He who rejoices even at the stake triumphs not over pain but over the absence of pain where he had anticipated feeling it. A parable.
(Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture. Friedrich Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, vol. 5, pp. 94-95, eds. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, de Gruyter (1980). Beyond Good and Evil, "Fourth Part: Maxims and Interludes," section 124 (1886).)
Can pain ever disappear? It is not possible to ever smile. Smiling is never easy especially when sadness is always hidden. Can cry but what is the use when nobody understands anymore. It is only pain, which is so painful.
Cruelty is a mystery, and the waste of pain. But if we describe a word to compass these things, a world that is a long, brute game, then we bump against another mystery: the inrush of power and delight, the canary that sings on the skull.
(Annie Dillard (b. 1945), U.S. essayist and autobiographer. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, ch. 1 (1974).)