The absolute brilliant philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer was a cranky loner whose ingenious acumen have had a profound effect on modern man’s dignity. He argued that severe pessimism is the only perspective from which the world can be viewed soberly.
Schopenhauer wrote that optimism is not merely stupidly childlike, but a “really wicked way of thinking, a bitter mockery of the unspeakable sufferings of mankind.”
His desolate conception of the world, deprived of sentimental and idealistic veneer, is at once horrible and captivating. Believing himself the heir of Kant, Schopenhauer was convinced that he had determined the thing-in-itself, the metaphysical foundation which underlies all reality – and it was totally evil, reducing human existence to a futile, self-sabotaging struggle.
The principle from which the world is formed is the Will, an irrational, voracious energy with no ultimate purpose of intention other than satisfaction. All the appetites and impulses of mankind, all nature, in fact, are expressions of Will. The physical body itself is Will embodied, an instrument by which the Will manipulates and consumes to satisfy its crude yearnings.
Therefore, each individual is locked in fatal conflict with all other particular wills, contending for the resources that allow cursory moments of satisfaction that must end in discontent and boredom. While the Will invariably strives for satisfaction, it can never satisfy its desires; it is endless toil and energy expended without purpose. Thus, “all life is suffering.” Even if all countless evils of the world were eradicated, boredom would immediately take over.
Progress is an illusion; human existence is an utterly absurd project and man is doomed to an eternal cycle of failure, strife, and agony. Suicide, perhaps? Not in the least, for suicide is a futile and foolish act because it only eliminates the individual, not the entire pathetic species.