— Homér Ancient Greek epic poet, author of the Iliad and the Odyssey
Quotes about suffering
A collection of quotes on the topic of suffering.Related topics
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„The entire universe is God's cosmic motion picture, and that individuals are merely actors in the divine play who change roles through reincarnation; mankind's deep suffering is rooted in identifying too closely with one's current role, rather than with the movie's director, or God.“
— Paramahansa Yogananda Yogi, a guru of Kriya Yoga and founder of Self-Realization Fellowship 1893 - 1952
„How is it possible that the poorer classes can remain healthy and have a reasonable expectation of life under such conditions? What can one expect but that they should suffer from continual outbreaks of epidemics and an excessively low expectation of life? The physical condition of the workers shows a progressive deterioration.“
— Friedrich Engels German social scientist, author, political theorist, and philosopher 1820 - 1895
The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 (1845)
„Thousands of people who say they "love" animals sit down once or twice a day to enjoy the flesh of creatures who have been utterly deprived of everything that could make their lives worth living and who endured the awful suffering and the terror of the abattoirs— and the journey to get there— before finally leaving their miserable world, only too often after a painful death.“
— Jane Goodall British primatologist, ethologist, and anthropologist 1934
The Ten Trusts (2003), p. xv
„Truly, I wish I were dead.
She was weeping when she left me,
and said many things to me, and said this:
"How much we have suffered, Sappho.
Truly, I don't want to leave you."“
— Sappho ancient Greek lyric poet -630 - -570 BC
Stanley Lombardo translations, Frag. 11
„No longer shall I paint interiors with men reading and women knitting. I will paint living people who breathe and feel and suffer and love.“
— Edvard Munch Norwegian painter and printmaker 1863 - 1944
Quote from Munch's text (1889) 'Impressions from a ballroom, New Year's Eve in St. Cloud' - also known as 'The St. Cloud Manifesto'
1880 - 1895
„We are often told lately not to "rub salt into wounds." This is usually being said by people who suffered no wounds.“
— Andrei Sakharov Soviet nuclear physicist and human rights activist 1921 - 1989
Progress, Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom (1968), Dangers, Police Dictatorships
Context: From 1936 to 1939 more than 1.2 million Party members, half of the total membership, were arrested. Only fifty thousand regained freedom; the others were tortured during interrogation or were shot (six hundred thousand) or died in camps. Only in isolated cases were the rehabilitated allowed to assume responsible posts; even fewer were permitted to take part in the investigation of crimes of which they had been witnesses or victims.
We are often told lately not to "rub salt into wounds." This is usually being said by people who suffered no wounds. Actually only the most meticulous analysis of the past and of its consequences will now enable us to wash off the blood and dirt that befouled our banner.
„The cause of suffering is not thinking, it's identification with thinking. This is very, very important to understand, because if you don't understand that it's identification with thinking that's really at the heart of the matter, and you assume that it's thinking itself that's the problem, then you can waste immense amounts of time and energy trying to stop your mind from thinking, trying to better your mind.“
— Adyashanti Spiritual teacher 1962
The Basic Teachings - Part 1: Principles of the Teaching (2009)
„The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity — even under the most difficult circumstances — to add a deeper meaning to his life.“
Man's Search for Meaning (1946; 1959; 1984)
Context: The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity — even under the most difficult circumstances — to add a deeper meaning to his life. It may remain brave, dignified and unselfish. Or in the bitter fight for self-preservation he may forget his human dignity and become no more than an animal. Here lies the chance for a man either to make use of or to forgo the opportunities of attaining the moral values that a difficult situation may afford him. And this decides whether he is worthy of his sufferings or not.
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„If then we would indeed be “filled with wisdom and spiritual understanding;” if we would “walk worthy of the Lord unto all well pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;” here let us fix our eyes! “Laying aside every weight, and the sin that does so easily beset us; let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Here best we may learn the infinite importance of Christianity. How little it can deserve to be treated in that slight and superficial way, in which it is in these days regarded by the bulk of nominal Christians, who are apt to think it may be enough, and almost equally pleasing to God, to be religious in any way, and upon any system. What exquisite folly it must be to risk the soul on such a venture, in direct contradiction to the dictates of reason, and the express declaration of the word of God! “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?”
LOOKING UNTO JESUS!
Here we shall best learn the duty and reasonableness of an absolute and unconditional surrender of soul and body to the will and service of God.—“We are not our own; for we are bought with a price,” and must “therefore” make it our grand concern to “glorify God with our bodies and our spirits, which are God’s.” Should we be base enough, even if we could do it with safety, to make any reserves in our returns of service to that gracious Saviour, who “gave up himself for us?” If we have formerly talked of compounding by the performance of some commands for the breach of others; can we now bear the mention of a composition of duties, or of retaining to ourselves the right of practising little sins! The very suggestion of such an idea fills us with indignation and shame, if our hearts be not dead to every sense of gratitude.
LOOKING UNTO JESUS!
Here we find displayed, in the most lively colours, the guilt of sin, and how hateful it must be to the perfect holiness of that Being, “who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity.” When we see that, rather than sin should go unpunished, “God spared not his own Son,” but “was pleased, to bruise him and put him to grief” for our sakes; how vainly must impenitent sinners flatter themselves with the hope of escaping the vengeance of Heaven, and buoy themselves up with I know not what desperate dreams of the Divine benignity!
Here too we may anticipate the dreadful sufferings of that state, “where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth;” when rather than that we should undergo them, “the Son of God” himself, who “thought it no robbery to be equal with God,” consented to take upon him our degraded nature with all its weaknesses and infirmities; to be “a man of sorrows,” “to hide not his face from shame and spitting,” “to be wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities,” and at length to endure the sharpness of death, “even the death of the Cross,” that he might “deliver us from the wrath to come,” and open the kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
LOOKING UNTO JESUS!
Here best we may learn to grow in the love of God! The certainty of his pity and love towards repenting sinners, thus irrefragably demonstrated, chases away the sense of tormenting fear, and best lays the ground in us of a reciprocal affection. And while we steadily contemplate this wonderful transaction, and consider in its several relations the amazing truth, that “God spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all;” if our minds be not utterly dead to every impulse of sensibility, the emotions of admiration, of preference, of hope, and trust, and joy, cannot but spring up within us, chastened with reverential fear, and softened and quickened by overflowing gratitude. Here we shall become animated by an abiding disposition to endeavour to please our great Benefactor; and by a humble persuasion, that the weakest endeavours of this nature will not be despised by a Being, who has already proved himself so kindly affected towards us. Here we cannot fail to imbibe an earnest desire of possessing his favour, and a conviction, founded on his own declarations thus unquestionably confirmed, that the desire shall not be disappointed. Whenever we are conscious that we have offended this gracious Being, a single thought of the great work of Redemption will be enough to fill us with compunction. We shall feel a deep concern, grief mingled with indignant shame, for having conducted ourselves so unworthily towards one who to us has been infinite in kindness: we shall not rest till we have reason to hope that he is reconciled to us; and we shall watch over our hearts and conduct in future with a renewed jealousy, [Pg 243] lest we should again offend him. To those who are ever so little acquainted with the nature of the human mind, it were superfluous to remark, that the affections and tempers which have been enumerated, are the infallible marks and the constituent properties of Love. Let him then who would abound and grow in this Christian principle, be much conversant with the great doctrines of the Gospel.
It is obvious, that the attentive and frequent consideration of these great doctrines, must have a still more direct tendency to produce and cherish in our minds the principle of the love of Christ.“
— William Wilberforce English politician 1759 - 1833
Source: Real Christianity (1797), p. 240-243.
„If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.“
— William Wilberforce English politician 1759 - 1833
Accepting the position of leader of the anti-slavery campaign.
„I created an environment for myself and a way of living for myself that on the outside seemed incredibly gregarious and vivacious and it was just… I don't believe I have any chemical pre-disposition towards depression but let's just call it, I was suffering from a spiritual malady I suppose, for years, and I just indulged that and it was sweet. Because at times to be in pain, if it's self-perpetuated, at times, can be sweet. You can feel very alive when you're in pain. And I also know that from another perspective when somebody who I love in my life has passed away, there is something incredibly internally vivacious about feeling pain and mourning and even if it's as egocentric and self-indulgent as mourning for yourself or pitying for yourself and that sort of stuff. So I'm glad I'm out of that cycle of my life, and I'm very lucky that way.“
— Colin Farrell Irish actor 1976
2008-10-11, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross
— Sigmund Freud Austrian neurologist known as the founding father of psychoanalysis 1856 - 1939
Source: 1920s, Civilization and Its Discontents (1929), Ch. 2; as translated by James Strachey, p.63
„In order to touch the heart and gain the confidence, the assent, the adhesion, and the co-operation of the illiterate legions of the proletariat — and the vast majority of proletarians unfortunately still belong in this category — it is necessary to begin to speak to those workers not of the general sufferings of the international proletariat as a whole but of their particular, daily, altogether private misfortunes. It is necessary to speak to them of their own trade and the conditions of their work in the specific locality where they live; of the harsh conditions and long hours of their daily work, of the small pay, the meanness of their employer, the high cost of living, and how impossible it is for them properly to support and bring up a family.“
— Mikhail Bakunin Russian revolutionary, philosopher, and theorist of collectivist anarchism 1814 - 1876
Program and Object of the Secret Revolutionary Organisation of the International Brotherhood (1868)
„The great honor of Christianity, its incontestable merit, and the whole secret of its unprecedented and yet thoroughly legitimate triumph, lay in the fact that it appealed to that suffering and immense public to which the ancient world, a strict and cruel intellectual and political aristocracy, denied even the simplest rights of humanity. Otherwise it never could have spread.“
Dover edition, p 75
God and the State (1871; publ. 1882)
„What I know is that suffering creates suffering and the ONLY way to change that in the world is to become JOY and begin infecting other people with it. If you become joy, you will not make other people unhappy and the cycle of suffering… ends. Why do I care? Because I am you. Your suffering is the world's suffering. You can not suffer and not have it affect EVERYTHING in existence.“
— Teal Swan American spiritual teacher 1984
„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).
— Alexis Carrel French surgeon and biologist 1873 - 1944