- Nietzsche on suffering
Here is a quote of Nietzsche, from Russell (History of Western Philosophy, Chapter 25 "Nietzsche"):
Nietzsche's ethic is not one of self-indulgence in any ordinary sense; he believes in Spartan discipline and the capacity to endure as well as inflict pain for important ends. He admires strength of will above all things. "I test the power of a will," he says, "according to the amount of resistance it can offer and the amount of pain and torture it can endure and know how to turn to its own advantage; I do not point to the evil and pain of existence with the finger of reproach, but rather entertain the hope that life may one day become more evil and more full of suffering than it has ever been."
"The discipline of suffering, of great suffering—do you not know that only this discipline has created all enhancements of man so far”? (Beyond Good and Evil 225).
"What makes one heroic? – To approach at the same time one’s highest suffering and one’s highest hope." (The Gay Science, 268)
"If you who adhere to [the religion of pity], have the same attitude toward yourselves that you have toward you fellow men; if you refuse to let your own suffering lie upon you for an hour and if you constantly try to prevent and forestall all possible stress way ahead of time; if you experience suffering and displeasure as evil, hateful, worthy of annihilation, and as a defect of existence, then it is clear that besides your religion of pity you also harbor another religion in your heart that is perhaps the mother of the religion of pity: the religion of comfortableness. How little you know of human happiness, you comfortable and benevolent people, for happiness and unhappiness are sisters and even twins that either grow up together or, as in your case, remain small together." (Gay Science, p. 269–270)
- Epicurus on suffering
Here is a quote from Epicurus's "Letter Menoeceus":
While therefore all pleasure because it is naturally akin to us is good, not all pleasure is worthy of choice, just as all pain is an evil and yet not all pain is to be shunned. It is, however, by measuring one against another, and by looking at the conveniences and inconveniences, teat all these matters must be judged. Sometimes we treat the good as an evil, and the evil, on the contrary, as a good.
We can see that Epicurus also considers that pain can indeed be useful.
So, apart from the fact that Epicureans do not advocate spartian discipline, neither to inflict pain on other people: solely concerning one's individual suffering, what is the difference between Nietzsche and Epicureans view?
The way Nietzsche romanticized and sacralized suffering is as dangerous and harmful as not supported by science. It can prevent people from searching the help they need, or readjust their maladaptive strategies and behaviors.
Lahey, B. B. (2009). Public health significance of neuroticism. American Psychologist, 64(4), 241.
Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of frequent positive affect: Does happiness lead to success?. Psychological bulletin, 131(6), 803.
Ucbasaran, D., Shepherd, D. A., Lockett, A., & Lyon, S. J. (2013). Life after business failure: The process and consequences of business failure for entrepreneurs. Journal of management, 39(1), 163-202.