The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow-creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate but almost disqualified for life.
What is the meaning of human life, or, for that matter, of the life of any creature? To know the answer to this question means to be religious. You ask: Does it make any sense, then, to pose this question? I answer: The man who regards his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unhappy but hardly fit for life.
I am strongly drawn to the simple life and am often oppressed by the feeling that I am engrossing an unnecessary amount of the labour of my fellow men. I regard class differences as contrary to justice and, in the last resort, based on force. I also consider that plain living is good for everybody, physically and mentally.
Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.
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I do not believe in free will. Schopenhauer’s words: ‘Man can do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wills,’ accompany me in all situations throughout my life and reconcile me with the actions of others, even if they are rather painful to me. This awareness of the lack of free will keeps me from taking myself and my fellow men too seriously as acting and deciding individuals, and from losing my temper.