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Arnold Schopenhauer - Philosophy and HappinessArnold Schopenhauer - Philosophy and Happiness


Arnold Schopenhauer (1788-1860)


German philosopher (pictured right)

The only great Western philosopher to understand Eastern philosophy.


Arnold Schopenhauer - Philosophy and Happiness

Who did he influence?

Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher (pictured right)

Albert Einstein, German-born American scientist.(pictured right below)

Sigmund Freud, Austrian psychiatrist Arnold Schopenhauer - Philosophy and Happiness


His most famous book is...

The World as Will and Idea (1819).

It is also referred to as the World as Will and Representation.


What did he say about philosophy and happiness?

Arnold Schopenhauer - Philosophy and Happiness 

1. Life is difficult

Schopenhauer believed that life is horrible, which is why he is sometimes called the “philosopher of pessimism”.

We suffer from the:

  • problems of the present.
  • guilt and anxiety from the past.

 Arnold Schopenhauer - Philosophy and Happiness

2. Give up your desires

Schopenhauer took this idea from Gautama Buddha (pictured right), believing that to be happy you must stop desiring things like sex and material possessions.

Unfulfilled desires make you unhappy.

Self-denial is the only way to avoid suffering.

 Arnold Schopenhauer - Philosophy and Happiness

3. Enjoy nature and the arts

Happiness is found in peacefully contemplating the beauty and wisdom of nature and the arts (like music)


4. Will

Will is a striving to do something that affects our actions.Arnold Schopenhauer - Philosophy and Happiness

This can be conscious and unconsciouus

“Motives are causes experienced from within”, he said.

Schopenhauer's emphasis on the unconscious had a big influence on Sigmund Freud (pictured right) 

 Arnold Schopenhauer - Philosophy and Happiness

5. Compassion

To be good and happy, you should be kind to:

  • people (being sensitive to their feelings and sharing yours)
  • other living creatures (he was one of the first animal rights campaigners).

 Arnold Schopenhauer - Philosophy and Happiness

6. Know yourself

Be aware of your limitations so you can do something about them.

“For our improvement, we need a mirror”, Schopenhauer said.


Key quote on stress and pain

Life is given us, not to be enjoyed, but to be overcome.


Key quotes on ethics

Fame is something which must be won; honour is something which must not be lost.

Compassion is the basis of all morality.


Key quote on objectives and vision

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


Key quote on motivation

Motives are causes experienced from within.

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