Quotes about diseases

A collection of quotes on the topic of disease.

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Octavia E. Butler photo
Freddie Mercury photo
Józef Piłsudski photo

„Bolshevism is a disease which is peculiar to Russia. It will never grow deep roots in any countries which are not entirely Russian.“

—  Józef Piłsudski Polish politician and Prime Minister 1867 - 1935

Aleksandra Piłsudski, Memoirs of Madame Piłsudski, 1940
Attributed

John Cleese photo

„Life is a terminal disease, and it is sexually transmitted.“

—  John Cleese actor from England 1939

Source: Life and How to Survive It

Jeanette Winterson photo
Andrew Taylor Still photo
John Green photo

„I’m a good person but a shitty writer. You’re a shitty person but a good writer. We’d make a good team. I don’t want to ask you any favors, but if you have time – and from what I saw, you have plenty – I was wondering if you could write a eulogy for Hazel. I’ve got notes and everything, but if you could just make it into a coherent whole or whatever? Or even just tell me what I should say differently. Here’s the thing about Hazel: Almost everyone is obsessed with leaving a mark upon the world. Bequeathing a legacy. Outlasting death. We all want to be remembered. I do, too. That’s what bothers me most, is being another unremembered casualty in the ancient and inglorious war against disease. I want to leave a mark. But Van Houten: The marks humans leave are too often scars. You build a hideous minimall or start a coup or try to become a rock star and you think, “They’ll remember me now,” but (a) they don’t remember you, and (b) all you leave behind are more scars. Your coup becomes a dictatorship. Your minimall becomes a lesion. (Okay, maybe I’m not such a shitty writer. But I can’t pull my ideas together, Van Houten. My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.) We are like a bunch of dogs squirting on fire hydrants. We poison the groundwater with our toxic piss, marking everything MINE in a ridiculous attempt to survive our deaths. I can’t stop pissing on fire hydrants. I know it’s silly and useless – epically useless in my current state – but I am an animal like any other. Hazel is different. She walks lightly, old man. She walks lightly upon the earth. Hazel knows the truth: We’re as likely to hurt the universe as we are to help it, and we’re not likely to do either. People will say it’s sad that she leaves a lesser scar, that fewer remember her, that she was loved deeply but not widely. But it’s not sad, Van Houten. It’s triumphant. It’s heroic. Isn’t that the real heroism? Like the doctors say: First, do no harm. The real heroes anyway aren’t the people doing things; the real heroes are the people NOTICING things, paying attention. The guy who invented the smallpox vaccine didn’t actually invent anything. He just noticed that people with cowpox didn’t get smallpox. After my PET scan lit up, I snuck into the ICU and saw her while she was unconscious. I just walked in behind a nurse with a badge and I got to sit next to her for like ten minutes before I got caught. I really thought she was going to die, too. It was brutal: the incessant mechanized haranguing of intensive care. She had this dark cancer water dripping out of her chest. Eyes closed. Intubated. But her hand was still her hand, still warm and the nails painted this almost black dark almost blue color, and I just held her hand and tried to imagine the world without us and for about one second I was a good enough person to hope she died so she would never know that I was going, too. But then I wanted more time so we could fall in love. I got my wish, I suppose. I left my scar. A nurse guy came in and told me I had to leave, that visitors weren’t allowed, and I asked if she was doing okay, and the guy said, “She’s still taking on water.”“

—  John Green, book The Fault in Our Stars

A desert blessing, an ocean curse. What else? She is so beautiful. You don’t get tired of looking at her. You never worry if she is smarter than you: You know she is. She is funny without ever being mean. I love her. I am so lucky to love her, Van Houten. You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers."
Augustus "Gus" Waters, p. 310-313
The Fault in Our Stars (2012)

Ambrose Bierce photo
David Ogilvy photo
Nikola Tesla photo

„I am unwilling to accord to some small−minded and jealous individuals the satisfaction of having thwarted my efforts. These men are to me nothing more than microbes of a nasty disease. My project was retarded by laws of nature. The world was not prepared for it.“

—  Nikola Tesla Serbian American inventor 1856 - 1943

About the role of J. Pierpont Morgan, and the failure of Tesla's "World System" project
My Inventions (1919)
Context: He had the highest regard for my attainments and gave me every evidence of his complete faith in my ability to ultimately achieve what I had set out to do. I am unwilling to accord to some small−minded and jealous individuals the satisfaction of having thwarted my efforts. These men are to me nothing more than microbes of a nasty disease. My project was retarded by laws of nature. The world was not prepared for it. It was too far ahead of time, but the same laws will prevail in the end and make it a triumphal success.

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Pablo Picasso photo

„People want to find a 'meaning' in everything and everyone. That's the disease of our age, an age that is anything but practical but believes itself to be more practical than any other age.“

—  Pablo Picasso Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer 1881 - 1973

Quoted in: Ingo F. Walther (1996), Picasso, p. 67.
Attributed from posthumous publications

Scott Westerfeld photo

„… humanity is a disease, a cancer on the body of the world.“

—  Scott Westerfeld, book Pretties

Variant: humanity is a cancer on the body of the world
Source: Pretties

Socrates photo
Hans-Hermann Hoppe photo

„According to the pronouncements of our state rulers and their intellectual bodyguards (of whom there are more than ever before), we are better protected and more secure than ever. We are supposedly protected from global warming and cooling, from the extinction of animals and plants, from the abuses of husbands and wives, parents and employers, from poverty, disease, disaster, ignorance, prejudice, racism, sexism, homophobia, and countless other public enemies and dangers. In fact, however, matters are strikingly different. In order to provide us with all this protection, the state managers expropriate more than 40 percent of the incomes of private producers year in and year out. Government debt and liabilities have increased without interruption, thus increasing the need for future expropriations. Owing to the substitution of government paper money for gold, financial insecurity has increased sharply, and we are continually robbed through currency depreciation. Every detail of private life, property, trade, and contract is regulated by ever higher mountains of laws legislation), thereby creating permanent legal uncertainty and moral hazard. In particular, we have been gradually stripped of the right to exclusion implied in the very concept of private property. … In short, the more the state has increased its expenditures on social security and public safety, the more our private property rights have been eroded, the more our property has been expropriated, confiscated, destroyed, or depreciated, and the more we have been deprived of the very foundation of all protection: economic independence, financial strength, and personal wealth.“

—  Hans-Hermann Hoppe Austrian school economist and libertarian anarcho-capitalist philosopher 1949

"The Private Production of Defense" http://www.mises.org/journals/scholar/Hoppe.pdf (15 June 1999)

John Muir photo

„God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. Even so, God cannot save them from fools.“

—  John Muir Scottish-born American naturalist and author 1838 - 1914

Variant: God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fool
Source: 1900s, Our National Parks (1901), chapter 10: The American Forests <!-- Terry Gifford, EWDB, pages 604-605 -->
Context: Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed — chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones. Few that fell trees plant them; nor would planting avail much towards getting back anything like the noble primeval forests. … It took more than three thousand years to make some of the trees in these Western woods — trees that are still standing in perfect strength and beauty, waving and singing in the mighty forests of the Sierra. Through all the wonderful, eventful centuries … God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand straining, leveling tempests and floods; but he cannot save them from fools — only Uncle Sam can do that.

Heinrich Himmler photo
Hippocrates photo

„As to diseases, make a habit of two things — to help, or at least, to do no harm.“

—  Hippocrates ancient Greek physician -460 - -370 BC

Epidemics, Book I, Ch. 2, Full text online at Wikisource
Variant translation: The physician must be able to tell the antecedents, know the present, and foretell the future — must mediate these things, and have two special objects in view with regard to disease, namely, to do good or to do no harm.
Paraphrased variants:
Wherever a doctor cannot do good, he must be kept from doing harm.
Viking Book of Aphorisms : A Personal Selection (1988) by W. H. Auden and Louis Kronenberger, p. 213.
Original: (el) ἀσκεῖν περὶ τὰ νοσήματα δύο, ὠφελεῖν ἢ μὴ βλάπτειν

Amos Oz photo

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“