Quotes about suffering

A collection of quotes on the topic of suffering.

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Šantidéva photo
Benjamin Creme photo
Chinua Achebe photo

„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.

Simone Weil 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

Han Yong-un photo
Megan Marie Hart photo

„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.

Isa Bowman photo
Edvard Munch photo
José Rizal photo

„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)

Ingo Molnar photo

„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.

Citát „Sorry I'm late guys, a black cat crossed my path so I had to go the long way.“
Hatake Kakashi photo
Yeghishe Charents photo

„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.

Etty Hillesum photo
Richard Adams photo
Dietrich Bonhoeffer photo
Andrea Dworkin photo
Leo Tolstoy photo
Leo Tolstoy photo