Thomas Szasz
Quotations


A child becomes an adult when he realizes that he has a right not only to be right but also to be wrong.

In the animal kingdom, the rule is, eat or be eaten; in the human kingdom, define or be defined.

When a man says that he is Jesus or Napoleon, or that the Martians are after him, or claims something else that seems outrageous to common sense, he is labeled psychotic and locked up in a madhouse. Freedom of speech is only for normal people.

It is easier to do oneís duty to others than to oneís self. If you do your duty to others, you are considered reliable. If you do your duty to yourself, you are considered selfish.

Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to oneís 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.

Two wrongs donít make a right, but they make a good excuse.

The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naÔve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.

If you talk to God, you are praying; if God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.

Men are afraid to rock the boat in which they hope to drift safely through lifeís 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.

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.

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.

Psychiatric expert testimony: mendacity masquerading as medicine.

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

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.

When a person can no longer laugh at himself, it is time for others to laugh at him.

People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds; it is something one creates.

He who does not accept and respect those who want to reject life does not truly accept and respect life itself.



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