” ‘I may as well confess to you that I have never regretted my choice, for, believe me, a doctor, of all people, seldom has a clear conscience. One knows how little one can really do to help; as an individual one can’t cope with the infinite wretchedness that exists all around us in the world. One merely bales a few drops out of the unfathomable ocean of misery with a thimble, and those whom one imagines one has cured today have a new malady tomorrow. One always has a feeling of having been remiss, negligent, and then there are the mistakes, the professional mistakes, that one inevitably makes — and so it’s always good to know that one has saved at least one person, made a good job of one thing. One must know, after all, whether one has lived a dull, useless existence, or lived to some purpose. Believe me’ — and I was suddenly conscious of the warmth and tenderness that seemed to emanate from him ‘it’s worth while taking a hard task upon oneself if thereby one makes life easier for another person.'”

Stefan Zweig, Beware of Pity

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