The Schopenhauer Philosophy: How not to be a Grumpy Old Man Whilst Avoiding Pessimism

The pessimistic Schopenhauer strikes a pose

Why am I such a Miserable Old Fart?

It’s easy being pessimistic when you are a grumpy old man like me, with nothing but endless conflict, the continuing economic crisis, and Mayan predictions of something terrible to come.

So all I can see in front of me is the impending march of doom.  For every minute the clock passes, brings me ever more closer to extinction.

This awareness of my own mortality brings with it cynicism, as I cast envious eyes over the world that I will soon no doubt leave. For vengeance I wish nothing but misery for the rest of you poor souls who will remain in this apparent  existence of suffering.

But then again, why would I want to spend anymore time here being tortured by this miserable and superficial planet anyway, with its competitively violent human beings and their ignorant ways – maybe I am the fortunate one.

Schopenhauer Predicted the World Will End in 2012, not the Mayans

Another grumpy old man that agreed with my pessimism of life was German Philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer, who had an extremely bleak outlook on existence as a whole.

In short, Arthur’s philosophy of existence was that life itself must have been an accident, a cruel joke played on us unsuspecting victims.  As observed by Arthur,

“Human existence must be a kind of error…it may be said of it, ‘it is bad today and every day it will get worse, until the worst of all happen'”

A very depressing and sobering thought indeed from Mr Grumpy himself, but in reality, Arthur wasn’t a bad old fellow and had much wisdom and compassion for humankind’s lot, which ultimately pained him towards a pessimistic view of life.

I still would have to agree (obviously I would, with him being a fellow misery guts) with some of Arthur’s observations on human suffering in general.  However, Arthur did have a serious intolerance to noise and almost pushed a woman, who was gossiping outside his door, down a flight of stairs because of it – the reason for his apparent indiscretion is intimated in his following quote,

“Noise is the most impertinent of all forms of interruption. It is not only an interruption, but is also a disruption of thought”

Yes, Arthur had his issues and could be a miserable old beggar at times (aren’t we all?  Okay, I’m speaking for myself), but I’m sure all of us have had something to complain and be miserable about in our troublesome lives.

Find a Purpose and Meaning to your Life toward having Optimism For Tomorrow

So what can be done to relieve any pessimistic views that one might have?

Surely there is more to life than just existing, and there must be a chance for a brighter future despite whatever I or my fellow pessimists may think.  So if you are a person who suffers from pessimism in life, you must aim to transform your negative viewpoint into optimism by finding something worth living for, and use that something as a motivating factor towards vanquishing any feelings of futility.

It is totally in our power to give our life meaning and to remain optimistic about the future.  However, sometimes one cannot help but feel the seemingly pointlessness of life, but there is much we can hope to achieve and look forward to:

  • what more can you live for if you are a parent who is responsible for nurturing your child
  • daily self-learning towards self-knowledge, wisdom and continuous spiritual growth
  • opportunity to remove any ignorance, fear or apathy you may have so you can face life with confident vigour
  • overcoming present troubles, to instead find joy in life
  • finding something of interest and of value to learn and use for the benefit of your life
  • realising your goals towards total fulfillment and happiness
  • developing closer bonds in all your personal relationships
  • teaching or guiding another pessimistic human being toward self-fulfillment
  • living a wise, good and happy life before departing gracefully

Just take a look at that inspirational list above, my friend.  It should provide you with many reasons to be optimistic about your existence on this insignificant dot in the universe.  All you need do, is to free your mind and give life a chance to teach you a positive and purposeful lesson that you have been sceptical of up to now.

So have no fear of what tomorrow brings, just develop a positive mindset for the present moment, which should give you the impetus to go on to achieve anything of benefit for your mind and spirit.

What else can we hope to achieve in this apparently short life?  ‘Marcus Aurelius, would you please?’

“Live each day as if it were your last.”

6 Steps Towards Freedom from Pessimism

Before I go to put my bunion-ridden feet up in front of the telly and complain about the crap that’s being shown, I will leave you with some sound advice on overcoming pessimism, and for you not to become as grumpy as me:

  1. Always live in the present and have no fear with what the future brings.  Fear of the unknown can cause anxiety and pessimism of what’s to come
  2. Embracing the hope of a positive future can make you feel at ease with whatever difficulty you may be presently experiencing, not to mention opening avenues for you to find greater meaning and purpose in your own lives
  3. Always keep in mind that you are growing wise, and not old.  This will help to remove your self-imposed pessimism (and grumpiness) regarding the detriments of old age, ‘To grow old is no evil, just learn to cultivate your mind into becoming like fine wine’
  4. Remain young at heart and find joy and laughter in everything you do
  5. Have goals in life to give you some purpose to get up for, no matter how small
  6. Create, learn or discover something of positive value and worth living for


  1. Ralph says:

    Great post! I think we all have a little bit of pessimism inside of us. Even the most optimistic person can sometimes feel that existence is meaningless. Thats why I like to have what I call a “eternal perspective”. I like to look at existence as a whole as something that was here before me and something that will be here after me.

    That helps me to keep in mind that life is not about me. When I take my eyes off of myself I feel more empowered to help others and I am less hesitant to take risks. It also helps me spiritually knowing that there is a being greater than I that was here before me-and again-will be here after me. It really keeps me focused.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Jason-great post. Loved the humor and your portrayal of Schopenhauer. Sometimes I wonder how much pessimism is a matter of temperament. Some kids just seem to be born with that sour look on their face. Myself, I always wanted to be happy and believe in happiness, though I encountered my share of obstacles along the way. Your suggestions are great, and all of them will help create a more active, joyful, human being. I think, above all, one has to want to be happy, to love being happy, and then no thought or obstacle can stand in one’s way.

  3. Jason Cooper says:

    Hey Ralph & NP!

    All I can say is,

    “Here is a little song I wrote
    You might want to sing it note for note
    Don’t worry be happy
    In every life we have some trouble
    When you worry you make it double
    Don’t worry, be happy……

    Ain’t got no place to lay your head
    Somebody came and took your bed
    Don’t worry, be happy
    The land lord say your rent is late
    He may have to litigate
    Don’t worry, be happy
    Look at me I am happy
    Don’t worry, be happy
    Here I give you my phone number
    When you worry call me
    I make you happy
    Don’t worry, be happy
    Ain’t got no cash, ain’t got no style
    Ain’t got not girl to make you smile
    But don’t worry be happy
    Cause when you worry
    Your face will frown
    And that will bring everybody down
    So don’t worry, be happy (now)…..

    There is this little song I wrote
    I hope you learn it note for note
    Like good little children
    Don’t worry, be happy
    Listen to what I say
    In your life expect some trouble
    But when you worry
    You make it double
    Don’t worry, be happy……
    Don’t worry don’t do it, be happy
    Put a smile on your face
    Don’t bring everybody down like this
    Don’t worry, it will soon past
    Whatever it is
    Don’t worry, be happy”

    ~ Performed by Bobby McFerrin

  4. Fatima Da says:

    Great post Jason, I paticularly love the Song and Murmuring it right now …..

  5. Jason Cooper says:

    Yes Fatima, great song indeed.

    Just sing the song to yourself 10 times a day to melt away any pessimistic thoughts that you may have.

  6. I (69) choose to be grumpy. I enjoy and revel in grumpyness and have high regard for grumpy old people.
    It’s an art that has to be earned through old age.
    Note that:
    Grumpy people get their own way.
    Being grumpy keeps yapping women and squealing kids away.
    Being grumpy lets you tell salespeople exactly what you think of them.
    Being grumpy in front of others allows you to be absolutely wonderful and sweet to yourself. – It’s like a YinYan thing.

    a sign on my door reads Visitors NOT welcomed here – GO AWAY!

    Grumpyness is next to Oddlyness

  7. Jason Cooper says:

    I love your wisdom of being grumpy.

    People usually equate grumpiness to someone who speaks their mind – something which I think is a rare virtue in today’s neurotic, dishonest and political correct world. If I don’t like something or if I think you are talking absolute bullshit, then why can’t tell you that in front of your face – it would save everyone a whole lot of time and trouble.

    I just need to get me one of those signs for my door – hopefully it will keep away salesmen, my landlord and the dreaded Jehovah’s Witnesses.

  8. David Powell says:


    THIS SONG just laid onto me Sat. night by one of Levi’s (my Son) Brother warriors. He was born without one arm and IS DOWN FOR TRUTH like 300 STRONG!!! Sits down with 3 of us and says listen to this song!!!! Wow factor PLEASE SPREAD!!! Thought I hated Brooks and Dunn for their poppish glimmer, but THIS SONG the DEVIL didn’t want me or you TO HEAR!!! SPREAD to soften the hearts of COLD MEN such a time as THE END….WIN SOULS before it’s too late and never forget our CAUSE is to spread the BLOOD of JESUS to CURE WHAT ILLS ALL US BUT FIRST WINNING TRUST so their brains they don’t BUST….YEE HAW!!!! LISTEN to our children. WISDOM BEYOND all our wasted years….LOVING JOYOUS KNOWLEDGE Thriple Threat Throwdown to the D that’s ME….YIPPEE!!!! (no offense to nonbelievers, just trying to state my SOUL purpose and motivation based on my experiences playing in the DARK)…

    Ronnie Dunn BLEED RED
    Let’s say we’re sorry before it’s too late
    Give forgiveness a chance
    Turn the anger into water
    Let it slip through our hands

    We all bleed red
    We all taste rain
    We all fall down lose our way
    We all say words we regret
    We all cry tears
    We all bleed red

    If we’re fighting we’re both losing
    We’re just wasting our time
    Because my scars they are your scars
    And your world is mine
    You and I

    We all bleed red
    We all taste rain
    We all fall down lose our way
    We all say words we regret
    We all cry tears
    We all bleed red
    Sometimes we’re strong
    Sometimes we’re weak
    Sometimes we’re hurt and it cuts deep
    We live this life breath to breath
    We’re all the same
    We all bleed red

    Let’s say we’re sorry before it’s too late

    We all bleed red
    We all taste rain
    We all fall down lose our way
    We all say words we regret
    We all cry tears
    We all bleed red
    Sometimes we’re strong
    Sometimes we’re weak
    Sometimes we’re hurt and it cuts deep
    We live this life breath to breath
    We’re all the same
    We all bleed red


  9. Jason Cooper says:

    Hi David, thanks for those sobering but truthful lyrics.

    They remind me of a quote from an inspirational man, and who lived a most authentic life:

    “You know what I want to think of myself? As a human being. because, I mean I don’t want to be like “As Confucius say,” but under the sky, under the heavens there is but one family. It just so happens that people are different.” ~ Bruce Lee

  10. David Powell says:

    Amen to that Brother Jason….I also like this Taoist poem from author unknown that speaks similar truth like our FAVORITE TOO YOUNG TO DIE warrior Bruce Lee…Keep at it and know the more you share on here the more this old ex neocon vet GROWS….LOL Spent half the night reading the Socrates propaganda post in my bed and could not believe how AWESOME that post is BLOWING brain gaskets in my head. Overlooking the bias and obvious hatred toward Obama and the cabal that tries to enslave us, I am going to ask permission if I can SPREAD THAT GLOBALLY, so as not to scare or incite hatred and instead to let it sink in to our ignorant ass fool brains. Who can’t get a better perspective from one who died admitting he didn’t have all the answers, but was hated just like other great TRUTH SEEKERS and COURAGEOUS Leaders….I sometimes think that some day, our movement will either explode and we can pat ourselves on the shoulders for a job well done, or they lock us up in a box, (where we will just rock the cell block so loud with enlightenment to start up daily UNITED riots) or DEAD…Either way, ready to die ten minutes ago but want to live forever. How can we FAIL….NO WAY BRO!!! NOT I, NOT YOU, NOT ANYONE WHO has half a brain to tumble into the TRUTH STEW….hehehe
    Will check source of the Socrates/Propaganda and ask the author if okay to cut out the (wee bit of bias) so I can BLOW MINDS on both sides of the sand….LOL

    Into a soul absolutely free
    From thoughts and emotion,
    Even the tiger finds no room
    To insert its fierce claws.

    …One and the same breeze passes
    Over the pines on the mountain
    And the oak trees in the valley;
    And why do they give different notes!

    No thinking, no reflecting,
    Perfect emptiness;
    Yet therein something moves,
    Following its own course.

    The eye sees it,
    But no hands can take hold of it –
    The moon in the stream.

    Clouds and mists,
    they are midair transformations;
    Above them eternally shine the sun and the moon.

    Victory is for the one,
    Even before the combat,
    Who has no thought of himself,
    Abiding in the no-mind-ness of Great Origins

  11. David Powell says:

    ABL—-ALWAYS BE LAUGHING….This for the old farts who have all our respect and for us almost there living with no regrets….WEEEEEE….LOL

    Perks of reaching 50 or being over 60 and heading towards 70!
    (or even just coming up that hill to 50!)

    01.Kidnappers are not very interested in you.

    02.In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.

    03.Noone expects you to run–anywhere.

    04.People call at 9 PM and ask, “did I wake you?”

    05.People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.

    06.There is nothing left to learn the hard way.

    07.Things you buy now won’t wear out.

    08.You can eat supper at 4 PM.

    09.You can live without sex but not your glasses.

    10.You get into heated arguments about pension plans.

    11.You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.

    12. You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks into the room.

    13.You sing along with elevator music.

    14.Your eyes won’t get much worse.

    15. Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.

    16. Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service.

    17.Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can’t remember them either.

    18. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to manageable size.

    19. You can’t remember who sent you this list.

    20. And you notice these are all in Big Print for your convenience.

    Forward this to everyone you can remember right now BEFORE YOU FORGET!

    Never, under any circumstances,
    take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night!!!!