Quotations about   anguish

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Now, do you think this could possibly happen to a wise person, to be subject to distress in this way? That is, to misery? For every emotion is a misery, but distress is a very torture-chamber. Desire scalds us; wild delight makes us giddy; fear degrades us, but the effects of distress are worse: gauntness, pain, depression, disfigurement. It eats away at the mind and, in a word, destroys it. This we must shed; this we must cast away, or else remain in misery.

[Hoc tu igitur censes sapienti accidere posse, ut aegritudine opprimatur, id est miseria? nam cum omnis perturbatio miseria est, tum carnificina est aegritudo. habet ardorem libido, levitatem laetitia gestiens, humilitatem metus, sed aegritudo maiora quaedam, tabem cruciatum adflictationem foeditatem, lacerat exest animum planeque conficit. hanc nisi exuimus sic ut abiciamus, miseria carere non possumus.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Tusculan Disputations [Tusculanae Disputationes], Book 3, ch. 13 / sec. 27 (45 BC) [tr. Graver (2002)]
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(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Now do you think this possible to befall a wise man, to be overwhelm'd with Discontent, that is, with Misery? For whereas every Passion is Misery, Discontent is a Rack. Lust hath its Scorching; Fond Pleasure its Levity; Fear a meanness of Spirit; but Discontent carrieth along with it more destructive Evils; a Consumption, Torture, Vexation, Deformity. It tears, it frets the Soul like a Canker, and utterly brings it to Destruction. Unless we put off this, so as to cast it away, we can never want for Misery.
[tr. Wase (1643)]

Do you then think it can befall a wise man to be oppressed with grief, i.e., with misery? For, as all perturbation is misery, grief is the rack itself; lust is attended with heat; exulting joy with levity; fear with a meanness; but grief is something greater than these; it consumes, torments, afflicts, and disgraces a man; it tears him, preys upon him, and quite puts an end to him. If we do not divest ourselves so of it, as to throw it quite off, we cannot be free from misery.
[tr. Main (1824)]

then, dost think this may occur to the wise man, that he should be oppressed with sorrow, -- that is, with misery? For, while every perturbation is misery, sorrow is misery in torture. Cupidity has ardour, exulting joy levity, fear humiliation; but sorrow implies something greater, -- infection, torment, prostration, pollution; it lacerates, it gnaws the mind, and consumes it utterly. Unless we strip it off, so as to cast it from us, we cannot escape misery.
[tr. Otis (1839)]

Do you, then, think that it can befall a wise man to be oppressed with grief, that is to say, with misery? for, as all perturbation is misery, grief is the rack itself. Lust is attended with heat, exulting joy with levity, fear with meanness, but grief with something greater than these; it consumes, torments, afflicts, and disgraces a man; it tears him, preys upon his mind, and utterly destroys him: if we do not so divest ourselves of it as to throw it completely off, we cannot be free from misery.
[tr. Yonge (1853)]

Do you then think that it can happen to a wise man to be overcome by grief, that is, by misery ? Nay more, while every perturbation of the soul is misery, grief is torture. Lust is attended by ardor, ecstatic joy by levity, fear by abjectness; but grief has, worse than all these, wasting, torment, distress, noisomeness. It lacerates, corrodes and utterly consumes the soul. Unless we so divest ourselves of it as to throw it entirely away, we cannot be otherwise than miserable.
[tr. Peabody (1886)]

Added on 16-Aug-21 | Last updated 16-Aug-21
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He imagined the pain of the world to be like some formless parasitic being seeking out the warmth of human souls wherein to incubate and he thought he knew what made one liable to its visitations. What he had not known was that it was mindless and so had no way to know the limits of those souls and what he feared was that there might be no limits.

Cormac McCarthy (b. 1933) American novelist, playwright, screenwriter
All the Pretty Horses (1992)
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Added on 24-Feb-20 | Last updated 24-Feb-20
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Hearts can break. Yes. Hearts can break. Sometimes I think it would be better if we died when they did, but we don’t.

Stephen King (b. 1947) American author
Hearts in Atlantis (1999)
Added on 21-Sep-16 | Last updated 21-Sep-16
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And if I laugh at any mortal thing,
‘Tis that I may not weep.

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
Don Juan, Canto 4, st. 4 (1820)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 16-Jun-16
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Those who believe that they believe in God, but without passion in their hearts, without anguish in mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, without an element of despair even in their consolation, believe only in the God idea, not in God Himself.

[Los que sin pasión de ánimo, sin congoja, sin incertidumbre, sin duda, sin la desesperación en el consuelo, creen creer en Dios, no creen sino en la idea de Dios, más no en Dios mismo.]

Miguel de Unamuno (1864-1936) Spanish philosopher and writer [Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo]
The Tragic Sense of Life [Del sentimiento trágico de la vida], ch. 9 “Faith, Hope, and Charity” (1912) [tr. Flitch (1921)]
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Alt. trans. [tr. Kerrigan (1972)]: "Whoever believes he believes in God, but believes without passion, without anguish, without uncertainty, without doubt, without despair-in-consolation, believes only in the God-Idea, not in God Himself."

Original Spanish.

In Unamuno's earlier, unpublished work Treatise on the Love of God [Tratado del amor de Dios], ch. 3 "What is Faith?" (1905-08) [tr. Orringer], he used this same phrase and surrounding text: "Those without passion in their soul, without anguish, without uncertainty, without doubt, without despair in consolation, think they believe in God; they believe only in the idea of God, but not in God Himself."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 19-May-20
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