From left to right: Al-Ma’arri (the bust), Leopardi, Mainländer, Bahnsen, Zapffe, Horstmann

Life Is (Not) Great

Six Philosophers That Hated Existence

Suffering creature, born for a day, child of accident and toil, why are you forcing me to say what would give you the greatest pleasure not to hear? The very best thing for you is totally unreachable: not to have been born, not to exist, to be nothing. The second best thing for you, however, is this — to die soon. (The Wisdom of Silenus)


We laugh, but inept is our laughter;
We should weep and weep sore,
Who are shattered like glass, and thereafter
Remolded no more.

This wrong was by my father done
To me, but never by me to one.

Giacomo Leopardi

To that creature, being born,
Its birthday is a day to mourn.

Life is a bitter, weary load,
The world a slough. And now, repose!
Despair no more, but find in Death
The only boon Fate on our race bestows!

Philipp Mainländer

Life is hell, and the sweet still night of absolute death is the annihilation of hell.

God is dead and his death was the life of the world.

Julius Bahnsen

The world is an inextricable tangle of contradictions of the most tragic negativity.

Knows only an endless self-masochism and torture.

Peter Wessel Zapffe

A coin is examined, and only after careful deliberation, given to a beggar, whereas a child is flung out into the cosmic brutality without hesitation.

Know yourselves — be infertile, and let the earth be silent after ye.

Ulrich Horstmann

The final aim of history is a crumbling field of ruins. Its final meaning is the sand blown through the eye-holes of human skulls.

The true Garden of Eden is desolation.

Writer. Philosophical pessimist.