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Thomas Szasz quotes

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence.

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.

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

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

Mental illness, of course, is not literally a 'thing' - or physical object - and hence it can 'exist' only in the same sort of way in which other theoretical concepts exist.

Individual psychotherapy - that is, engaging a distressed fellow human in a disciplined conversation and human relationship - requires that the therapist have the proper temperament and philosophy of life for such work. By that I mean that the therapist must be patient, modest, and a perceptive listener, rather than a talker and advice-giver.

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

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