Consolation or consolement is the act of offering psychological comfort to someone who has suffered severe, upsetting loss, such as the death of a loved one. It is typically provided by expressing shared regret for that loss and highlighting the hope for positive events in the future. Consolation is an important topic arising in history, the arts, philosophy, and psychology.
- Depend upon it, you see but half. You see the evil, but you do not see the consolation. There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much; but then, if one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere— and those evil-minded observers, dearest Mary, who make much of a little, are more taken in and deceived than the parties themselves.
- CONSOLATION, n. The knowledge that a better man is more unfortunate than yourself.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
- Before and after fundamental medicine offers diagnoses, drugs, and surgery to those who suffer, it should offer consolation. Consolation is a gift. Consolation comforts when loss occurs or is inevitable. This comfort may be one person's render loss more bearable by inviting some shift in belief about the point of living a life that includes suffering. Thus consolation implies a period of transition: a preparation for a time when the present suffering will have turned. Consolation promises that turning.
- Arthur W. Frank, The Renewal of Generosity: Illness, Medicine, and How to Live (2009), p. 2.
- I am much indebted to the good christian people of the country for their constant prayers and consolations; and to no one of them, more than to yourself. The purposes of the Almighty are perfect, and must prevail, though we erring mortals may fail to accurately perceive them in advance. We hoped for a happy termination of this terrible war long before this; but God knows best, and has ruled otherwise. We shall yet acknowledge His wisdom and our own error therein. Meanwhile we must work earnestly in the best light He gives us, trusting that so working still conduces to the great ends He ordains. Surely He intends some great good to follow this mighty convulsion, which no mortal could make, and no mortal could stay.
- For those who need consolation no means of consolation is so effective as the assertion that in their case no consolation is possible: it implies so great a degree of distinction that they at once hold up their heads again.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Daybreak — Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality (1881), p. 380.
- It was good of Friedrich Nietzsche to declare God dead — I declare that he has never been born. It is a created fiction, an invention, not a discovery. Do you understand the difference between invention and discovery? A discovery is about truth, an invention is manufactured by you. It is man-manufactured fiction. Certainly it has given consolation, but consolation is not the right thing! Consolation is opium. It keeps you unaware of the reality, and life is flowing past you so quickly — seventy years will be gone soon.
- Feeling does not succeed in converting consolation into truth, nor does reason succeed in converting truth into consolation.
- Miguel de Unamuno], The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), V : The Rationalist Dissolution.
- Love is not consolation, it is light.
- Religion in so far as it is a source of consolation is a hindrance to true faith; and in this sense atheism is a purification.
- Simone Weil, "Faiths of Meditation; Contemplation of the divine" as translated in The Simone Weil Reader (1957) edited by George A. Panichas, p. 417.