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 :: 1920-, American Psychiatrist

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Some people say they haven't yet found themselves. But the self is not something one finds; it is something one creates.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Self-discovery]

 

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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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The system isn't stupid, but the people in it are.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Systems]

 

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Permissiveness is the principle of treating children as if they were adults; and the tactic of making sure they never reach that stage.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Upbringing]

 

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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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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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Psychiatric expert testimony: mendacity masquerading as medicine.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Psychiatry]

 

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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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Psychoanalysis is an attempt to examine a person's self-justifications. Hence it can be undertaken only with the patient's cooperation and can succeed only when the patient has something to gain by abandoning or modifying his system of self-justification.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Psychoanalysis]

 

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There is no psychology; there is only biography and autobiography.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Psychology]

 

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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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When a person can no longer laugh at himself, it is time for others to laugh at him.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Ridicule]

 

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The many faces of intimacy: the Victorians could experience it through correspondence, but not through cohabitation; contemporary men and women can experience it through fornication, but not through friendship.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Intimacy]

 

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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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We often speak of love when we really should be speaking of the drive to dominate or to master, so as to confirm ourselves as active agents, in control of our own destinies and worthy of respect from others.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Love]

 

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

 

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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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The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the nanve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.
~ Thomas Szasz - [Forgiveness]

 

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