"As far as anyone knows, there's never been an animal population that was stable in the absence of predation, famine, or disease."
"Don't get discouraged," Carla said, reaching over and putting a hand on his shoulder. "That's just the history of life for the past few eons. It's not as if it's a law of physics."
—The Eternal Flame by Greg Egan
Cherryl did not answer, then said suddenly, desperately, "Look ... what I don't want is charity."
"Jim must have told you—and it's true—that I never engage in charity."
"Yes, he did ... But what I mean is—"
"I know what you mean."
"But there's no reason why you should have to feel concern for me ... I didn't come here to complain and ... and load another burden on your shoulders. ... That I happen to suffer, doesn't give me a claim on you."
"No, it doesn't. But that you value all the things I value, does."
"You mean ... if you want to talk to me, it's not alms? Not just because you feel sorry for me?"
"I feel terribly sorry for you, Cherryl, and I'd like to help you—not because you suffer, but because you haven't deserved to suffer."
"You mean, you wouldn't be kind to anything weak or whining or rotten aobut me? Only to whatever you see in me that's good?"
—Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
The wizard gets the delight of working in a specialized area—magic—and gets a good look at the foundations of the Universe, the way things really work. It should be stated that there are people who consider the latter more of a curse than a blessing.
—So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane
But I don't need to know the answer. I just recite to myself, over and over, until I can choose sleep:
It all adds up to normality.
—Quarantine by Greg Egan