On the Suffering of the World – Schopenhauer

The most brilliantly amusing philosophical read there is. Arthur Schopenhauer touches on everything from spirituality, religion, death, sex & boredom. Schopenhauer was a german philosopher who read a lot of Buddhism. The result is a light-hearted, un-attached view of the world that makes clear how unknowingly we create our own suffering. Each chapter is broken up into short digestible ideas that can be brooded over for days, so you end up reading this for very short periods, but over a long time.

Schopenhauer explores the boundary between suffering and boredom, arguing that “work, worry, toil and trouble are indeed the lot of most men,” but without it “how would they pass their time”. We often don’t realise but much of what we do on a daily basis, much of what causes our day-to-day suffering, is a result of preventing boredom. After fulfilling our bodily needs, everything else is an attempt to protect our minds from its own fickle and flighty nature. Ironically it is these things that we do outside of necessity that often cause us the most suffering.

[Note: You may want to skip the chapter On Women, or at least don’t hold it against him, he is after all, only a product of his time.]

Quote me on it:

The only thing worse for mankind than murder, slavery or torture, is boredom ; it is the sole reason that since liberating ourselves from nature’s deadly grasp, we continue to slaughter ourselves; both physically and mentally.”

TL;DR:

  • The most light-hearted philosophy book that exists
  • Covers a wide range of topics, from metaphysics to boredom
  • Builds upon earlier ideas from Plato and Kant

Other similar philosophy reads:

  • A Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals – Kant
  • Man Alone with Himself – Nietzsche

sebastiankade

Sebastian Kade, Founder of Sumry and Author of Living Happiness, is a software designer and full-stack engineer. He writes thought-provoking articles every now and then on sebastiankade.com

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