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 :: 1920-, American Psychiatrist

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A child becomes an adult when he realizes that he has a right not only to be right but also to be wrong.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Adulthood]

 

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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.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Body]

 

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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.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Adulthood]

 

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Aided and abetted by corrupt analysts, patients who have nothing better to do with their lives often use the psychoanalytic situation to transform insignificant childhood hurts into private shrines at which they worship unceasingly the enormity of the offenses committed against them. This solution is immensely flattering to the patients -- as are all forms of unmerited self-aggrandizement; it is immensely profitable for the analysts -- as are all forms pandering to people's vanity; and it is often immensely unpleasant for nearly everyone else in the patient's life.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Psychoanalysis]

 

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Doubt is to certainty as neurosis is to psychosis. The neurotic is in doubt and has fears about persons and things; the psychotic has convictions and makes claims about them. In short, the neurotic has problems, the psychotic has solutions.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Doubt]

 

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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.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Education]

 

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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.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Happiness]

 

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He who does not accept and respect those who want to reject life does not truly accept and respect life itself.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Suicide]

 

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If he who breaks the law is not punished, he who obeys it is cheated. This, and this alone, is why lawbreakers ought to be punished: to authenticate as good, and to encourage as useful, law-abiding behavior. The aim of criminal law cannot be correction or deterrence; it can only be the maintenance of the legal order.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Punishment]

 

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If the dead talk to you, you are a spiritualist; if God talks to you, you are a schizophrenic.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Madness]

 

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In the animal kingdom, the rule is, eat or be eaten; in the human kingdom, define or be defined.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Definition]

 

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In the past, men created witches; now they create mental patients.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Madness]

 

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Institutional psychiatry is a continuation of the Inquisition. All that has really changed is the vocabulary and the social style. The vocabulary conforms to the intellectual expectations of our age: it is a pseudo-medical jargon that parodies the concepts of science. The social style conforms to the political expectations of our age: it is a pseudo-liberal social movement that parodies the ideals of freedom and rationality.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Psychiatry]

 

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Involuntary mental hospitalization is like slavery. Refining the standards for commitment is like prettifying the slave plantations. The problem is not how to improve commitment, but how to abolish it.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Psychiatry]

 

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It is easier to do one's duty to others than to one's self. If you do your duty to others, you are considered reliable. If you do your duty to yourself, you are considered selfish.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Duty]

 

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Knowledge is gained by learning; trust by doubt; skill by practice; love by love.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Knowledge]

 

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Men are afraid to rock the boat in which they hope to drift safely through life's currents, when, actually, the boat is stuck on a sandbar. They would be better off to rock the boat and try to shake it loose, or, better still, jump in the water and swim for the shore.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Insecurity]

 

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Men often treat others worse than they treat themselves, but they rarely treat anyone better. It is the height of folly to expect consideration and decency from a person who mistreats himself.
~ Thomas Szasz - [People, Other]

 

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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.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Conceit]

 

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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.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Mental Illness]

 

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