Arthur Schopenhauer was the most articulate and influential pessimist in the history of human thought.
He was convinced that the space and time of ordinary life is an illusion, that the world consists of two aspects:
representation (visible appearances) and will (hidden reality). Will is a unitary, blind, irrational force underlying all
nature and expressing itself throughout it. Since human actions are blindly propelled by this will, not reason,
prescriptive ethical rules have little force. We flourish only at each other's expense; evil, pain, and suffering are
not aberrations, but express the inner nature of the world. Our will to live is a continuing cycle of want, temporary
fulfillment, and more want. New desires replace any satisfied ones, so no lasting happiness is possible. There is
no overall end or purpose of life; our will to live is doomed ultimately to fail, and we die.
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