Arthur Schopenhauer ( SHOH-pən-how-ər; German: [ˈaɐ̯tʊɐ̯ ˈʃoːpn̩haʊ̯ɐ]; 22 February 1788 – 21 September 1860) was a German philosopher. He is best known for his 1818 work The World as Will and Representation (expanded in 1844), wherein he characterizes the phenomenal world as the product of a blind and insatiable metaphysical will. Proceeding from the transcendental idealism of Immanuel Kant, Schopenhauer developed an atheistic metaphysical and ethical system that has been described as an exemplary manifestation of philosophical pessimism, rejecting the contemporaneous post-Kantian philosophies of German idealism. Schopenhauer was among the first thinkers in Western philosophy to share and affirm significant tenets of Eastern philosophy (e.g., asceticism, the world-as-appearance), having initially arrived at similar conclusions as the result of his own philosophical work.Though his work failed to garner substantial attention during his life, Schopenhauer has had a posthumous impact across various disciplines, including philosophy, literature, and science. His writing on aesthetics, morality, and psychology influenced thinkers and artists throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Those who cited his influence include Friedrich Nietzsche, Richard Wagner, Leo Tolstoy, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Erwin Schrödinger, Otto Rank, Gustav Mahler, Joseph Campbell, Albert Einstein, Anthony Ludovici, Carl Jung, Thomas Mann, Émile Zola, George Bernard Shaw, Jorge Luis Borges and Samuel Beckett.
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As an individual, with your death there will be an end of you. But your individuality is not your true and final being, indeed it is rather the mere expression of it, . . . only the phenomenon presented in the form of time, and accordingly has both a beginning and an end. Your being in itself, on the contrary, knows neither time, nor beginning, nor end, nor the limits of a given individuality. . . . So that, in the first sense, after death you become nothing; in the second, you are and remain everything.
The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence and back into bondage.