Thomas Szasz, fully Thomas Stephen Szasz

Szasz, fully Thomas Stephen Szasz

Hungarian-born American Psychiatrist, Social Critic of the Moral and Scientific Foundations of Psychiatry and Professor at the University of New York Health Center

Author Quotes

It taught me, at an early age, that being wrong can be dangerous, but being right, when society regards the majority?s falsehood as truth, could be fatal.

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.

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

The disease concept of homosexuality?as with the disease concept of all so-called mental illnesses, such as alcoholism, drug addiction, or suicide?conceals the fact that homosexuals are a group of medically stigmatized and socially persecuted individuals. ? Their anguished cries of protest are drowned out by the rhetoric of therapy?just as the rhetoric of salvation drowned out the [cries] of heretics.

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

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.

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

Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence.

In English-speaking countries, the connection between heresy and homosexuality is expressed through the use of a single word to denote both concepts: buggery. ? Webster?s Unabridged Dictionary (Third Edition) defines ?buggery? as ?heresy, sodomy.?

Judaism, and especially Christianity, teach these rules by means of parable and prohibition, example and exhortation, and by every other means available to their representatives.

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.

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.

The episode in Sodom is undoubtedly the earliest account in human history of the entrapment of homosexuals, a strategy widely practiced by the law enforcement agencies of modern Western countries, especially those of the United States. In effect, the men of Sodom were entrapped by two strangers, who in truth were not travelers but angels, that is to say, God?s plain-clothesmen. These agents of the Biblical vice-squad wasted no time punishing the offenders.

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

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

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.

Courage is the willingness to play even when you know the odds are against you.

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

Judges and prosecutors, lawyers and psychiatrists, all protest their passionate desire to know why a person accused of a crime did what he did. But their actions completely belie their words: their efforts are now directed toward letting everyone speak in court but the defendant himself ? especially if he is accused of a political or psychiatric crime.

Not surprisingly, the more aggressively I reminded psychiatrists that individuals incarcerated in mental hospitals are deprived of liberty, the more zealously they insisted that ?mental illnesses are like other illnesses? and that psychiatric institutions are bona fide medical hospitals. The psychiatric establishment?s defense of coercions and excuses thus reinforced my argument about the metaphorical nature of mental illness and importance of the distinction between coerced and consensual psychiatry.

Religious and medical propaganda to the contrary notwithstanding, I hold some simple truths to be self-evident. One of these truths is that just as the dead do not rise from the grave, so drugs do not commit crimes. The dead remain dead. Drugs are inert chemicals that have no effect on human beings who choose not to use them. No one has to smoke cigarettes, and no one has to shoot heroin. People smoke cigarettes because they want to, and they shoot heroin because they want to.

The first fact is that there is no mental illness?. Although mental illness might have been a useful concept in the 19th century, today it is scientifically worthless and socially harmful.

The self is not something that one finds, it is something that one creates

Whenever masses of people, especially educated people, know something- and when what they know is something they greatly fear because they believe it affects virtually everything they do or want to do?.

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.

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Szasz, fully Thomas Stephen Szasz
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Hungarian-born American Psychiatrist, Social Critic of the Moral and Scientific Foundations of Psychiatry and Professor at the University of New York Health Center