Quotes about suffering
A collection of quotes on the topic of suffering.Related topics
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„Mankind will soon see that there is no alternative to sharing the produce of the world. Every other method has been tried and failed, and has led inevitably to war, suffering, degradation and misery.“
— Benjamin Creme artist, author, esotericist 1922 - 2016
The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom (1980)
„When suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool.“
— Chinua Achebe Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic 1930 - 2013
Variant: When Suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat left for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool.
„The capacity to give one's attention to a sufferer is a very rare and difficult thing; it is almost a miracle; it is a miracle. Nearly all those who think they have this capacity do not possess it. Warmth of heart, impulsiveness, pity are not enough.“
Waiting on God (1950), Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God
Source: Waiting for God
„Consider again that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar", every "supreme leader", every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.“
Source: Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space (1994), p. 8, Supplemental image at randi.org http://www.randi.org/images/122801-BlueDot.jpg
„I heard the Master preach.
“Don’t be chained to love and suffering. Instead, cut the ties of love and you will rejoice in your heart.” So he said in a loud voice.The Master is quite a fool.
He does not know: true it hurts to be tied with love, but it will hurt more to cut the ties of love, it will hurt more than even death.
In the tight binding of love’s bonds lies their unbinding.Thus great liberation is to be had in the bonds themselves.
My love, I was afraid the rope of your love might be weak so I doubled the strands of my love for you.“
— Han Yong-un Korean writer 1879 - 1944
"The Master’s Sermon", translated by Sammy Solberg
„Jewish history is full of suffering and terrible sorrow. But it is also full of immeasurable joy. We honor the suffering through remembrance. We honor the joy through celebration.“
— Megan Marie Hart American opera singer 1983
From "Persönliche Notiz", in the recital program for the opening event of festival year "100 days, 1700 years – Jewish life in Darmstadt". https://www.darmstadt-tourismus.de/en/visit/events/events/artikel/detail/juedisches-leben-in-darmstadt-festjahr-100-tage-1700-jahre.html Liedgut – Famous Musicians of Jewish Origin (2021), p. 2 http://web.archive.org/web/20210902070031/https://staatstheater-darmstadt.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/produktion/programmbuch/994?response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3D%22210831_PH_Liedgut_web.pdf%22&response-cache-control=public&X-Amz-Content-Sha256=UNSIGNED-PAYLOAD&X-Amz-Algorithm=AWS4-HMAC-SHA256&X-Amz-Credential=AKIAUCI3T77LT4YWGJ7O%2F20210902%2Feu-central-1%2Fs3%2Faws4_request&X-Amz-Date=20210902T070031Z&X-Amz-SignedHeaders=host&X-Amz-Expires=600&X-Amz-Signature=d36591acd16fc78b29808a50bfaf03d75dc5d97aaab1945548d8ad24040d4a9d.
Original: (de) Jüdische Geschichte ist voll von Leiden und schrecklichem Kummer. Aber sie ist auch voll von unermesslicher Freude. Wir ehren das Leiden durch Erinnern. Wir ehren die Freude durch Feiern.
„Even in mathematics his whimsical fancy was sometimes suffered to peep out, and little girls who learnt the rudiments of calculation at his knee found the path they had imagined so thorny set about with roses by reason of the delightful fun with which he would turn a task into a joy. But when the fun was over the little girl would find that she had learnt the lesson (all unknowingly) just the same. Happy little girls who had such a master.“
— Isa Bowman British actress 1874 - 1958
The Story of Lewis Carroll (1899)
„The only influences in [the painting 'The sick Child', Munch painted in his elderly home, remembering very accurate the last days of his dying little sister Sophie] 'The sick Child'.... were the ones that come from my home.... my childhood and my home. Only someone who knew the conditions at home could possibly understand why there can be no conceivable chance of any other place having played a part – my home is to my art as a midwife is to her children.... few painters have ever experienced the full grief of their subject as I did in 'The sick child.“
— Edvard Munch Norwegian painter and printmaker 1863 - 1944
It was not just I who was suffering; it was all my nearest and dearest as well.
Edvard Munch talks to Jens Tiis, c. 1933, Munch Museum; as quoted in Edvard Much – behind the scream, Sue Prideaux; Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2007, pp. 85-86
„Filipinos don't realize that victory is the child of struggle, that joy blossoms from suffering, and redemption is a product of sacrifice.“
— José Rizal Filipino writer, ophthalmologist, polyglot and nationalist 1861 - 1896
"Como se gobiernan las Filipinas" (How one governs in the Philippines), published in La Solidaridad (15 December 1890)
„I have a very simple question to people … who seem to suffer from excessive narcissism: please name three other persons who are smarter and more capable than you, in the field you work in.“
— Ingo Molnar Linux kernel programmer
In most cases they are utterly unable to answer that question honestly.
A comment http://lwn.net/Articles/447204/ at LWN.net in 2011.
„We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.“
— Henry Beston American writer 1888 - 1968
Source: The Outermost House, 1928, p. 25: Ch 2
Source: The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod
Context: We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they moved finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.
„Dear God, these are anxious times. Tonight for the first time I lay in the dark with burning eyes as scene after scene of human suffering passed before me. I shall promise You one thing, God, just one very small thing: I shall never burden my today with cares about my tomorrow, although that takes some practice. Each day is sufficient unto itself. I shall try to help You, God, to stop my strength ebbing away, though I cannot vouch for it in advance. But one thing is becoming increasingly clear to me: that You cannot help us, that we must help You to help ourselves. And that is all we can manage these days and also all that really matters: that we safeguard that little piece of You, God, in ourselves. And perhaps in others as well. Alas, there doesn't seem to be much You Yourself can do about our circumstances, about our lives. Neither do I hold You responsible. You cannot help us, but we must help You and defend Your dwelling place inside us to the last.“
— Etty Hillesum Jewish diarist 1914 - 1943
12 July 1942, p. 488-89
Etty: The Letters and Diaries of Etty Hillesum, 1941-1943
„Many human beings say that they enjoy the winter, but what they really enjoy is feeling proof against it. For them there is no winter food problem. They have fires and warm clothes. The winter cannot hurt them and therefore increases their sense of cleverness and security. For birds and animals, as for poor men, winter is another matter. Rabbits, like most wild animals, suffer hardship.“
Watership Down (1972)
„Time is the most precious gift in our possession, for it is the most irrevocable. This is what makes it so disturbing to look back upon the time which we have lost. Time lost is time when we have not lived a full human life, time unenriched by experience, creative endeavor, enjoyment, and suffering. Time lost is time not filled, time left empty.“
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer German Lutheran pastor, theologian, dissident anti-Nazi 1906 - 1945
As quoted in LIFE magazine (22 April 1957), p. 152; also in Letters and Papers from Prison (1967), p. 47
„A man can be a hero if he is a scientist, or a soldier, or a drug addict, or a disc jockey, or a crummy mediocre politician. A man can be a hero because he suffers and despairs; or because he thinks logically and analytically; or because he is "sensitive"; or because he is cruel. Wealth establishes a man as a hero, and so does poverty. Virtually any circumstance in a man's life will make him a hero to some group of people and has a mythic rendering in the culture — in literature, art, theater, or the daily newspapers.“
— Andrea Dworkin Feminist writer 1946 - 2005
Speech at Queen's College, City University of New York (March 12, 1975). "The Sexual Politics of Fear and Courage", ch. 5, published in Our Blood (1976).