Arthur Schopenhauer (; German: [ˈaʁtʊʁ 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. Building on the transcendental idealism of Immanuel Kant, Schopenhauer developed an atheistic metaphysical and ethical system that rejected the contemporaneous ideas of German idealism. He was among the first thinkers in Western philosophy to share and affirm significant tenets of Eastern philosophy, such as asceticism and the notion of the world-as-appearance. His work has been described as an exemplary manifestation of philosophical pessimism.Though his work failed to garner substantial attention during his lifetime, 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 included philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Anthony Ludovici, scientists Erwin Schrödinger and Albert Einstein, psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, and writers such as Leo Tolstoy, Thomas Mann, George Bernard Shaw, Machado de Assis, 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.
Such is the common process of marriage. A youth and maiden meeting by chance, or brought together by artifice, exchange glances, reciprocate civilities, go home, and dream of one another. Having little to divert attention, or diversify thought, they find themselves uneasy when they are apart, and therefore conclude that they shall be happy together. They marry, and discover what nothing but voluntary blindness had before concealed; they wear out life in altercations, and charge nature with cruelty.
As one reads history . . . one is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted; and a community is infinitely more brutalized by the habitual employment of punishment than it is by the occasional occurrence of crime.
If one person is unkind to an animal, it is considered to be cruelty, but where a lot of people are unkind to animals, especially in the name of commerce, the cruelty is condoned and, once sums of money are at stake, will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people.
Cruelty is easy, and it breeds only misery. Kindness is harder, and you have to be brave to give it. To be cruel, you can stay closed off from everyone, wear a mask, but to be kind, in essence, to show love, you have to make yourself vulnerable, show your true self to someone and open yourself up to rejection.