Arthur Schopenhauer followed the same routine every day for 27 years
“At noon he ceased work for the day and spent half-an-hour practising the flute.”
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860)
Occasionally I’ll meet someone who doesn’t like to watch depressing movies or read depressing books because, well, life is depressing enough already—a perfectly defensible position. Me, however, I like these kinds of movies and books because I find that they actually have the exact opposite effect: They cheer me up! At least certain examples—in particular, the ones where the author or artist pushes the bleakness so far that you can’t help but feel the corners of your lips tilting up into a grin.
One of my personal exemplars of this quasi-genre is Arthur Schopenhauer, Germany’s “philosopher of pessimism.” His collected essays and aphorisms are about as accessible as 19th-century continental philosophy gets, particularly if you’re an angsty teenager (or still have the outlook of one). For example, here’s an excerpt from Schopenhauer’s aptly titled essay “On the Suffering of the World”: