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For it would be better to die once and for all than to suffer pain for all one's life.
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Variant translations: Once to die is better than length of days in sorrow without end.
Life and life's sorrows? Once to die is better Than thus to drag sick life.
As translated by John Stuart Blackie (1850)


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And therefore, even though animals are in pain, they aren't aware of it. They don't have this third order pain awareness. They are not aware of pain, and therefore they do not suffer as human beings do. Now, this is a tremendous comfort to those of us who are animal lovers, like myself, or to pet owners. Even though your dog or your cat may be in pain, it isn't really aware of being in pain, and therefore it doesn't suffer as you would when you are in pain.

William Lane Craig

Thus I saw our Lord Jesus languoring long time. For the oneing with the Godhead gave strength to the manhood for love to suffer more than all men might suffer: I mean not only more pain than all men might suffer, but also that He suffered more pain than all men of salvation that ever were from the first beginning unto the last day might tell or fully think, having regard to the worthiness of the highest worshipful King and the shameful, despised, painful death. For He that is highest and worthiest was most fully made-nought and most utterly despised.

Julian of Norwich

I saw four manner of dryings: the first was bloodlessness; the second was pain following after; the third, hanging up in the air, as men hang a cloth to dry; the fourth, that the bodily Kind asked liquid and there was no manner of comfort ministered to Him in all His woe and distress. Ah! hard and grievous was his pain, but much more hard and grievous it was when the moisture failed and began to dry thus, shrivelling.
These were the pains that shewed in the blessed head: the first wrought to the dying, while it had moisture; and that other, slow, with shrinking drying, with blowing of the wind from without, that dried and pained Him with cold more than mine heart can think.
And other pains — for which pains I saw that all is too little that I can say: for it may not be told. The which Shewing of Christ’s pains filled me full of pain. For I wist well He suffered but once, but He would shew it me and fill me with mind as I had afore desired. And in all this time of Christ’s pains I felt no pain but for Christ’s pains. Then thought-me: I knew but little what pain it was that I asked; and, as a wretch, repented me, thinking: If I had wist what it had been, loth me had been to have prayed it. For methought it passed bodily death, my pains.
I thought: Is any pain like this? And I was answered in my reason: Hell is another pain: for there is despair. But of all pains that lead to salvation this is the most pain, to see thy Love suffer. How might any pain be more to me than to see Him that is all my life, all my bliss, and all my joy, suffer? Here felt I soothfastly that I loved Christ so much above myself that there was no pain that might be suffered like to that sorrow that I had to Him in pain.

Julian of Norwich

[On dealing with physical and emotional pain] … a friend taught me before I gave birth…“don't try to take your mind away from the pain. Go right into the centre of the pain”, because when she did that she found the pain dissipated. It's true for me anyway, but it's not always possible, I admit. It has become a valuable exercise to apply to different things in life, of not avoiding or disregarding pain or bad feelings. I just have to remember that nothing in life is ever stagnant and that this grief or ache is going to change because everything in life changes.

Jennifer Beals

“Where exactly do you suffer?” the physician asks the patient. “Alas, dear doctor, everywhere,” he answers. “But how are you suffering?” continues the physician, “so that I can diagnose the illness.” No one asks me this, nor do I need it. I know very well how I suffer-I suffer sympathetically. This is exactly the suffering that is able to shake me deeply. Even though I am depressingly and sincerely convinced that I am good for nothing, as soon as there is danger I really have the strength of a lion. When I suffer autopathetically, I am able to stake all my will, and depressed as I am and depressingly brought up, the appalling finds me all the more prepared for what is even more appalling. But when I suffer sympathetically, I have to use all my power, all my ingenuity, in the service of the appalling to reproduce the other’s pain, and that exhausts me. When I myself suffer, my understanding thinks of grounds for comfort, but when I suffer sympathetically, I dare not believe a single one of them, for I cannot, of course, know the other one so accurately as I can know whether the presuppositions are present that are the condition for its effectiveness. When I suffer autopathetically, I know where I am; I place signs along the road of suffering so that I can have something to hold to, but when I suffer sympathetically I go astray, for I cannot really know where the other one actually is, and at every moment I must start all over again, prepared at the next moment to be able to think an even more appalling possibility, the dreadfulness of which I must endure in order not to shirk anything.

Soren Aabye Kierkegaard
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