Thomas Szasz, fully Thomas Stephen Szasz

Thomas
Szasz, fully Thomas Stephen Szasz
1920
2012

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

[Autonomy] is freedom to develop one’s self – to increase one’s knowledge, improve one’s skills, and achieve responsibility for one’s conduct. And it is freedom to lead one’s own life, to choose among alternative courses of action so long as no injury to others results.

[Growing up] is especially difficult to achieve for a child whose parents do not take him seriously; that is, who do not expect proper behavior from him, do not discipline him, and finally, do not respect him enough to tell him the truth.

“To believe your own thought,” observed Emerson, “to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men – that is genius.” But to impose what you believe is true for you upon all men, indeed upon a single individual – that is despotism.

Being considered or labeled mentally disordered – abnormal, crazy, mad, psychotic, sick, it matters not what variant is used – is the most profoundly discrediting classification that can be imposed on a person today. Mental illness casts the “patient” out of our social order just as surely as heresy cast the “witch” out of medieval society. That, indeed, is the very purpose of stigma terms.

Delusion: believe said to be false by someone who does not share it.

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.

In contemporary America [mental health] has come to mean conformity to the demands of society. According to the commonsense definition, mental health is the ability to play the game of social living, and to play it well. Conversely, mental illness is the refusal to play, or the inability to play well.

Keeping another person waiting is a basic tactic for defining him as inferior and oneself as superior.

Mental hospitals are the POW camps of our undeclared and unarticulated civil wars.

Mental illness is a myth, whose function is to disguise and thus render more palatable the bitter pill of moral conflicts in human relations.

The fundamental conflicts in human life are not between competing ideas – one of which is true and the other false, but rather, between those that hold power and use it to oppress others, and those who are oppressed by power and seed to free themselves of it.

The fundamental error of psychiatry is that it regards life as a problem to be solved, instead of as a purpose to be fulfilled.

The plague of mankind is the fear and rejection of diversity: monotheism, monarchy, monogamy and, in our age, mono-medicine. The belief that there is only one right way to live only one right way to regulate religious, political, sexual, medical affairs is the root cause of the greatest threat to man: members of his own species, bent on ensuring his salvation, security, and sanity.

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

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

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.

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

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.

A teacher should have maximal authority, and minimal power.

Author Picture
First Name
Thomas
Last Name
Szasz, fully Thomas Stephen Szasz
Birth Date
1920
Death Date
2012
Bio

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