Hidden Base

Hidden Base

Enlightened
Apr 5, 2020
1,103
I recently stumbled upon the Youtube Channel Pessimism Daily which regularly posts pessimistic quotes. It's really a catalogue of excerpts from the writings and sayings of various authors, thinkers, and philosophers of the past as well as present, speaking to the abundance of suffering in our world, the profound asymmetry of pain and pleasure, and questioning the 'goodness' which many allege life to possess. Many if not all of the individuals featured were or would have probably been sympathetic to suicide as an act. I think that many or most of you will find so much resonance with these quotes, as I have. I take heart in them because they're a reminder that I'm not alone in suspecting that perhaps life when viewed in the aggregate, isn't so beautiful after all.

Here's one of my favourites taken from the channel - an excerpt from the essay The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life, by American philosopher William James (1842 - 1910):

"If the hypothesis were offered us of a world in which [...] millions [were] kept permanently happy on the one simple condition that a certain lost soul on the far-off edge of things should lead a life of lonely torture, [...] even though an impulse arose within us to clutch at the happiness so offered, how hideous a thing would be its enjoyment when deliberately accepted as the fruit of such a bargain?"

William_James_b1842c.jpg


I would love to hear your favourite pessimistic sayings as well.
 
Last edited:
Callie Arcale

Callie Arcale

Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun
Feb 10, 2021
461
A pessimist is an optimist with life experience. I used to be quite optimistic and happy-go-lucky. Then life happened and now I am a staunch pessimist.

On a different note:
The look in William James’ eyes is so stern and piercing, it seems to be cutting through all the layers of my self, all the way through to my soul, scolding me for my imbecility.

To that I say: ”I bet you have some leftover crumbs from dinner, in that imposing beard of yours, sir James.”
 
Last edited:
foxdieΩ

foxdieΩ

Experienced
Sep 16, 2021
216
This quote has always stuck with me:

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."

J. Krishnamurti

I've always been pessimistic to a degree in my life. This has not won me many friends or fortune but at least I'm not lying to myself.

A couple more:

"The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable."

James A. Garfield

"Life is the enjoyment of delusion. Death is the zenith of disillusion."

Anoir Ou-Chad
 
Last edited:
Amumu

Amumu

Visionary
Aug 29, 2020
2,458
"The tragedy of a species becoming unfit for life by over-evolving one ability is not confined to humankind. Thus it is thought, for instance, that certain deer in paleontological times succumbed as they acquired overly-heavy horns. The mutations must be considered blind, they work, are thrown forth, without any contact of interest with their environment. In depressive states, the mind may be seen in the image of such an antler, in all its fantastic splendour pinning its bearer to the ground." - Peter Wessel Zapffe

The original quote from Einstein contains "Dummheit" which could also be translated into "silliness" in English. This would be more coherent with the aforementioned quote.
 
Last edited:
stygal

stygal

.
Oct 29, 2020
1,682
also like this einstein quote:

"The horizon of many people is a circle with a radius of zero. They call this their point of view."
Albert Einstein
Einstein throwing shade at normies -
I really admire him.


Arthur Schopenhauer - "Genuine, lasting happiness cannot be a subject of art"

"In art, especially in poetry, that true mirror of the real nature of the world and of life, we also find evidence of the fact that all happiness is only of a negative, not a positive nature, and that for this reason it cannot be lasting satisfaction and gratification, but always delivers us only from a pain or want that must be followed either by a new pain or by languor, empty longing and boredom.
Every epic or dramatic poem can always present to us only a strife, an effort, and a struggle for happiness, never enduring and complete happiness itself. It conducts its heroes to their goal through a thousand difficulties and dangers; as soon as the goal is reached, it quickly lets the curtain fall.
For there would be nothing left for it but to show that the glittering goal, in which the hero imagined he could find happiness, had merely mocked him, and that he was no better after its attainment than before. Since a genuine, lasting happiness is not possible, it cannot be a subject of art".

The World as Will and Representation (1859)
 
foxdieΩ

foxdieΩ

Experienced
Sep 16, 2021
216
"The greatest mystery is not that we have been flung at random between the profusion of matter and of the stars, but that within this prison we can draw from ourselves images powerful enough to deny our nothingness."

Andre Malraux
 
Voûte_Étoilée

Voûte_Étoilée

Suicide is just for overachievers
Apr 28, 2021
1,208
"The greatest mystery is not that we have been flung at random between the profusion of matter and of the stars, but that within this prison we can draw from ourselves images powerful enough to deny our nothingness."

Andre Malraux
Here's the original:

Le plus grand mystère n'est pas que nous soyons jetés au hasard entre la profusion de la matière et celle des astres; c'est que, dans cette prison, nous tirions de nous-mêmes des images assez puissantes pour nier notre néant.

André Malraux, La Condition humaine (1933)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ashu and foxdieΩ
lostundead

lostundead

Member
Mar 18, 2021
68
Einstein throwing shade at normies -
I really admire him.


Arthur Schopenhauer - "Genuine, lasting happiness cannot be a subject of art"

"In art, especially in poetry, that true mirror of the real nature of the world and of life, we also find evidence of the fact that all happiness is only of a negative, not a positive nature, and that for this reason it cannot be lasting satisfaction and gratification, but always delivers us only from a pain or want that must be followed either by a new pain or by languor, empty longing and boredom.
Every epic or dramatic poem can always present to us only a strife, an effort, and a struggle for happiness, never enduring and complete happiness itself. It conducts its heroes to their goal through a thousand difficulties and dangers; as soon as the goal is reached, it quickly lets the curtain fall.
For there would be nothing left for it but to show that the glittering goal, in which the hero imagined he could find happiness, had merely mocked him, and that he was no better after its attainment than before. Since a genuine, lasting happiness is not possible, it cannot be a subject of art".

The World as Will and Representation (1859)
c2f929f851b27e44f37aee82f398191a7c158652.jpeg
Idk what he means, he looks happy to me
 
N

netrezven

Arcanist
Dec 13, 2018
478
"A man's first duty is to keep himself alive. Then comes what everyone calls honor."
Mario Puzo, The Sicilian
Red that into the context of the book, like more than 15 years ago, and it still pops up in my mind almost every day.
 
Last edited:
Callie Arcale

Callie Arcale

Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun
Feb 10, 2021
461
"The greatest mystery is not that we have been flung at random between the profusion of matter and of the stars, but that within this prison we can draw from ourselves images powerful enough to deny our nothingness."

Andre Malraux

This quote is quite the opposite of pessimism. If we can ”deny our nothingness”, then we achieve something.
View attachment 79614
Idk what he means, he looks happy to me
He’s biting his tongue and screaming on the inside. If this photo had been taken a few seconds later, you’d be seeing blood seeping through his pearly whites…
This word says so much more than the English ”nothingness”. It has such a depth and sweet musicality to it, it makes me want to pick up a fountain pen and write a poem about it.
 
Last edited:
foxdieΩ

foxdieΩ

Experienced
Sep 16, 2021
216
This quote is quite the opposite of pessimism. If we can ”deny our nothingness”, then we achieve something.

I've always interpreted the denial of our nothingness as a delusion. That is where I draw the pessimism from. However, I'm no philosophy major and that's just how I've always taken the quote. I've never read the primary text so my interpretation is free of the original context.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Callie Arcale
Zzzzz

Zzzzz

The cake is a lie.
Aug 8, 2018
538
I have subscribed to that channel for some time now. I have definitely liked some of the quotes I've seen there. The one you posted is quite compelling. Morally speaking, life has no ground to stand on.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Hidden Base
Ashu

Ashu

Member
Nov 13, 2021
33
[This word says so much more than the English "nothingness".]

And vice versa.