Thomas Szasz Quotes Page 2


Best 89 Quotes by Thomas Szasz – Page 2 of 3

“Men love liberty because it protects them from control and humiliation from others, and thus affords them the possibility of dignity. They loathe liberty because it throws them back on their own abilities and resources, and thus confronts them with the possibility of insignificance.”

“Mental illness is a myth, whose function is to disguise and thus render more palatable the bitter pill of moral conflicts in human relations.”

“Narcissist: psychoanalytic term for the person who loves himself more than his analyst; considered to be the manifestation of a dire mental disease whose successful treatment depends on the patient learning to love the analyst more and himself less.”

“No further evidence is needed to show that 'mental illness' is not the name of a biological condition whose nature awaits to be elucidated, but is the name of a concept whose purpose is to obscure the obvious.”

“Parents teach children discipline for two different, indeed diametrically opposed, reasons: to render the child submissive to them and to make him independent of them. Only a self-disciplined person can be obedient; and only such a person can be autonomous.”

“People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates.”

“Psychiatry does not commit human rights abuse. It is a human rights abuse.”

“Psychotherapy is a private, confidential conversation that has nothing to do with illness, medicine, or healing.”

“Punishment is now unfashionable because it creates moral distinctions among men, which, to the democratic mind, are odious. We prefer a meaningless collective guilt to a meaningful individual responsibility.”

“Science can give us power over nature, but it cannot give us power over human nature.”

“Sex is a body-contact sport. It is safe to watch but more fun to play.”

“Statistics show that 66% of clients are cured with psychotherapy; what statistics don't show is that 72% are cured without it.”

“Suicide is a fundamental human right. This does not mean that it is desirable. It only means that society does not have the moral right to interfere, by force, with a persons decision to commit this act. The result is a far-reaching infantilization and dehumanization of the suicidal person.”

“The concept of disease is fast replacing the concept of responsibility. With increasing zeal Americans use and interpret the assertion 'I am sick' as equivalent to the assertion "I am not responsible": Smokers say they are not responsible for smoking, drinkers that they are not responsible for drinking, gamblers that they are not responsible for gambling, and mothers who murder their infants that they are not responsible for killing. To prove their point — and to capitalize on their self-destructive and destructive behavior — smokers, drinkers, gamblers, and insanity acquitees are suing tobacco companies, liquor companies, gambling casinos, and physicians.”

“The language of science — and especially of a science of man — is, necessarily, anti-individualistic, and hence a threat to human freedom and dignity.”

“The less a person knows about the workings of the social institutions in his society, the more he must trust those who wield power in it; and the more he trusts those who wield such power, the more vulnerable he makes himself to becoming their victim.”

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“In our dreams we can have our eggs cooked exactly how we want them, but we can't eat them.”

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“The maliciousness of psychiatry is that it promotes itself as a medical discipline, although it is actually only part of the state authority.”

“The neurotic has problems; the psychotic has solutions.”

“The plague of mankind is the fear and rejection of diversity: monotheism, monarchy, monogamy and, in our age, monomedicine. The belief that there is only one right way to live, only one right way to regulate religious, political, sexual, medical affairs is the root cause of the greatest threat to man: members of his own species, bent on ensuring his salvation, security, and sanity.”

“The poor need jobs and money, not psychoanalysis. The uneducated need knowledge and skills, not psychoanalysis.”

“The proverb warns that you should not bite the hand that feeds you. But maybe you should, if it prevents you from feeding yourself.”

“The system isn't stupid, but the people in it are.”

“There are two kinds of 'disabled' persons: Those who dwell on what they have lost and those who concentrate on what they have left.”

“Two wrongs don't make a right, but they make a good excuse.”

“We achieve active mastery over illness and death by delegating all responsibility for their management to physicians, and by exiling the sick and the dying to hospitals. But hospitals serve the convenience of staff not patients: we cannot be properly ill in a hospital, nor die in one decently; we can do so only among those who love and value us. The result is the institutionalized dehumanization of the ill, characteristic of our age.”

“What people really need and demand from life is not wealth, comfort, or esteem, but games worth playing.”

“When a man says that he is Jesus or Napoleon, or that the Martians are after him, or claims something else that seems outrageous to common sense, he is labeled psychotic and locked up in a madhouse. Freedom of speech is only for normal people.”

“When a person can no longer laugh at himself, it is time for others to laugh at him.”

“Why do children want to grow up? Because they experience their lives as constrained by immaturity and perceive adulthood as a condition of greater freedom and opportunity. But what is there today, in America, that very poor and very rich adolescents want to do but cannot do? Not much: they can do drugs, have sex, make babies, and get money (from their parents, crime, or the State). For such adolescents, adulthood becomes synonymous with responsibility rather than liberty. Is it any surprise that they remain adolescents?”

“Why don't you have a right to say you are Jesus? And why isn't the proper response to that 'congratulations'?”

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“In order to change, people need to become aware of their sensations and the way that their bodies interact with the world around them. Physical self-awareness is the first step in releasing the tyranny of the past.”

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