A great calamity is as old as the trilobites an hour after it has happened.
—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809–94) American Physician, Essayist
Perhaps catastrophe is the natural human environment, and even though we spend a good deal of energy trying to get away from it, we are programmed for survival amid catastrophe.
—Germaine Greer (b.1939) Australia Academic, Journalist, Scholar, Writer
The compensations of calamity are made apparent to the understanding also, after long intervals of time. A fever, a mutilation, a cruel disappointment, a loss of wealth, a loss of friends, seems at the moment unpaid loss, and unpayable. But the sure years reveal the deep remedial force that underlies all facts.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
The stabbing horror of life is not contained in calamities and disasters, because these things wake one up and one gets very familiar and intimate with them and finally they become tame again. No, it is more like being in a hotel room in Hoboken let us say, and just enough money in one’s pocket for another meal.
—Henry Miller (1891–1980) American Novelist
Our sympathy is cold to the relation of distant misery.
—Edward Gibbon (1737–94) English Historian, Politician
What quarrel, what harshness, what unbelief in each other can subsist in the presence of a great calamity, when all the artificial vesture of our life is gone, and we are all one with each other in primitive mortal needs?
—George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) (1819–80) English Novelist
Down went the owners—greedy men whom hope of gain allured: oh, dry the starting tear, for they were heavily insured.
—W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911) English Dramatist, Librettist, Poet, Illustrator