R. D. Laing, fully Ronald David Laing

R. D.
Laing, fully Ronald David Laing
1927
1989

Scottish Psychologist who wrote extensively on Mental Illness

Author Quotes

Society highly values its normal man. It educates children to lose themselves and to become absurd, and thus to be normal. Normal men have killed perhaps 100,000,000 of their fellow normal men in the last fifty years.

The individual in the ordinary circumstances of living may feel more unreal than real; in a literal sense, more dead than alive; precariously differentiated from the rest of the world, so that his identity and autonomy are always in question.... He may not possess an over-riding sense of personal consistency or cohesiveness. He may feel more insubstantial than substantial, and unable to assume that the stuff he is made of is genuine, good, valuable. And he may feel his self as partially divorced from his body.

We are effectively destroying ourselves by violence masquerading as love. I am a specialist, God help me, in events in inner space and time, in experiences called thoughts, images, reveries, dreams, visions, hallucinations, dreams of memories, memories of dreams, memories of visions, dreams of hallucinations, refractions of refractions of refractions of that original Alpha and Omega of experience and reality, that Reality on whose repression, denial, splitting, projection, falsification, and general desecration and profanation our civilization as much as anything is based.

"My experience of you" is just another form of words for "you-as-l-experience-you", and "your experience of me" equals "me-as-you-experience-me". Your experience of me is not inside you and my experience of you is not inside me, but your experience of me is invisible to me and my experience of you is invisible to you.

Although innumerable beings have been led to Nirvana no being has been led to Nirvana.

Before one goes through the gate one may not be aware there is a gate. One may think there is a gate to go through and look a long time for it without finding it. One may find it and it may not open If it opens one may be through it. As one goes through it one sees that the gate one went through was the self that went through it no one went through a gate there was no gate to go through no one ever found a gate no one ever realized there was never a gate.

Even facts become fictions without adequate ways of seeing "the facts". We do not need theories so much as the experience that is the source of the theory. We are not satisfied with faith, in the sense of an implausible hypothesis irrationally held: we demand to experience the "evidence". We can see other people's behavior, but not their experience. This has led some people to insist that psychology has nothing to do with the other person's experience, but only with his behavior. The other person's behavior is an experience of mine. My behavior is an experience of the other. The task of social phenomenology is to relate my experience of the other's behavior to the other's experience of my behavior. Its study is the relation between experience and experience: its true field is inter-experience.

Existential phenomenology attempts to characterize the nature of a person's experience of his world and himself. It is not so much an attempt to describe particular objects of his experience as to set all particular experiences within the context of his whole being-in-his-world. The mad things said and done by the schizophrenic will remain essentially a closed book if one does not understand their existential context. In describing one way of going mad, I shall try to show that there is a comprehensible transition from the sane schizoid way of being-in-the-world to a psychotic way of being-in-the-world.Although retaining the terms schizoid and schizophrenic for the sane and psychotic positions respectively, I shall not, of course, be using these terms in their usual clinical psychiatric frame of reference, but phenomenologically and existentially.

Few books today are forgivable. Black on canvas, silence on the screen, an empty white sheet of paper are perhaps feasible. There is little conjunction of truth and social "reality". Around us are pseudo-events, to which we adjust with a false consciousness adapted to see these events as true and real, and even as beautiful. In the society of men the truth resides now less in what things are than in what they are not. Our social realities are so ugly if seen in the light of exiled truth, and beauty is almost no longer possible if it is not a lie. What is to be done? We who are still half alive, living in the often fibrillating heartland of a senescent capitalism ? can we do more than reflect the decay around and within us? Can we do more than sing our sad and bitter songs of disillusion and defeat? The requirement of the present, the failure of the past, is the same: to provide a thoroughly self-conscious and self-critical human account of man.

Humanity is estranged from its authentic possibilities. This basic vision prevents us from taking any unequivocal view of the sanity of common sense, or of the madness of the so-called madman. ? Our alientation goes to the roots. The realisation of this is the essential springboard for any serious reflection on any aspect of present inter-human life.

I am doing it the it I am doing is the I that is doing it the I that is doing it is the it I am doing it is doing the I that am doing it I am being done by the it I am doing it is doing it.

I cannot experience your experience. You cannot experience my experience. We are both invisible men. All men are invisible to one another. Experience used to be called The Soul. Experience as invisibility of man to man is at the same time more evident than anything. Only experience is evident. Experience is the only evidence. Psychology is the logos of experience. Psychology is the structure of the evidence, and hence psychology is the science of sciences.

I see you, and you see me. I experience you, and you experience me. I see your behavior. You see my behavior. But I do not and never have and never will see your experience of me. Just as you cannot "see" my experience of you. My experience of you is not "inside" me. It is simply you, as I experience you. And I do not experience you as inside me. Similarly, I take it that you do not experience me as inside you.

I'm ridiculous to feel ridiculous when I'm not. You must be laughing at me for feeling you are laughing at me if you are not laughing at me.

Long before a thermonuclear war can come about, we have had to lay waste our own sanity. We begin with the children. It is imperative to catch them in time. Without the most thorough and rapid brainwashing their dirty minds would see through our dirty tricks. Children are not yet fools, but we shall turn them into imbeciles like ourselves, with high I.Q.s if possible. From the moment of birth, when the Stone Age baby confronts the twentieth-century mother, the baby is subjected to these forces of violence, called love, as its mother and father, and their parents and their parents before them, have been. These forces are mainly concerned with destroying most of its potentialities, and on the whole this enterprise is successful.

Social phenomenology is the science of my own and of others' experience. It is concerned with the relation between my experience of you and your experience of me. That is, with inter-experience. It is concerned with your behavior and my behavioras I experience it, and your and my behavior as you experience it.

We have to realize that we are as deeply afraid to live and to love as we are to die.

Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be breakthrough.

Whether life is worth living depends on whether there is love in life.

What we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And when we fail to notice that we have failed to notice there's nothing we can do to change. Until we notice that failing to notice is what forms our thoughts and our deeds.

When family relations are no longer harmonious, we have filial children and devoted parents.

What we call

We are bemused and crazed creatures, strangers to our true selves, to one another, and to the spiritual and material world -- mad, even, from an ideal standpoint we can glimpse but not adopt

We live in a moment of history where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when it is already disappearing.

We are all murderers and prostitutes - no matter to what culture, society, class, nation one belongs, no matter how normal, moral, or mature, one takes oneself to be.

Author Picture
First Name
R. D.
Last Name
Laing, fully Ronald David Laing
Birth Date
1927
Death Date
1989
Bio

Scottish Psychologist who wrote extensively on Mental Illness