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Accurate and famous quotes by Thomas Szasz about psychiatry, maturity, madness, happiness, illness. Thomas Szasz is well-known American psychologist with many wise quotes. You can read the best of all time and enjoy Top 10 lists. Share the best Thomas Szasz sayings with your friends and family.


  1. 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.


  2. The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the na?ve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.


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


  4. Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence.




  5. A child becomes an adult when he realizes that he has a right not only to be right but also to be wrong.


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


  7. In the animal kingdom, the rule is, eat or be eaten; in the human kingdom, define or be defined.


  8. Knowledge is gained by learning; trust by doubt; skill by practice; love by love.


  9. He who does not accept and respect those who want to reject life does not truly accept and respect life itself.


  10. There is no psychology; there is only biography and autobiography.


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


  12. Psychiatric expert testimony: mendacity masquerading as medicine.


  13. If the dead talk to you, you are a spiritualist; if God talks to you, you are a schizophrenic.


  14. Some people say they haven't yet found themselves. But the self is not something one finds; it is something one creates.


  15. In the past, men created witches; now they create mental patients.

    • madness

  16. The proverb warns; Don't bite the hand that feeds you. But maybe you should, if it prevents you from feeding yourself.


  17. Happiness is an imaginary condition, formerly attributed by the living to the dead, now usually attributed by adults to children, and by children to adults.


  18. Doubt is to certainty as neurosis is to psychosis. The neurotic is in doubt and has fears about persons and things; the psychotic has convictions and makes claims about them. In short, the neurotic has problems, the psychotic has solutions.


  19. Adulthood is the ever-shrinking period between childhood and old age. It is the apparent aim of modern industrial societies to reduce this period to a minimum.

    • maturity

  20. Addiction, obesity, starvation (anorexia nervosa) are political problems, not psychiatric: each condenses and expresses a contest between the individual and some other person or persons in his environment over the control of the individual's body.


  21. Formerly, when religion was strong and science weak, men mistook magic for medicine; now, when science is strong and religion weak, men mistake medicine for magic.


  22. Happiness is an imaginary condition, formerly often attributed by the living to the dead, now usually attributed by adults to children, and by children to adults.


  23. If you talk to God, you are praying; If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.


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


  25. If he who breaks the law is not punished, he who obeys it is cheated. This, and this alone, is why lawbreakers ought to be punished: to authenticate as good, and to encourage as useful, law-abiding behavior. The aim of criminal law cannot be correction or deterrence; it can only be the maintenance of the legal order.


  26. 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.


  27. The greatest analgesic, soporific, stimulant, tranquilizer, narcotic, and to some extent even antibiotic --in short, the closest thing to a genuine panacea --known to medical science is work.


  28. Involuntary mental hospitalization is like slavery. Refining the standards for commitment is like prettifying the slave plantations. The problem is not how to improve commitment, but how to abolish it.

    • psychiatry

  29. Men are afraid to rock the boat in which they hope to drift safely through life's currents, when, actually, the boat is stuck on a sandbar. They would be better off to rock the boat and try to shake it loose, or, better still, jump in the water and swim for the shore.


  30. We often speak of love when we really should be speaking of the drive to dominate or to master, so as to confirm ourselves as active agents, in control of our own destinies and worthy of respect from others.


  31. The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.


  32. People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something that one finds. It is something one creates.


  33. Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one's self-esteem. That is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance, learn so easily.


  34. 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.

    • society

  35. Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is.


  36. Permissiveness is the principle of treating children as if they were adults; and the tactic of making sure they never reach that stage.


  37. The many faces of intimacy: the Victorians could experience it through correspondence, but not through cohabitation; contemporary men and women can experience it through fornication, but not through friendship.


  38. Men often treat others worse than they treat themselves, but they rarely treat anyone better. It is the height of folly to expect consideration and decency from a person who mistreats himself.


  39. A teacher should have maximal authority, and minimal power.


  40. 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.


  41. Aided and abetted by corrupt analysts, patients who have nothing better to do with their lives often use the psychoanalytic situation to transform insignificant childhood hurts into private shrines at which they worship unceasingly the enormity of the offenses committed against them. This solution is immensely flattering to the patients -- as are all forms of unmerited self-aggrandizement; it is immensely profitable for the analysts -- as are all forms pandering to people's vanity; and it is often immensely unpleasant for nearly everyone else in the patient's life.

    • psychiatry

  42. Psychoanalysis is an attempt to examine a person's self-justifications. Hence it can be undertaken only with the patient's cooperation and can succeed only when the patient has something to gain by abandoning or modifying his system of self-justification.

    • psychiatry

  43. It is easier to do one's duty to others than to one's self. If you do your duty to others, you are considered reliable. If you do your duty to yourself, you are considered selfish.


  44. Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one's self-esteem. That is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance, learn so easily; and why older persons, especially if vain or important, cannot learn at all.


  45. 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.


  46. 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.


  47. Institutional psychiatry is a continuation of the Inquisition. All that has really changed is the vocabulary and the social style. The vocabulary conforms to the intellectual expectations of our age: it is a pseudo-medical jargon that parodies the concepts of science. The social style conforms to the political expectations of our age: it is a pseudo-liberal social movement that parodies the ideals of freedom and rationality.

    • psychiatry


Top 10 quotes by Thomas Szasz

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About Thomas Szasz

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What Thomas Szasz was famous for? Thomas Szasz is famous psychologist with many good quotes. Influential and well recognized psychologist all over the world. Browse a lot of Thomas Szasz books and reference books with quotes from Thomas Szasz on Amazon.

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When was Thomas Szasz birthday? Thomas Szasz was born on April 15, 1920.

Who is Thomas Szasz? Some facts about Thomas Szasz from biography. Thomas Stephen Szasz was an American academic, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. He served for most of his career as professor of psychiatry at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York.... Read more about Thomas Szasz on Wikipedia or watch videos with quotes from Thomas Szasz on YouTube. Browse a lot of books about Thomas Szasz on Amazon to get more reference.

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