By Schopenhauer Arthur
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Extra resources for Essay 7 - The Wisdom Of Life
If he is destined to impress the character of his mind upon a whole race, he has only one measure of happi- 2 Eth. Nichom. x. 7. 3: iv. 11. 1 Epigrammata, 12. 32 Schopenhauer sure, and it becomes burdensome if there are no fictitious and forced aims to occupy it, play, pastime and hobbies of every kind. For this very reason it is full of possible danger, and difficilis in otio quies is a true saying,—it is difficult to keep quiet if you have nothing to do. On the other hand, a measure of intellect far surpassing the ordinary, is as unnatural as it is abnormal.
All else is of small consequence. Accordingly, the greatest minds of all ages have set the highest value upon undisturbed leisure, as worth exactly as much as the man himself. Happiness appears to consist in leisure, says Aristotle;2 and Diogenes Laertius reports that Socrates praised leisure as the fairest of all possessions. So, in the Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle concludes that a life devoted to philosophy is the happiest; or, as he says in the Politics,3 [Greek: Aeloutos ho taes psychaes ploutus monos estin alaethaes Talla dechei ataen pleiona ton kteanon—]1 the free exercise of any power, whatever it may be, is happiness.
The reason of this is as follows. By and in himself a man can accomplish very little; he 53 The Wisdom of Life tends to no absolute obligation, but only to one which he has taken upon himself of his own free will. Conversely, nothing in life gives a man so much courage as the attainment or renewal of the conviction that other people regard him with favor; because it means that everyone joins to give him help and protection, which is an infinitely stronger bulwark against the ills of life than anything he can do himself.