Quotes about suffering

A collection of quotes on the topic of suffering.

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Luís de Camões photo

„I was long ago undeceived that protesting
could bring redress. But whoever suffers
is bound to complain if the pain is great.
So I did! But the cry that could offer
relief is itself feeble and exhausted,
and it is not through weeping that pain abates.“

—  Luís de Camões Portuguese poet 1524 - 1580

Já me desenganei que de queixar-me
não se alcança remédio; mas, quem pena,
forçado lhe é gritar, se a dor é grande.
Gritarei; mas é débil e pequena
a voz para poder desabafar-me,
porque nem com gritar a dor se abrande.
"Vinde cá, meu tão certo secretário", trans. by Landeg White in The Collected Lyric Poems of Luis de Camoes (2016), p. 297
Lyric poetry, Hymns (canções)

Osamu Dazai photo
Leonardo DiCaprio photo
Tupac Shakur photo
Gustave Flaubert photo
Emil Zátopek photo

„It's at the borders of pain and suffering that the men are separated from the boys.“

—  Emil Zátopek Czech Olympic long-distance runner 1922 - 2000

Attributed in "Citius, Altius, Fortius" ("Swifter, Higher, Stronger"), an unsigned article from Khaleej Times, 8 August 2008 (Galadari Printing and Publishing Co.) http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?xfile=data/weekend/2008/August/weekend_August25.xml&section=weekend&col=

Qin Shi Huang photo

„The reason why China suffers bitterly from endless wars is because of the existence of feudal lords and kings. A reliance on ancestral temples initially brought stability, but the revival of states results in the spread of soldiers. Doing so will never bring about stability!“

—  Qin Shi Huang founding emperor of the Qin Dynasty -258 - -210 BC

Records of the Grand Historian, by Sima Qian
Original: (zh_Hant) 天下共苦戰鬥不休,以有侯王。賴宗廟,天下初定,又復立國,是樹兵也,而求其寧息,豈不難哉!

Miguel de Unamuno photo
Carl Sagan photo

„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.“

—  Carl Sagan, book Pale Blue Dot

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

Anna Kingsford photo

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Paul Bourget photo

„Forgive me, Marie. I was suffering too much. I wanted to be done with it.“

—  Paul Bourget French writer 1852 - 1935

Source: Andre Cornelis (1886), Ch. 13
Context: I seized the sheet of paper; the lines were written upon it in characters rather larger than usual. How it shook in my hand while I read these words: "Forgive me, Marie. I was suffering too much. I wanted to be done with it." And he had had the strength to affix his signature!
So then, his last thought had been for her. In the brief moments that had elapsed between my blow with the knife, and his death, he had perceived the dreadful truth, that I should be arrested, that I would speak to explain my deed, that my mother would then learn his crime — and he had saved me by compelling me to silence.

John Fortescue photo

„One would much rather that twenty guilty persons should escape the punishment of death, than that one innocent person should be condemned and suffer capitally.“

—  John Fortescue Chief Justice of the King's Bench of England 1394 - 1476

De laudibus legum Angliae (c. 1470), reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).

Jordan Peterson photo
F. W. de Klerk photo

„I apologize in my capacity as leader of the NP to the millions who suffered wrenching disruption of forced removals; who suffered the shame of being arrested for pass law offences; who over the decades suffered the indignities and humiliation of racial discrimination.“

—  F. W. de Klerk South African politician 1936

Testifying before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission at a special hearing in Cape Town https://web.archive.org/web/20050119042614/http://www.doj.gov.za:80/trc/media/1997/9705/s970514a.htm (May 1997)
1990s, 1997

Shams-i Tabrizi photo
Michael Prysner photo
Upton Sinclair photo
Viktor E. Frankl photo

„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.“

—  Viktor E. Frankl, book Man's Search for Meaning

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.

Friedrich Nietzsche photo

„To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.“

—  Friedrich Nietzsche German philosopher, poet, composer, cultural critic, and classical philologist 1844 - 1900

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