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136,210. We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws, because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. Throw us in jail, and we shall still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we shall still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and beat us and leave us half dead, and we shall still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. (Black People & Civil Rights & Activism & Protest & Demonstration & Endure & Suffering & South) Martin Luther King, essay Loving Your Enemies
127,154. We are suffering. We have suffered, and we are not afraid to suffer in order to win our cause. We have suffered unnumbered ills and crimes in the name of the Law of the Land. Our men, women, and children have suffered not only the basic brutality of stoop labor, and the most obvious injustices of the system; they have also suffered the desperation of knowing that the system caters to the greed of callous men and not to our needs. Now we will suffer for the purpose of ending the poverty, the misery, and the injustice, with the hope that our children will not be exploited as we have been. They have imposed hunger on us, and now we hunger for justice. We draw our strength from the very despair in which we have been forced to live. We shall endure. Cesar Chavez, The Plan of Delano, 1965
115,733. Pain anguish and suffering in human life are always in proportion to the strength with which a man is endowed. (Man in the Iron Mask & Suffering) Alexandre Dumas, The Man in the Iron Mask
2,987. We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes – one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximum freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way. (Universe & Suffering) Stephen Jay Gould
87,437. To see others suffer does one good, to make others suffer even more: this is a hard saying but an ancient, mighty, human, all-too-human principle ... Without cruelty there is no festival. (Sadomasochism & Suffering & Cruelty) Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Hom
51,173. Perhaps I know best why it is man alone who laughs; he alone suffers so deeply that he had to invent laughter. (Laughter & Suffering) Friedrich Nietzsche
90,075. To regard extremes of suffering as an evil, as something to be abolished, is a supreme idiocy. Friedrich Nietzsche
90,359. To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering. (Survive & Suffering) Friedrich Nietzsche
87,733. We seem to be made to suffer. It’s our lot in life. (Science Fiction Films & Suffer) Star Wars 1977 starring Harrison Ford & Mark Hamill & Carrie Fisher & Peter Cushing & Alec Guinness & David Prowse & Anthony Daniels & Kenn Baker & Peter Mayhew & Phil Brown & Denis Lawson et al, director Gorge Lucas, tin man
191. This very old argument from the existence of suffering against the existence of an intelligent first cause seems to me a strong one; whereas, as just remarked, the presence of much suffering agrees well with the view that all organic beings have been developed through variation and natural selection.
At the present day the most usual argument for the existence of an intelligent God is drawn from the deep inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons. But it cannot be doubted that Hindoos, Mahomadans and others might argue in the same manner and with equal force in favour of the existence of one God, or of many Gods, or as with the Buddists of no God. There are also many barbarian tribes who cannot be said with any truth to believe in what we call God: they believe indeed in spirits or ghosts, and it can be explained, as Tyler and Herbert Spencer have shown, how such a belief would be likely to arise.
Formerly I was led by feelings such as those just referred to, (although I do not think that the religious sentiment was ever strongly developed in me), to the firm conviction of the existence of God, and of the immortality of the soul. (God & Belief & Suffering) Charles Darwin, Autobiography: Religious Belief
210. I often get letters, quite frequently, from people who say how they like the programmes a lot, but I never give credit to the almighty power that created nature. To which I reply and say, ‘Well, it's funny that the people, when they say that this is evidence of the Almighty, always quote beautiful things. They always quote orchids and hummingbirds and butterflies and roses.’ But I always have to think too of a little boy sitting on the banks of a river in west Africa who has a worm boring through his eyeball, turning him blind before he’s five years old. And I reply and say, ‘Well, presumably the God you speak about created the worm as well.’ And now I find that baffling to credit a merciful God with that action. And therefore it seems to me safer to show things that I know to be truth, truthful and factual, and allow people to make up their own minds about the moralities of this thing, or indeed the theology of this thing. (God & Nature & Cruelty & Suffering) David Attenborough, Life on Air BBC 2002
218. If God is what people say, there can be no one in the universe so unhappy as He; for He sees unceasingly myriads of His creatures suffering unspeakable miseries – and besides this foresees how they are going to suffer during the remainder of their lives. One might as well say, ‘As unhappy as God’. (God & Unhappy & Suffering) Mark Twain, notebook 24 April to August 1885
559. We suffer vicariously; it’s a very powerful emotion. (Religion & Suffering) Richard Dawkins, Sex, Death and The Meaning of Life I: Sin, Channel 4 2012
53,166. The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference. (Creationism & Intelligent Design & Evolution & Meaning of Life & Luck & Cruelty & Starvation & Suffering) Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life
602. There’s no expiation for the generations of misery and suffering that religion has inflicted in this way and continues to inflict and I still haven’t heard enough apology for it. (Religion & Misery & Suffering & Apology) Christopher Hitchens
636. Indeed, religion allows people to imagine that their concerns are moral when they are highly immoral – that is, when pressing these concerns inflict unnecessary and appalling suffering on innocent human beings. This explains why Christians like yourself expend more ‘moral’ energy opposing abortion than fighting genocide. It explains why you are more concerned about human embryos than about the lifesaving promise of stem-cell research. And it explains why you can preach against condom use in sub-Saharan Africa while millions die from AIDS there each year. (Religion & Suffering & Morality & AIDS) Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation
1,049. Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise. (Life’s Like That & Suffering) George Orwell
96,992. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. (Power & Suffering) George Orwell, 1984
1,194. To be, or not to be – that is the question.
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? – To die – to sleep –
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to; ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die – to sleep –
To sleep! Perchance to dream. Aye, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office...’ (Life’s Like That & Be & Question & Noble & Mind & Suffer & Fortune & Arms & Trouble & Opposition & Death & Pain & Suicide & Dream & Oppress & Law & Office & Fortunate) William Shakespeare, Hamlet, III i 56-73