He who cures a disease may be the skillfullest, but he that prevents it is the safest physician.
—Thomas Fuller (1608–61) English Cleric, Historian
Disease is not of the body but of the place.
—Seneca the Younger (Lucius Annaeus Seneca) (c.4 BCE–65 CE) Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman, Tragedian
The diseases which destroy a man are no less natural than the instincts which preserve him.
—George Santayana (1863–1952) Spanish-American Poet, Philosopher
When an elderly woman was asked why she was standing in line to buy stamps from a teller when she could have used a stamp machine she replied: The machine won’t ask me about my arthritis!
Which came first the intestine or the tapeworm?
—William S. Burroughs (1914–97) American Novelist, Poet, Short Story Writer, Painter
The biggest disease today is not leprosy or cancer or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for, deserted by everybody. The greatest evil is the lack of love and charity, the terrible indifference towards one’s neighbor.
—Mother Teresa (1910–97) Roman Catholic Missionary, Nun
Any important disease whose causality is murky, and for which treatment is ineffectual, tends to be awash in significance.
—Susan Sontag (1933–2004) American Writer, Philosopher
With the modern diseases (once TB, now cancer) the romantic idea that the disease expresses the character is invariably extended to assert that the character causes the disease—because it has not expressed itself. Passion moves inward, striking and blighting the deepest cellular recesses.
—Susan Sontag (1933–2004) American Writer, Philosopher
To be sick is to enjoy monarchical prerogatives.
—Charles Lamb (1775–1834) British Essayist, Poet
If you be sick, your own thoughts make you sick
—Ben Jonson (1572–1637) English Dramatist, Poet, Actor
I think the biggest disease this world suffers from is people feeling unloved.
—Diana, Princess of Wales (1961–97) English Royal, Humanitarian, Peace Activist
The disease and its medicine are like two factions in a besieged town; they tear one another to pieces, but both unite against their common enemy, Nature.
—Francis Jeffrey, Lord Jeffrey (1773–1850) Scottish Judge, Literary Critic
It is with diseases of the mind as with diseases of the body, we are half dead before we understand our disorder, and half cured when we do.
—Charles Caleb Colton (c.1780–1832) English Clergyman, Aphorist
Disease is an experience of mortal mind. It is fear made manifest on the body. Divine Science takes away this physical sense of discord, just as it removes a sense of moral or mental in-harmony.
—Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910) American Christian Science Religious Leader, Humanitarian, Writer
I reckon being ill as one of the great pleasures of life, provided one is not too ill and is not obliged to work till one is better.
Sickness and disease are in weak minds the sources of melancholy; but that which is painful to the body, may be profitable to the soul. Sickness puts us in mind of our mortality, and, while we drive on heedlessly in the full career of worldly pomp and jollity, kindly pulls us by the ear, and brings us to a proper sense of our duty.
—Robert Burton (1577–1640) English Scholar, Clergyman
Illness is the doctor to whom we pay most heed; to kindness, to knowledge, we make promise only; pain we obey.
—Marcel Proust (1871–1922) French Novelist
Disease can never be conquered, can never be quelled by emotion’s willful screaming or faith’s symbolic prayer. It can only be conquered by the energy of humanity and the cunning in the mind of man. In the patience of a Curie, in the enlightenment of a Faraday, a Rutherford, a Pasteur, a Nightingale, and all other apostles of light and cleanliness, rather than of a woebegone godliness, we shall find final deliverance from plague, pestilence, and famine.
—Sean O’Casey (1880–1964) Irish Dramatist, Memoirist
All diseases run into one, old age.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease
—Hippocrates (460–370 BCE) Ancient Greek Physician
There are two kinds of people; those who are always well and those who are always sick. Most of the evils of the world come from the first sort and most of the achievement from the second.
—Louis Dudek (1918–2001) Canadian Poet, Publisher
Is not disease the rule of existence? There is not a lily pad floating on the river but has been riddled by insects. Almost every shrub and tree has its gall, oftentimes esteemed its chief ornament and hardly to be distinguished from the fruit. If misery loves company, misery has company enough. Now, at midsummer, find me a perfect leaf or fruit.
—Henry David Thoreau (1817–62) American Philosopher
Disease generally begins that equality which death completes.
—Samuel Johnson (1709–84) British Essayist
Misdirected life force is the activity in disease process. Disease has no energy save what it borrows from the life of the organism. It is by adjusting the life force that healing must be brought about, and it is the sun as transformer and distributor of primal spiritual energy that must be utilized in this process, for life and the sun are so intimately connected.
—Kabbalah Teaching Jewish Mystical, Theosophical Tradition
We are so fond on one another because our ailments are the same.
—Jonathan Swift (1667–1745) Irish Satirist
The most important thing when ill, is to never lose heart.
—Vladimir Lenin (1870–1924) Russian Revolutionary Leader
Everyone detected with AIDS should be tattooed in the upper forearm, to protect common needle users, and on the buttock, to prevent the victimization of other homosexuals.
—William F. Buckley, Jr. (1925–2008) American TV Personality, Author
In these days, half our diseases come from the neglect of the body in the over work of the brain. In this railway age, the wear and tear of labor and intellect go on without pause or self-pity. We live longer than our forefathers; but we suffer more from a thousand artificial anxieties and cares. They fatigued only the muscles, we exhaust the finer strength of the nerves.
—Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton (1803–73) British Novelist, Poet, Politician
The modern sympathy with invalids is morbid. Illness of any kind is hardly a thing to be encouraged in others.
—Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet, Playwright
To be too conscious is an illness – a real thoroughgoing illness.
—Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821–81) Russian Novelist, Essayist, Writer