Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Dehumanization

"The psychiatric profession’s most distinguishing feature… the deliberate, systematic dehumanization of man, in the name of mental health." -

"While both humanization and dehumanization are real alternatives [today], only the first is man’s vocation. This vocation is constantly negated, yet it is affirmed by that very negation. It is thwarted by injustice, exploitation, oppression and the violence of the oppressors; it is affirmed by the yearning of the oppressed for freedom and justice, and by their struggle to recover their lost humanity... This, then, is the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well. The oppressors, who oppress, exploit, and rape by virtue of their power, cannot find in this power the strength to liberate either the oppressed or themselves. Only power that springs from the weakness of the oppressed will be sufficiently strong to free both. Any attempt to “soften” the power of the oppressor in deference to the weakness of the oppressed almost always manifests itself in the form of false generosity; indeed, the attempt never goes beyond this. In order to have the continued opportunity to express their “generosity,” the oppressors must perpetuate injustice as well. An unjust social order is the permanent fount of this “generosity,” which is nourished by death, despair, and poverty. This is why the dispensers of false generosity become desperate at the slightest threat to its source." - Paulo Freire

"The first and only principle of sexual ethics: the accuser is always in the wrong." - Theodor W. Adorno, born Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund

"The scapegoat is necessary as a symbol of evil which it is convenient to cast out of the social order and, which, through its very being, confirms the remaining members of the community as good." - Thomas Szasz, fully Thomas Stephen Szasz