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Arthur Schopenhauer


In general, nine—tenths of our happiness depends upon health alone. With health, everything is a source of pleasure; without it, nothing else, whatever it may be, is enjoyable; even the other personal blessings, – a great mind, a happy temperament – are degraded and dwarfed for want of it. […] It follows from all this that the greatest of follies is to sacrifice health for any other kind of happiness, whatever it may be, for gain, advancement, learning or fame, let alone, then, for fleeting sensual pleasures. Everything else should rather be postponed to it.


The safest way of not being very miserable is not to expect to be very happy.

The “Intellectual Man”

A man who is privileged in this respect leads two lives, a personal and an intellectual life; and the latter gradually comes to be looked upon as the true one, and the former merely a means to it. […] To the life of the intellect such a man will give the preference over all his other occupations: by the constant growth of insight and knowledge, this intellectual life, like a slowly-forming work of art, will acquire a consistency, a permanent intensity, a unity which becomes ever more complete.

(Of intellectually shallow wealthy men:)

He is a mere idler and thief of time, a contemptible fellow. He will not even be happy, because, in his case, exemption from need delivers him up to the other extreme of human suffering: boredom. […] He would have been better off if poverty had given him something to do.


An intellectual man in complete solitude has excellent entertainment in his own thoughts and fancies, while no amount of diversity or social pleasure, theatres, excursions and amusements, can ward off boredom from a dullard.

The more a man has in himself, the less he will want from other people, – the less, indeed, other people can be to him.

Tags: schopenhauer , social , stoicism , cognitive