Schopenhauer believed that the primary characteristic, or essence of all things - including human beings - is not intelligence, rationality or spirit, but will. By "will" he means a wanting and craving like that which we know in ourselves as our "will." It is the source of immense amounts of suffering in the world. He also believed that a "better consciousness" could be attained by denying the fulfilment of our desires, taking time to think about who we really are and what we should do to avoid suffering - but also, in doing something few philosophers of his day spoke of: in making and looking at works of art, especially music, which he considered a way to escape from the world's pain and suffering.
Schopenhauer was a huge influence on Richard Wagner, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Thomas Mann, Sigmund Freud, Leo Tolstoy, Carl Jung, Emil Cioran and many other important artists and thinkers of the 20th century.
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- "Every man takes the limits of his vision for the limits of the world."
- "In general admittedly the Wise of all times have always said the same thing, and the fools, that is to say the vast majority of all times, have always done the opposite; and so it will remain in the future."
- "To marry is to halve your rights and double your duties."
- "The two foes of human happiness are pain and boredom."
- "Talent hits a target no-one else can hit; genius hits targets no-one else can see."