starve them slowly to death? Don't you wake up screaming, in the night?
    • Statement about the use of animals in experiments.
  • I was gripped by the misery of life as Buddha was in his youth when he saw sickness, old age, pain and death ... This world could not have been the work of an all-loving being, but that of a devil, who had brought creatures into existence in order to delight in the sight of their sufferings.
  • I was very fond of them, if only they would have had me.
    • His confession on women.
  • If we were not all so interested in ourselves, life would be so uninteresting that none of us would be able to endure it.
  • In the West, where our skin has turned White, we have ceased to recognise our kinship with animals.
  • Life is so short, questionable and evanescent that it is not worth the trouble of major effort.
  • Life nowadays goes at a gallop; and the way in which this affects literature is to make it extremely superficial and slovenly.
  • Religion is the metaphysics of the masses.
  • The less a man is forced to come into contact with others, the better off he is.
  • The life of every individual, viewed as a whole and in general and when only its most significant features are emphasised, is really a tragedy; but gone through in detail, it has the characteristics of a comedy.
  • 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.
  • Ultimately, death must triumph, for by birth it has already become our lot and it plays with its prey only for a while before swallowing it up. However, we continue our life with great interest and much solicitude as long as possible — just as we blow out a soap-bubble as long and as large as possible, although with the perfect certainty that it will burst. This is from The World as Will and Representation, translated by EFJ Payne, Vol 1, p.311. Dover Publications, 1969.
  • There is in the world only the choice between loneliness and vulgarity.
  • There is no Kantian-Fichtean philosophy: there is Kantian philosophy and there is Fichtean humbug.
  • We find ourselves like a hollow glass globe, from whose vacancy a voice speaks.
  • We have to regard art as the greater enhancement, the more perfect development of all this; for essentially it achieves just the same thing as is achieved by the visible world itself, only with greater concentration, perfection, intention and intelligence; and therefore, in the full sense of the word, it may be called the flower of life.
  • We can regard our life as a uselessly disturbing episode in the blissful repose of nothingness.
  • 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.
  • Whoever attaches a lot of value to the opinions of others pays them too much honor.
  • Should you ever intend to dull the wits of a young man and to incapacitate his brains for any kind of thought whatever, then you cannot do better than to give him Hegel to read. For these monstrous accumulations of words that annul and contradict one another drive the mind into tormenting itself with vain attempts to think anything whatever in connection with them, until finally it collapses from sheer exhaustion. Thus any ability to think is so thoroughly destroyed that the young man will ultimately mistake empty and hollow verbiage for real thought. A guardian fearing that his ward might become too intelligent for his schemes might prevent this misfortune by innocently suggesting the reading of Hegel.
  • Man has made Earth a hell for animals.
  • The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.

Quotes about Schopenhauer (unsourced)[edit]

  • ...fourmish her in Spinner's housery at the earthbest schoppinhour...

Obit anus abit onus - amplification[edit]

Two points

  1. "anus" can also mean "arsehole" (when written - "a" is long for "arsehole" and short for "old woman") - should this be mentioned? How intentional is the ambiguity?
  2. I found by googling some suggestions that he wrote this on a (copy of) her death certificate. It seems worth giving the exact circumstances, to avoid misunderstandings.

PJTraill 20:32, 10 January 2010 (UTC)


A review of the controversy may be found at where Jeffrey Shallit discusses the confusion.

source for man/earth/hell/animals[edit]

I don't understand the organization of the main page so am not sure where to put this and would appreciate help. Here is a source for the quote glossed "man has made earth a hell for animals" in the unsourced section above, with an actual translation.

"Die Menschen sind die Teufel der Erde und die Tiere die geplagten Seelen"

Parerga and Paralipomena

English version here

"One might say with truth, Mankind are the devils of the earth, and the animals the souls they torment." 17:37, 7 April 2015 (UTC)

on Politeness[edit]

I came across the following quotation and verified it from and However the indexing systems, used in both these, do not seem to accord with that used in this article and so I will leave it to someone with more expertise than I to add rather than risk messing things up.

"Politeness is to human nature what warmth is to wax." 

from Counsels and Maxims, Chapter 3, SECTION 36 - Politeness.

Paraphrase of Einstein[edit]

I removed an alleged quote which is a paraphrase of Einstein in his Glaubensbekenntnis. It cannot be found in any of his works in this form. If someone insists on this quote she or he can easily prove that it is an original quote of Schopenhauer by saying where in his works it can be found.

The quote can still be found on this page, not as original quote, but two instances where Einstein used this paraphrase.

I think it's not good that it's the quote under the top photo in the Quotes section.

I've replaced it with a quote about compassion. (I used the original form, though it's better known in a simplified version.)

The Einstein paraphrase is still shown under "attributed", and I think that's enough. Chriswaterguy (talk) 00:56, 18 April 2021 (UTC)