ALGOSPHERE

An alliance for the alleviation of suffering in the world

QUOTATIONS ON SUFFERING
 

Quotation from the Buddha "Suffering, as a noble truth, is this: Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering, sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; association with the loathed is suffering, dissociation from the loved is suffering, not to get what one wants is suffering — in short, suffering is the five categories of clinging objects. The origin of suffering, as a noble truth, is this: It is the craving that produces renewal of being accompanied by enjoyment and lust, and enjoying this and that; in other words, craving for sensual desires, craving for being, craving for non-being. Cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, is this: It is remainderless fading and ceasing, giving up, relinquishing, letting go and rejecting, of that same craving. The way leading to cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, is this: It is simply the noble eightfold path, that is to say, right view, right intention; right speech, right action, right livelihood; right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration." (From the Buddha's first discourse Setting Rolling the Wheel of Truth)

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Quotation from the Christ "Then the King will say to those on his right hand, 'Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.' Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you.' And the King will answer, 'I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.' Next he will say to those on his left hand, 'Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me.' Then it will be their turn to ask, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?' Then he will answer, 'I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.' And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life."  (The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 25, verses 34-46)

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Quotation from the Red Cross and Red Crescent "The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battlefield, endeavours, in its international and national capacity, to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found." (Website of the Red Cross and Red Crescent)

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Quotation from Friedrich Nietzsche "Whether it is hedonism or pessimism, utilitarianism or eudaemonism - all these ways of thinking that measure the value of thing in accordance with pleasure and pain, which are mere epiphenomena and wholly secondary, are ways of thinking that stay in the foreground and naivetes on which everyone conscious of creative powers and an artistic conscience will look down not without derision, nor without pity. Pity with you - that, of course, is not pity in your sense: it is not pity with social 'distress', with 'society' and its sick and unfortunate members, with those addicted to vice and maimed from the start, though the ground around us is littered with them; it is even less pity with grumbling, sorely pressed, rebellious slave strata who long for dominion, calling it 'freedom'. Our pity is a higher and more farsighted pity: we see how man makes himself smaller, how you make him smaller - and there are moments when we behold your very pity with indescribable anxiety, when we resist this pity - when we find your seriousness more dangerous than any frivolity. You want, if possible - and there is no more insane 'if possible' - to abolish suffering. And we? It really seems that we would rather have it higher and worse than ever. Well-being as you understand it - that is no goal, that seems to us an end, a state that soon makes man ridiculous and contemptible - that makes his destruction desirable. The discipline of suffering, of great suffering - do you not know that only this discipline has created all enhancements of man so far? That tension of the soul in unhappiness which cultivates its strength, its shudders face to face with great ruin. its inventiveness and courage in enduring, persevering, interpreting and exploiting suffering and whatever has been granted to it of profundity, secret, mask, spirit, cunning, greatness - was it not granted to it through suffering, through the discipline of great suffering? In man creature and creator are united: in man there is material, fragment, excess, clay, dirt, nonsense, chaos; but in man there is also creator, form giver, hammer, hardness, spectator divinity, and seventh day: do you understand this contrast? And that your pity is for the 'creature in man'. for what must be formed, broken, forged, torn, burnt, made incandescent, and purified - that which necessarily must and should suffer? And our pity - do you not comprehend for whom our converse pity is when it resists your pity as the worst of all pamperings and weaknesses?" (Beyond Good and Evil : Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future, section 225)

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Quotation from Karl Popper, who proposed a 'negative utilitarianism' in his 1945 book The Open Society and Its Enemies "It adds to clarity in the fields of ethics, if we formulate our demands negatively, i.e., if we demand the elimination of suffering rather than the promotion of happiness." And "I believe that there is, from the ethical point of view, no symmetry between suffering and happiness, or between pain and pleasure. (…) human suffering makes a direct moral appeal for help, while there is no similar call to increase the happiness of a man who is doing well anyway."

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Quotation from Albert Camus "In his greatest effort, man can only purpose to reduce arithmetically the pain of the world."  (The Rebel : An Essay on Man in Revolt). Here is another quotation from Camus: "The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience." (Resistance, Rebellion, Death. Translated by Justin O’Brien. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1961, p. 101.)

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Quotation from the International Association for the study of pain (IASP) «Pain, particularly chronic pain, is a major threat to the quality of life worldwide, and will become more so as the average age increases. In developing parts of the world the major epidemic of ‘killer diseases’ produce enormous amounts of pain for which there is little or no relief available. This is especially true for patients with HIV/AIDS and cancer, but also for the millions of people suffering injuries from road accidents, childbirth, acts of war and even after surgery. The control of pain has been a relatively neglected area of governmental concern in the past, despite the fact that cost-effective methods of pain control are available. The time is now right to raise the profile of pain, to promote the recognition that the consequences of chronic pain is a disease entity in its own right and an important health concern, but above all, to raise global awareness to a fundamental truth – the relief of pain should be a human right.» (IASP website)

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Quotation from Ralph Siu "After analyzing the unceasing mutual inflictions of suffering by practically everyone and the neglect of this pervasive and degenerating human deficiency by the academic community, I urge the immediate creation of a new and vigorous academic discipline, called panetics, to be devoted to the study of the infliction of suffering." (Ralph G.H. Siu, Panetics − The Study of the Infliction of Suffering, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Vol. 28 No. 3, Summer 1988.) (See the website of the International Society for Panetics, which is dedicated to the study and development of ways to reduce the infliction of human suffering by individuals acting through professions, corporations, governments, and other social groups.)

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Quotation from David Pearce "The Hedonistic Imperative outlines how genetic engineering and nanotechnology will abolish suffering in all sentient life. The abolitionist project is hugely ambitious but technically feasible. It is also instrumentally rational and morally urgent. The metabolic pathways of pain and malaise evolved because they served the fitness of our genes in the ancestral environment. They will be replaced by a different sort of neural architecture a motivational system based on heritable gradients of bliss. States of sublime well-being are destined to become the genetically pre-programmed norm of mental health. It is predicted that the world's last unpleasant experience will be a precisely dateable event. Two hundred years ago, powerful synthetic pain-killers and surgical anesthetics were unknown. The notion that physical pain could be banished from most people's lives would have seemed absurd. Today most of us in the technically advanced nations take its routine absence for granted. The prospect that what we describe as psychological pain, too, could ever be banished is equally counter-intuitive. The feasibility of its abolition turns its deliberate retention into an issue of social policy and ethical choice." (The Hedonistic Imperative, 1995)

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Quotation from William E. Connolly "Severe suffering exceeds every interpretation of it while persistently demanding interpretation. (...) Does the poly-cultural character of suffering reveal something about the human condition? And how contestable and culturally specific are the medical, psychological, religious, ethical, therapeutic, sociostructural, economic and political categories through which suffering is acknowledged and administered today? Is "suffering” a porous universal, whose persistence as a cultural term reveals how conceptually discrete injuries, wounds, and agonies are experientially fungible, crossing and confounding the fragile boundaries we construct between them? Or is it a barren generality, seducing theorists into metaphysical explorations far removed from specific injuries in need of medical or moral or religious or political or therapeutic or military attention? Any response to this question draws upon one or more of the theoretical paradigms already noted. A political theorist might focus on power struggles between disparate professionals over the legitimate definition and treatment of suffering. An evangelist might minister instances that fit the Christian model. And a physician might medicate theorists and spiritualists burned out by the projects these faiths commend. Is the bottom line, then, that today people go to the doctor when they really need help? Perhaps. But they might pray after getting the treatment. Or file a malpractice suit. Or join a political movement to redesign the health care system. Sufferers are full of surprises. Among field contenders for primacy in the domain of suffering, ethical theory has pretty much dropped out of the running. (...) Even though professional ethicists have relinquished authority over suffering, morality — as a set of cultural interpretations of goodness, obligation, and evil — continues to play a major role in its delineation and treatment. But morality, as played out in this culture, is divided against itself over the interpretation of suffering. Some modes of suffering, say child abuse, are said (by some) to be caused by immoral behavior of others; others, say alcoholism, to be caused by the immorality of the sufferer herself; others, say racism, to be caused by the cultural hegemony of vindictive moral codes; and others yet, say terminal patients who seek to end their own lives because they roll in agony, to be rendered otiose by traditional moral codes. And we disagree within and between ourselves which instances fall under which categories." (Suffering, Justice, and the Politics of Becoming, an article in Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 20: 251-277, 1996)

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Quotation from Arthur Kleinman "But because of the manner in which knowledge and institutions are organized in the contemporary world as pragmatically oriented programs of welfare, health, social development, social justice, security, and so on, the phenomenon of suffering as an experiential domain of everyday social life has been splintered into measurable attributes. These attributes are then managed by bureaucratic institutions and expert cultures that reify the fragmentation while casting a veil of misrecognition over the domain as a whole (because if seen as a whole it would be too threatening?). As a result, neither a transsectoral framework of analysis nor interdisciplinary theories are made visible. By returning to the primacy of the phenomenological domain of experiences of suffering in a broad social context, we seek to show that what one expert defines as the object of health policy and another as the object of economic policy can and must be viewed in a frame that integrates these and other human problems -- a frame that names a large domain of the sources, forms, and consequences of social life. In order to intervene in that domain, we need to ground responses, with the aid of social maps and social theories, in new and more humanly valid ways or refiguring the predicaments of our time." (Social Suffering, p. xxv, 1997)

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Quotation from Iain Wilkinson (who is proposing a 'sociology of suffering')  "The sociological study of human suffering requires us to question, and if necessary oppose, disciplinary boundaries that drive us into narrow fields of technical expertise. Wherever possible, we should be thinking about the diverse realities of human experience; for 'the problem of suffering' is such that it touches upon every aspect of our personhood. In addition, it seems that in attending to the existential reality of this phenomenon, it is practically impossible to avoid questioning the essential meaning and value of our work (...). The negative impact of suffering on our lives is such that it demands debate over what we are fundamentally for. In this respect, we should expect all research and writing in this area to involve a critical engagement with the morality and politics of our times. Finally, in so far as it is in terms of an attempt to understand 'the difficulty of understanding' that we touch upon some of the most vital aspects of what suffering does to people, then it may well be the case that this field of study amounts to one of the most critical settings in which sociology is made to confront the failures of its scholarship, methods and thinking. Yet, as I  have argued, we might still relate to such failings as a necessary part of 'thinking with suffering'." (Suffering – A Sociological Introduction, page 165)

Excerpt from the section entitled Encyclopaedic, in chapter V of The Magical Mountain, a novel by Thomas Mann, published in 1924.

“These papers,” he said, “bear the stamp, in French, of the International League for the Organization of Progress. I have them from Lugano, where there is an office of a branch of the League. You inquire after its principles, its scope? I will define them for you, in two words. The League for the Organization of Progress deduces from Darwinian theory the philosophic concept that man’s profoundest natural impulse is in the direction of self-realization. From this it follows that all those who seek satisfaction of this impulse must become co-labourers in the cause of human progress. Many are those who have responded to the call; there is a considerable membership, in France, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and in Germany itself. I myself have the honour of having my name inscribed on the roll. A comprehensive and scientifically executed programme has been drawn up, embracing all the projects for human improvement conceivable at the moment. We are studying the problem of our health as a race, and the means for combating the degeneration which is a regrettable accompanying phenomenon of our increasing industrialization. The League envisages the founding of universities for the people, the resolution of the class conflict by means of all the social ameliorations which recommend themselves for the purpose, and finally the doing away with national conflicts, the abolition of war through the development of international law. You perceive that the objects toward which the League directs its efforts are ambitious and broad in their scope. Several international periodicals are evidence of its activities—monthly reviews, which contain articles in three or four languages on the subject of the progressive evolution of civilized humanity. Numerous local groups have been established in the various countries; it is expected that they will exert an edifying and enlightening influence by means of discussion evenings and appropriate Sunday observances. Above all, the League will strive its utmost to aid with the material at its disposal the political party of progress in every country. You follow me, Engineer?”

“Absolutely,” Hans Castorp replied, with precipitation. He had, as he spoke, the feeling of a man who finds himself slipping, but for the moment contrives to keep his feet.

Herr Settembrini appeared satisfied. “I assume that these are new and surprising ideas to you?”

“Yes, I confess this is the first time I have heard of these—these endeavours.”

“Ah,” Settembrini murmured, “ah, if you had only heard of them earlier! But perhaps it is not yet too late. These circulars—you would like to know what they say? Listen. Last spring a formal meeting of the League was called, at Barcelona. You are aware that that city can boast of a quite special affinity with progressive political ideas. The congress sat for a week, with banquets and festivities. I wanted to go—good God, I yearned to be there and take part in the deliberations. But that scurvy rascal of a Hofrat forbade me on pain of death, so—well, I was afraid I should die, and I didn’t go. I was in despair, as you may imagine, over the trick my unreliable health had played me. Nothing is more painful than to be prevented by our physical, our animal nature from being of service to reason. My satisfaction, therefore, over this communication from Lugano is the more lively. You are curious to know what it says? I can imagine. But first, a few brief explanations: the League for the Organization of Progress, mindful of its task of furthering human happiness—in other words, of combating human suffering by the available social methods, to the end of finally eliminating it altogether; mindful also of the fact that this lofty task can only be accomplished by the aid of sociology, the end and aim of which is the perfect State, the League, in session at Barcelona, determined upon the publication of a series of volumes bearing the general title: The Sociology of Suffering. It should be the aim of the series to classify human suffering according to classes and categories, and to treat it systematically and exhaustively. You ask what is the use of classification, arrangement, systematization? I answer you: order and simplification are the first steps toward the mastery of a subject—the actual enemy is the unknown. We must lead the human race up out of the primitive stages of fear and patient stupidity, and set its feet on the path of conscious activity. We must enlighten it upon two points: first, that given effects become void when one first recognizes and then removes their causes; and second, that almost all individual suffering is due to disease of the social organism. Very well; this is the object of the Sociological Pathology. It will be issued in some twenty folio volumes, treating every species of human suffering, from the most personal and intimate to the great collective struggles arising from the conflicting interests of classes and nations; it will, in short, exhibit the chemical elements whose combination in various proportions results in all the ills to which our human flesh is heir. The publication will in every case take as its norm the dignity and happiness of mankind, and seek to indicate the measures and remedies calculated to remove the cause of each deviation. Famous European specialists, physicians, psychologists, and economists will share in the composition of this encyclopædia of suffering, and the general editorial bureau at Lugano will act as the reservoir to collect all the articles which shall flow into it. I can read in your eyes the question as to what my share is to be in all these activities. Hear me to the end. This great work will not neglect the belletrist in so far as he deals with human suffering: a volume is projected which shall contain a compilation and brief analysis of such masterpieces of the world’s literature as come into question by depicting one or other kind of conflict—for the consolation and instruction of the suffering. This, then, is the task entrusted to your humble servant, in the letter you see here.”

“You don’t say, Herr Settembrini! Allow me to offer you my heartiest congratulations! That is a magnificent commission, just in your line, I should think. No wonder the League thought of you! And what joy you must feel to aid in the elimination of human suffering!” “It is a work very broad in its scope,” Herr Settembrini said thoughtfully, “and will require much consideration and wide reading. Especially,” he added, and his gaze seemed to lose itself in the immensity of his task, “since literature has regularly chosen to depict suffering, and even second- and third-rate masterpieces treat of it in one form or another. But what of that? So much the better! However comprehensive the work may be, it is at least of a nature that will permit me to carry it on, if needs must, even in this accursed place—though I hope I need not be here long enough to bring it to a conclusion. (...)

Quotes on the internet about suffering

http://www.abolitionist.com/suffering.htm

http://www.quotationspage.com/search.php3?homesearch=suffering

http://en.proverbia.net/citastema.asp?tematica=1174

 

Last modification : 2020/07/04

Email : daoust514@gmail.com

 

 

 

Quotation from
the Buddha

Quotation from
the Christ

 

Quotation from
the Red Cross and Red Crescent

Quotation from
Friedrich Nietzsche

Quotation from
Karl Popper

Quotation from
Albert Camus

Quotation from
IASP

Quotation from
Ralph Siu

Quotation from
David Pearce

Quotation from
William Connolly

Quotation from
Arthur Kleinman

Quotation from
Iain Wilkinson

Excerpt from
The Magic Mountain

 

 

Quotes on the internet
about suffering