Irvin D. Yalom

Irvin D.

American Existentialist Psychiatrist, Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University, Fiction and Nonfiction Author

Author Quotes

A flood for compassion for her and for all his fellow humans who are victims of that freakish twist of evolution that grants self-awareness but not the requisite psychological equipment to deal with the pain of transient existence.

Arthur often reminds us (and himself) that has the power to hide emotion, and fake knowledge; that the whole world gets a clear aspect when we have reason to rejoice and one dark and gloomy when sorrow overwhelms us

Come to believe that the fear of death is always greatest in those who feel that they have not lived their life fully. A good working formula is: the more unlived life, or unrealized potential, the greater one?s death anxiety.

Does a being who requires meaning find meaning in a universe that has no meaning?

Fame, for example, consists of the opinions of others and requires that we must live our life as others wish.

He knew exactly what to do and how to spend his final year. He would live just the way he had lived the previous year - and the year before that and before that. (He loved being a therapist; he loved connecting to others and helping to bring something to life in them.)

A marriage contracted in a debt that is paid for in youth and old age.

As a general rule, the less one's sense of life fulfillment, the greater one's death anxiety.

Consummate your life. Die at the right time.

Dreams are like a delightful mystery that begs to be understood... Dreams are only incidental waste, excreta night of the mind

First, love, hatred and anger now. What attachments are unstable. If you want to flourish and thrive, you need to stabilize your emotions become something immutable, something eternal stability prevail over the desires.

he preferred the path of the Greeks: everything in moderation. Too much of life's show is missed if we never take off our coats and join in the fun. Why rush to the exit door before closing time?

A person of high, rare mental gifts who is forced into a job which is merely useful is like a valuable vase decorated with the most beautiful painting and then used as a kitchen pot.

As long as he denies his own agency, real change is unlikely because his attention will be directed toward changing his environment rather than himself.

Could we foresee it, there are times when children might seem like innocent prisoners condemned not to death but to life and as yet all too unconscious of what their sentence means. Nevertheless every man desires to reach old age?a state of life of which it may be said it is bad today, and every day it will get worse, until the worst of all happens.

Dying loneliest, however, is the occurrence of life. We are not only by others separated, but in addition it also exposes us to an even more frightening kind of loneliness: it is a separation from the world itself.

For four years they had a wonderful relationship secret. (No great secret but wonderful secret because secrecy -and will soon say more onto self was the axis of his personality Dave around from which everything else revolved. Secrecy irritated him, fascinated him, and often cultivated at great personal cost. Many relations, especially relations with both former and the current wife, had warped and broken from its unwillingness to be open or straight about anything.)

He who would be everything cannot be anything.

A sense of life meaning ensues but cannot be deliberately pursued: life meaning is always a derivative phenomenon that materializes when we have transcended ourselves, when we have forgotten ourselves and become absorbed in someone (or something) outside ourselves.

As soon as we are born we begin to die.

Dark, you say? But ask yourself the doctor question: why all the great philosophers are they dark? Ask yourself who are the people satisfied, reassured and happy forever! Let me give you the answer: it is those who have poor eyesight - the populace and children!

Each item of your house harbored memories of which she was the sole owner. She told me that all instruments would be distributed to foreigners who would never know their stories or appreciate like it. And one day, his own death fade, finally, all the rich embedded memories on harpsichord, the cello, flutes, piccolos and in many other instruments. His past would perish along with it? Now she really knew who was also transient, just passing the house, as well as all previous residents. And the house was also temporary and would disappear someday to make way for another in the grounds. The process of giving up their property and moving was a revealing experience for Alice, who had always housed in comfortable and nurturing illusion of a richly furnished and carpeted life. Now she learned that the luxury of worldly possessions had protected the sterility of existence.

Fortified in an elaborate illusion of unlimited power and progress, each of us subscribes, at least until mid-life crisis, the belief that there is an eternal upward achievements spiral, which only depends on our will.

Heidegger makes the distinction between being absorbed in the way things are in the world and being aware that things are in the world. And if you do the latter, you're not so worried about the everyday trivialities of life, for example, petty concerns about secrecy or privacy.

Abraham Lincoln is reputed to have said that if he had eight hours to cut down a tree, he?d spend several of these hours sharpening his ax.

Author Picture
First Name
Irvin D.
Last Name
Birth Date

American Existentialist Psychiatrist, Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University, Fiction and Nonfiction Author