Many authors have voiced their ideas about how human suffering is not only all over the world, but is largely ignored by people who are not affected by it. W.H. Auden's Mussee des Beaux Arts is a prime analysis of this theory of suffering and other people's attitudes toward it. It uses several small models of society and one very in depth analysis of Brueghel's painting Landscape with the Fall of Icarus to make his point that as a whole, mankind is insensitive to the distress of others. .
The author begins by giving examples of different groups of people, some in hope, some in despair, all in indifference to the feelings of others. He says that suffering takes a human position when people are "opening a window or walking dully along"(4) while around them is some great anticipation or crisis. The fact that the people ignore these types of suffering only enhances the despair and bleakness of it all. He says that while the aged are "reverently, passionately waiting for the miraculous birth"(5-6) there are children who do not particularly care "skating on a pond by the edge of the wood." (7-8) While the older people are waiting for the birth of some great entity, or perhaps even a messiah, there are kids elsewhere playing, totally oblivious to these hopes, oblivious and not caring. This is Auden saying that at times ( or all the time) people can be as insensitive as these careless children, walking around with some kind of blissful ignorance while the concerns of others are of no concern to them.
Insensitive children are not the only thing Auden compares people to, as he also makes use of the similarity between humans and stupid animals. He thinks of people as being like dogs "who go on with their doggy life,"(12) despite what is happening to the people around them. For dogs to ignore the problems of humans is only natural as they have no understanding of the motives that drive mankind.