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The greatest works of art speak to us without knowing of us.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
The Consolations of Philosophy, ch. 5 “Consolation for a Broken Heart” (2000)
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Added on 12-Apr-18 | Last updated 12-Apr-18
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There is nothing we like to see so much as the gleam of pleasure in a person’s eye when he feels that we have sympathized with him, understood him, interested ourself in his welfare. At these moments something fine and spiritual passes between two friends. These moments are the moments worth living.

Don Marquis (1878-1937) American journalist and humorist
Prefaces, “Preface to a Memorandum Book” (1919)
Added on 3-May-16 | Last updated 3-May-16
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You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was Dostoevsky and Dickens who taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.

James Baldwin (1924-1987) American novelist, playwright, activist
Interview, Life Magazine (24 May 1963)

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Added on 17-Mar-16 | Last updated 17-Mar-16
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You read something which you thought only happened to you, and you discover that it happened 100 years ago to Dostoyevsky. This is a very great liberation for the suffering, struggling person, who always thinks that he is alone. This is why art is important. Art would not be important if life were not important, and life is important.

James Baldwin (1924-1987) American novelist, playwright, activist
“An interview with James Baldwin” by Studs Terkel (1961), in Conversations With James Baldwin (1989)

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Added on 31-Dec-10 | Last updated 17-Mar-16
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Human beings are like parts of a body,
created from the same essence.
When one part is hurt and in pain,
the others cannot remain in peace and be quiet.
If the misery of others leaves you indifferent
and with no feelings of sorrow,
You cannot be called a human being.

Sa'adi (1184-1283/1291?) Persian poet [a.k.a. Sa'di, Moslih Eddin Sa'adi, Mushrif-ud-Din Abdullah, Muslih-ud-Din Mushrif ibn Abdullah, Mosleh al-Din Saadi Shirazi, Shaikh Mosslehedin Saadi Shirazi]
Poem on Humanity

Alternate translations:

Posted in the entrance to the Hall of Nations of the UN building, New York:

Of one Essence is the human race,
Thusly has Creation put the Base;
One Limb impacted is sufficient,
For all Others to feel the Mace.

Alt trans (M. Aryanpour):

Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you cannot retain.

Alternate:

The sons of Adam are limbs of each other,
Having been created of one essence.
When the calamity of time affects one limb
The other limbs cannot remain at rest.
If thou hast no sympathy for the troubles of others
Thou art unworthy to be called by the name of a human.

Alternate:

All human beings are in truth akin;
All in creation share one origin.
When fate allots a member pangs and pains,
No ease for other members then remains.
If, unperturbed, another's grief canst scan,
Thou are not worthy of the name of man.

Alternate:

All Adam's race are members of one frame,
Since all, at first, from the same essence came.
When by hard fortune one limb is oppressed,
The other members lose their wonted rest:
If thou feel'st not for others' misery,
A son of Adam is no name for thee.

Persian original can be seen here. Transliterated (here) as:

Bani aadam aazaye yek digarand
ke dar aafarinesh ze yek gooharand
cho ozvi be dard aavarad roozegaar
degar ozvhaa raa namaanad gharaar
to kaz mehnate digaraan bi ghami
nashaayad ke naamat nahand aadami

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 17-Mar-16
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