Quotations about   unhappiness

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There’s enough sorrow in the world, isn’t there, without trying to invent it.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
A Room with a View, ch 2 (1908)
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Added on 4-Apr-18 | Last updated 4-Apr-18
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We choose our joys and our sorrows long before we experience them.

Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) Lebanese-American poet, writer, painter [Gibran Khalil Gibran]
Sand and Foam (1926)
Added on 26-Sep-16 | Last updated 26-Sep-16
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This planet has — or rather had — a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much all of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

Douglas Adams (1952-2001) English writer
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Preface (1979)
Added on 8-Aug-16 | Last updated 8-Aug-16
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I live my life in celebration and in praise of the life I’m living. What you focus on expands. The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. The more you complain, the more you find fault, the more misery and fault you will have to find.

Oprah Winfrey (b. 1954) American TV personality, actress
“Words of the Week,” Jet (27 Oct 1986)
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Added on 13-May-16 | Last updated 13-May-16
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Since unhappiness excites interest, many, in order to render themselves interesting, feign unhappiness.

Joseph Roux (1834-1886) French Catholic priest
Meditations of a Parish Priest: Thoughts, ch. 5, #24 (1886)
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Added on 2-May-16 | Last updated 2-May-16
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The two foes of human happiness are pain and boredom.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher
“Personality, or What a Man Is,” The Wisdom of Life; Counsels and Maxims [tr. Saunders (1890)]
Added on 6-Apr-16 | Last updated 6-Apr-16
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If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have paradise in a few years.

Russell - happiness unhappiness paradise - wist_info quote

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
New York Times (18 May 1961)
Added on 4-Feb-16 | Last updated 4-Feb-16
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That thro certain Humours or Passions, and from Temper merely, a Man may be completely miserable; let his outward Circumstances be ever so fortunate.

Anthony Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713) English politician and philosopher
“An Inquiry Concerning Virtue, or Merit”
Added on 28-Nov-14 | Last updated 28-Nov-14
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The misery of man proceeds not from any single crush of overwhelming evil, but from small vexations continually repeated.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
Lives of the English Poets, “Pope” (1781)
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Added on 1-Aug-14 | Last updated 1-Aug-14
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CLAUDIUS: When sorrows come, they come not single spies,
But in battalions.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Hamlet, Act 4, sc. 5, l. 78 (1600)
Added on 15-Apr-14 | Last updated 15-Apr-14
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Depend upon it if a man talks of his misfortunes there is something in them that is not disagreeable to him; for where there is nothing but pure misery there never is any recourse to the mention of it.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
Comment (1780)
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In Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, ch. 51 "1780" (1791)
Added on 21-Mar-14 | Last updated 21-Mar-14
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Comparison, more than Reality, makes Men happy or wretched.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia, #1133 (1732)
Added on 23-Jun-11 | Last updated 9-Feb-16
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The world goes up and the world goes down,
The sunshine follows the rain,
And yesterday’s sneer and yesterday’s frown
Can never come over again.

Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) English clergyman, historian, essayist, novelist (pseud. "Parson Lot")
“Dolcino to Margaret” (1851)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 4-Sep-16
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If it had not been for the discontent of a few fellows who have not been satisfied with their condition you would still be living in caves. You never would have emerged from the jungle. Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization. Progress is born of agitation. It is agitation or stagnation.

Eugene V. Debs (1855-1926) American union leader, activist, socialist, politician
“The Issue,” Speech, Girard, Kansas (23 May 1908)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 28-Jan-15
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Happiness is not a reward — it is a consequence. Suffering is not a punishment — it is a result.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Christian Religion,” Part 2, The North American Review (Nov 1881)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-Jul-16
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When I have occasionally set myself to consider the different distractions of men, the pains and perils to which they expose themselves at court or in war, whence arise so many quarrels, passions, bold and often bad ventures, etc., I have discovered that all the unhappiness of men arises from one single fact, that they cannot stay quietly in their own chamber.

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) French scientist and philosopher
Pensées #139 “Diversion” (1670)
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Alt. trans.: "I have often said that man's unhappiness springs from one thing alone, his incapacity to stay quietly in one room."

Alt. trans.: "All the trouble in the world is due to the fact that a man cannot sit still in a room."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-Jun-17
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Men are disturbed, not by things, but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things.

Epictetus (c.55-c.135) Greek (Phrygian) Stoic philosopher
The Enchiridion (c. 135)

Alt. trans.: "We suffer not from the events in our lives, but from our judgment about them."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 5-Jul-17
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O, how full of briers is this working-day world!

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
As You Like It, Act 1, sc. 3, l. 11 (1599)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-May-16
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We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.

Helen Keller (1880-1968) American author and lecturer
Atlantic Monthly (May 1890)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 16-Jun-14
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Thou seest we are not all alone unhappy:
The wide and universal theater
Presents more woeful pageants than the scene
Wherein we play in.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
As You Like It, Act 2, sc. 7, l. 136 (1599)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-May-16
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