About three times the material in The Pessimist Handbook – free download.

You are fucked. Let’s not beat about the bush. You will live a life with small pleasures, not so small pains, and then die. That being the case it seems surprising that trees are not to be found everywhere with ropes hanging from them. Well, despite all the moaning and gloom, it turns out we have a body that wants to live and will do almost anything to ensure it keeps living. The head can whinge as much as it wants, but the body will still insist on food, shelter, warmth, sex and some level of general care. In fact, the head is the slave of the body, in any case, it spends all its days working out the best way to get the things the body needs – and the rest of the time it spends complaining.

Seeing as we tend to avoid pain and gravitate toward pleasure (even if the only pleasure we have is complaining), it would seem to make sense to find ways of dealing with life that encourage pleasure and minimize the pains. The seventy or so aphorisms, with their brief commentaries, should help you do this. If they don’t well – personally I don’t care – you are fucked anyway.



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When you no longer want peace and contentment you can be absolutely certain that you have found peace and contentment.

Optimism is not only a false but also a pernicious doctrine, for it presents life as a desirable state and man’s happiness as its aim and object. Starting from this, everyone then believes he has the most legitimate claim to happiness and enjoyment. - Schopenhauer

It is improbable that our ‘knowledge’ goes much further than what is absolutely necessary for the preservation of life. Morphology teaches us that an animal’s senses, nerves and brain develop in proportion to the difficulty it has in feeding itself. - Nietzsche.

Most people are searching for the secret to the happiest possible life. The reason this search persists through generations is that there is no secret and there is no happiest possible life.

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