Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Psychology

"Idleness is the parent of all psychology." -

"The most creative job in the world. It involves taste, fashion, decorating, recreation, education, transportation, psychology, cuisine, designing, literature, medicine, handicraft, art, horticulture, economics, government, community relations, pediatrics, geriatrics, entertainment, maintenance, purchasing, direct mail, law, accounting, religion, energy, and management. Anyone who can handle all those has to be somebody special. She is. She’s a homemaker." - United Technologies Corporation NULL

"It is one of the many paradoxes of psychology that the pursuit of happiness defeats its own purpose. We find happiness only when we do not directly seek it. An analogy will make this clear. In listening to music at a concert, we experience pleasurable feelings only so long as our attention is directed towards the music. But if in order to increase our happiness we give all our attention to our subjective feeling of happiness, it vanishes. Nature contrives to make it impossible for anyone to attain happiness by turning into himself." - James Hadfield, fully Captain James Arthur Hadfield

"The Perennial Philosophy... the metaphysic that recognizes a divine reality substantial to the world of things and lives and minds; the psychology that finds in the soul something similar to, or even identical with divine Reality; the ethic that places man's final end in the knowledge of immanent and transcendent Ground of being." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Psychoanalysis has changed American psychology from a diagnostic to a therapeutic science, not because so many patients are cured by the psychoanalytic technique, but because of the new understanding of psychiatric patients it has given us, and the new and different concept of illness and health." -

"We need to get rid of some false meanings that we give to the words eternal and eternity. The psychological idea connected with eternal life cannot be limited to the view that man is changed into another state at death, merely by the act of dying. It would be far more correct to say that it refers, first of all, to some change that man is capable of undergoing now, in this life, and one that is connected with the attainment of unity. The modern term psychology means literally the science of the soul. But in former times there actually existed a science of the soul based upon the idea that man is an imperfect state but capable of reaching a further state... No totality-act is possible; the will is separate from knowledge, the feeling from intellect." - Maurice Nicoll

"The business of psychology is to tell us what actually goes on in the mind. It cannot possibly tell us whether the beliefs are true or false." - Hastings Rashdall

"A vigorous five-mile walk will do more for an unhappy but other wise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world." - Paul Dudley White

"Psychology and psychiatry...not only describe man as selfishly motivated, but implicitly or explicitly teach that he ought to be so." - Donald Campbell

"Our very psychology has been shaken to its foundation. To grasp the meaning of the world today we use a language created to express the world of yesterday. The life of the past seems to us nearer our true nature, but only for the reason that it is nearer our language." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"Matter is less material and the mind less spiritual than is generally supposed. The habitual separation of physics and psychology, mind and matter, is metaphysically indefensible." - Bertrand Russell, fully Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell

"History is taught with little regard to the ecology, the economics, the sociology or psychology - let alone the biology - that are necessary to understand human action. The same is true of all other academic subjects. Yet if we continue to teach physics separately from ethics, or molecular biology without concern for empathy, the chances of a monstrous evolutionary miscarriage are going to increase. To avoid these possibilities, it is imperative to begin thinking about a truly integrative, global education that takes seriously the actual interconnectedness of causes and effects." - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, native form is Csíkszentmihályi Mihály

"There remains a chasm between truth and reality. And the crucial question which confronts us in psychology and other aspects of the science of man is precisely this chasm between what is abstractly true and what is existentially real for the given living person." - Rollo May, fully Rollo Reese May

"A large part of the popularity and persuasiveness of psychology comes from its being a sublimated spiritualism: a secular, ostensibly scientific way of affirming the primacy of “spirit” over matter." - Susan Sontag

"There is no psychology; there is only biography and autobiography." - Thomas Szasz, fully Thomas Stephen Szasz

"It has become a conviction with me that psychology may in the long run do much to change the conception of the fundamental nature of the religious life, which, on the whole, is now too generally made a matter of doctrine. It is too intellectual At the doors of most churches one is met by required beliefs in a particular conception of God, in a speculative theory about the divinity of Christ, definite ideas concerning sin and salvation, the efficacy of ordinances, and the claims of supernatural revelation. What people are really seeking is access to refreshing fountains of life, sources of strength and guidance. They crave association with people and institutions which may convey to them a sense of what is most worthwhile in life and what may furnish impulsion toward real and enduring values. They know pretty well what those values are when allowed to let their own deepest desires express themselves. " -

"Prayer is not a need but an ontological necessity, an act that expresses the very essence of man. Prayer is for human beings, by virtue of our being human. He who has never prayed is not fully human. Ontology, not psychology or sociology, explains prayer." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"Psychoanalysis has changed American psychology from a diagnostic to a therapeutic science, not because so many patients are cured by the psychoanalytic technique, but because of the new understanding of psychiatric patients it has given us, and the new and different concept of illness and health. " - Karl Menninger, fully Karl Augustus Menninger

"There is a close connection between socio-political development, the struggle between social classes and the history of ideologies. In general, intellectual movements closely reflect the trends of economic developments. In communal society, where there are virtually no class divisions, man's productive activities on outlook and culture is less discernible. Account must be taken of the psychology of conflicting classes." - Kwame Nkrumah

"Realizing that our actions, feelings and behaviour are the result of our own images and beliefs gives us the level that psychology has always needed for changing personality." - Maxwell Maltz

"Psychoanalysis arrived to save the human soul in a materialistic era sick with self-consciousness and threatened by loss of belief in immortality and in its public expression, religion. Its greatness resides in having done this in the mind-set of our era, not simply symbolizing the soul exoterically or concretizing it socially as in the past, but attempting to demonstrate it scientifically. But realistic psychology is the death knell of the soul, whose source, nature, and value lie precisely in the abstract, the unfathomable, and the esoteric." - Otto Rank, born Otto Rosenfeld

"The object of psychology is to give us a totally different idea of the things we know best. " - Paul Valéry, fully Ambroise-Paul-Toussaint-Jules Valéry

"The purpose of psychology is to give us a completely different idea of the things we know best." - Paul Valéry, fully Ambroise-Paul-Toussaint-Jules Valéry

"For Posidonius, ouranos, heaven, offers the paradigm for man. The stars teach ethics. The individual who pursues his duties without emotional involvement in them and without the correlative expectation of results, who recognizes honesty as the good and the hallmark of the wise man, and who seeks to honour the higher daimon in himself discovers a fidelity within the soul which is both its overarching oikeiosis and its link to the World-Soul. He sees that the principles of physics can be translated into the laws of psychology from which are derived ethics and the rules of right conduct. Without wavering in his loyalty to the deepest insights of the Stoic tradition, Posidonius exemplified in his own life and thought the ability of the philosopher to penetrate afresh and more precisely the mystery of the kosmos and the less ordered realm in which human beings dwell. His fearlessness of method and the marriage of observation and abstract thought influenced the generations which came immediately after him, and inspired a number of thinkers in the dawn of the European Enlightenment. [paraphrased]" - Posidonius, aka Posidonius of Rhodes or Posidonius of Apameia (meaning "of Poseidon") NULL

"Sexual ecstasy usually arises among dyads, or groups of two, but the ritual ecstasy of primitives emerged within groups generally composed of thirty or more participants. Thanks to psychology and the psychological concerns of Western culture generally, we have a rich language for describing the emotions drawing one person to another--from the most fleeting sexual attraction, to ego-dissolving love, all the way to the destructive force of obsession. What we lack is any way of describing and understanding the love that may exist among dozens of people at a time; and it is this kind of love that is expressed in ecstatic ritual." - Barbara Ehrenreich, born Barbara Alexander

"In the same decade in which writers are discovering the emotional importance of childhood and are unmasking the devastating consequences of the way power is secretly exercised under the disguise of child-rearing, students of psychology are spending four years at the universities learning to regard human beings as machines in order to gain a better understanding of how they function. When we consider how much time and energy is devoted during these best years to wasting the last opportunities of adolescence and to suppressing, by means of the intellectual disciplines, the feelings that emerge with particular force at this age, then it is no wonder that the people who have made this sacrifice victimize their patients and clients in turn, treating them as mere objects of knowledge instead of as autonomous, creative beings. There are some authors of so-called objective, scientific publications in the field of psychology who remind me of the officer in Kafka's Penal Colony in their zeal and their consistent self-destructiveness. In the unsuspecting, trusting attitude of Kafka's convicted prisoner, on the other hand, we can see the students of today who are so eager to believe that the only thing that counts in their four years of study is their academic performance and that human commitment is not required." - Alice Miller, née Rostovski

"I hate crowds and making speeches. I hate facing cameras and having to answer to a crossfire of questions. Why popular fancy should seize upon me, a scientist, dealing in abstract things and happy if left alone, is a manifestation of mass psychology that is beyond me. " - Albert Einstein

"Education by choice, with its marvelous motivating psychology of desire for truth, will make life ever cleaner and happier, more rhythmical and artistic." - Buckminster Fuller, fully Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller

"There will come a time when the proper education of children, by a glorified system of spontaneous education of choice, similar to the Montessori System, will be made possible… Education by choice, with its marvelous motivating psychology of desire for truth, will make life ever cleaner and happier, more rhythmical and artistic." - Buckminster Fuller, fully Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller

"I am embarrassed to admit what drew me to psychology. I didn't want to go to medical school. I was getting good grades in psychology and I was charismatic and people in the psychology department liked me. It was as low a level as that." - Ram Dass, aka Baba Ram Dass, born Richard Alpert

"Human psychology has a near universal tendency to let belief be colored by desire." - Richard Dawkins

"I doubt that religion can survive deep understanding. The shallows are its natural habitat. Cranks and fundamentalists are too often victimized as scapegoats for religion in general. It is only quite recently that Christianity reinvented itself in non-fundamentalist guise, and Islam has yet to do so (see Ibn Warraq's excellent book, Why I am not a Muslim). Moonies and scientologists get a bad press, but they just haven't been around as long as the accepted religions. Theology is a respectable discipline when it studies such subjects as moral philosophy, the psychology of religious belief and, above all, biblical history and literature. Like Bertie Wooster, my knowledge of the Bible is above average. I seem to know Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon almost by heart. I think that the Bible as literature should be a compulsory part of the national curriculum - you can't understand English literature and culture without it. But insofar as theology studies the nature of the divine, it will earn the right to be taken seriously when it provides the slightest, smallest smidgen of a reason for believing in the existence of the divine. Meanwhile, we should devote as much time to studying serious theology as we devote to studying serious fairies and serious unicorns." - Richard Dawkins

"As Robert Coles says, psychology in this instance means a concentration, persistent if not feverish, upon one's thoughts, feelings, wishes, worries, bordering on if not embracing solipsism-the self as the only or main form of reality. To the point where, in the book, we speak of ontological individualism. That is, the self is the only real thing in the world. I am real. All of you are more or less fictitious. I know what I feel but I don't know for sure what you feel." - Robert Bellah, fully Robert Neelly Bellah

"We could talk further about the importance of finding an occupation that both gives you a sense of self-respect and provides the resources to live an autonomous life. We talk in Habits of the Heart, about these issues-how for many Americans, at various levels in the occupational hierarchy, the job somehow doesn't prove adequate in fulfilling one's autonomous self and often becomes a means-an instrument-to the acquisition of those resources which will allow one to live in a private lifestyle that will somehow fulfill this expectation that we will find this unique person-who we really are-and attain self-realization, self-fulfillment, happiness. The terms are several but they all point in the same direction. But when we press the question, "What are the criteria that tell us what happiness is or that define the wants that when they are satisfied will lead to self-realization?", then the confident tones that we have been hearing begin to falter. And instead of any clear notion of any content there is simply the reassertion of "Whatever for you that fulfillment or happiness may be." It is not surprising that Americans turn to psychology as the place that is focused on that inner self." - Robert Bellah, fully Robert Neelly Bellah

"One of the principles of spiritual psychology is that "healing is the application of loving to the parts inside that hurt." If ever there was a way to transform a life of quiet desperation into a life of effective peaceful living, healing inner hurts surely ranks right up there. As you resolve issues, you stand up in who you truly are and find purpose and meaning in sharing your unique contribution. The more issues you resolve, the more you evolve spiritually, the more peaceful and caring you become, and the more you contribute to the evolution of consciousness of the human species. As we say at USM, "Every time one person resolves one issue, all of humanity evolves." Meaning is a natural and automatic by-product of a life filled with acts of love. If you want to live a life filled with meaning, start expressing from your essential loving nature. Start singing your song." - Ron and Mary Hulnick, formally H. Ronald Hulnick and

"The occultist sees in the man of today a being in the full swing of evolution. Man is at the same time a fallen God and a God in the becoming." - Rudolf Steiner, fully Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner

"A mental act is cognitive only in the sense that it takes place in reference to some object, which is said to be known." - Samuel Alexander

"Practical acts are such as, through the medium of our bodily movements, alter the object or its relation to ourselves or to other subjects." - Samuel Alexander

"The difference in the perceiving of a star and a tree is a variation in some intrinsic character which belongs to conation as such." - Samuel Alexander

"By abolishing private property one takes away the human love of aggression." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"In order to be exercised, the intelligence requires to be free to express itself without control by any authority. There must therefore be a domain of pure intellectual research, separate but accessible to all, where no authority intervenes." - Simone Weil

"In a culture where profit has become the true God, self-sacrifice can seem incomprehensible rather than noble." - Starhawk, born Miriam Simos NULL

"Some may find comfort in reflecting that the distinction between an eliminative and an explicative physicalism is unreal." - Willard Quine, fully Willard Van Orman Quine

"For it was not knowledge but unity that she desired, not inscriptions on tablets, nothing that could be written in any language known to men, but intimacy itself, which is knowledge." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"Yet it is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer." - Viktor Frankl, fully Viktor Emil Frankl

"Do not mistake me. Our interest just now is in the life of complete obedience to God, not in amazing revelations of His glory graciously granted only to some. Yet the amazing experiences of the mystics leave a permanent residue, a God-subdued, a God-possessed will. States of consciousness are fluctuating. The vision fades. But holy and listening and alert obedience remains, as the core and kernel of a God-intoxicated life, as the abiding pattern of sober, workaday living. And some are led into the state of complete obedience by this well-nigh passive route, wherein God alone seems to be the actor and we seem to be wholly acted upon. And our wills are melted and dissolved and made pliant, being firmly fixed in Him, and He wills in us. But in contrast to this passive route to complete obedience most people must follow what Jean-Nicholas Grou calls the active way, wherein we must struggle and, like Jacob of old, wrestle with the angel until the morning dawns, the active way wherein the will must be subjected bit by bit, piecemeal and progressively, to the divine Will." - Thomas R. Kelly, fully Thomas Raymond Kelly

"I wanted to scientize myth and mythologize science." - Timothy Leary, fully Timothy Francis Leary

"Practice is exercise of an art, or the application of a science in life, which application is itself an art." - William Hamilton, fully Sir William Hamilton, 9th Baronet

"But petitional prayer is only one department of prayer; and if we take the word in the wider sense as meaning every kind of inward communion or conversation with the power recognized as divine, we can easily see that scientific criticism leaves it untouched. Prayer in this wide sense is the very soul and essence of religion." - William James