Comment: What did historical figures think about suffering?

It has somehow become a widespread view that to avoid pain is the route we should all aim for.

But how did the world’s leading historical figures approach the question of suffering?

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle, the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals – Martin Luther King Jr

 The reward of suffering is experience – Harry S Truman

 I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape – Charles Dickens

 God had one son on Earth without sin, but never one without suffering – St Augustine

 To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering – Freidrich Neitzche

 It is an easy thing for one whose foot is on the outside of calamity to give advice and to rebuke the sufferer – Aeschlyus

 For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake, you will find it – Jesus Christ

 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 – George Orwell

 When I am weak, then I am strong – The Apostle Paul

 Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars – Khalil Gibran

Maybe it would be more of a wise move, these people imply, if we chose to embrace the suffering we have to live through, rather than limit it through for example genetic engineering.

Suffering well borne is better than suffering removed – Henry Ward Beecher

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