German thinker Arthur Schopenhauer was dubbed "the artist's philosopher" for the way he inspired the creators of various media formats, but he was also pretty pessimistic. After a screwed-up personal life, Schopenhauer decided to forgo human contact in favor of his true love: poodles.

It's no wonder that Schopenhauer turned to canine contact. Arthur's father committed suicide when his son was just 17, and Johanna, his mom, was never close to her son (although she did introduce him to a number of important philosophers). No wonder he thought the world was an irrational place and wasn't terribly interested in hanging out with other human beings. 


Instead, the apparently misogynistic Schopenhauer was a big fan of poodles, where he got his affection from. In fact, he owned the curly-haired pups from his time as a student up to his death. Rumor had it that he would chide his dogs for not being human-like enough, saying, "You are not a dog. You are a human!" When the dog piddled on the carpet, Arthur would angrily address his poodle as "You, sir!"; Schopenhauer even admitted he wouldn't mind someone calling him a dog. One of his works utilized a poodle to demonstrate a philosophical principle.

All of Schopenhauer's poodles had the same name: Atma, derived from the Hindu concept of the universal soul. Schopenhauer was fascinated by Hindu religious texts, and he brought that to his poodles. He helped popularize the curly-haired canine in Frankfurt, and even commissioned a death mask (like the ancient Romans did for their human ancestors) of one of his final dogs. His main beneficiary in his will? The last Atma.

Feature image via Eric Drass.