Schopenhauer’s wisdom of life.

The inexpressible depth of all music, by virtue of which it floats past us as a paradise quite familiar and yet eternally remote, and is so easy to understand and yet so inexplicable, is due to the fact that it reproduces all the emotions of our innermost being, but entirely without reality and remote from its pain. In the same way, the seriousness essential to it and wholly excluding the ludicrous from its direct and peculiar province is to be explained from the fact that its object is not the representation, in regard to which deception and ridiculousness alone are possible, but that this object is directly the will; and this is essentially the most serious of all things, as being that on which all depends.

The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 1

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Life is an unpleasant business, I have decided to spend it by pondering over it. It is after these words that Wieland thought the young Schopenhauer had made the right choice, and requested him to continue his philosophical endeavour. With his melancholic and resolute spirit is that we find ourselves many times, lamenting over the misery of existence and the conquering evil, omniprescent and haunting and perhaps strangely enough, soothed by his acceptance and revelation of a pessimistic, willful world.

From his mid forties until his death, Frankfurt was his home, living in several rooms. He had a particularly strict routine, avoiding breakfast, with coffee as his sole morning fuel. He then wrote till noon, practiced his flute (he was a quite skilled player it seems to be) and proceeded to go for lunch and spend the afternoon reading. He would after take an afternoon stroll with his canine companions, Atma and Butz. Preferring quietude and retreat, he even stated that the amount of noise someone can endure is inversely proportional to the person’s mental capacity (a thought that I could say I subtly agree with). Though many may accuse him of a surly, morose character, perhaps at times disagreeable to his thought, it is namely these contradictions which make up our human condition, and are sometimes the foundation and molecular clouds of great work.

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I decided to accompany my commemorative reading (on the day of his death) and coffee with a Frankfurt specialty, Bethmännchen, or marzipan cookies. A wonderfully light treat that went wonderfully well alongside the cogent, staunch and relentless character of the master’s thoughts.

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Almost all of our sorrows spring out of our relations with other people. There is no more mistaken path to happiness than worldliness.

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? If life—the craving for which is the very essence of our being—were possessed of any positive intrinsic value, there would be no such thing as boredom at all: mere existence would satisfy us in itself, and we should want for nothing.

Studies in Pessimism: The Essays

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