America is a mistake, a giant mistake.
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America is the most grandiose experiment the world has seen, but, I am afraid, it is not going to be a success.
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The tendency of aggression is an innate, independent, instinctual disposition in man... it constitutes the most powerful obstacle to culture.
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No one who has seen a baby sinking back satiated from the breast and falling asleep with flushed cheeks and a blissful smile can escape the reflection that this picture persists as a prototype of the expression of sexual satisfaction in later life.
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Devout believers are safeguarded in a high degree against the risk of certain neurotic illnesses; their acceptance of the universal neurosis spares them the task of constructing a personal one.
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The act of birth is the first experience of anxiety, and thus the source and prototype of the affect of anxiety.
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The only bodily organ which is really regarded as inferior is the atrophied penis, a girl's clitoris.
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Children are completely egoistic; they feel their needs intensely and strive ruthlessly to satisfy them.
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Civilization is a process in the service of Eros, whose purpose is to combine single human individuals, and after that families, then races, peoples and nations, into one great unity, the unity of mankind. Why this has to happen, we do not know; the work of Eros is precisely this.
View quote | Quotes about Civilization

I have no concern with any economic criticisms of the communist system; I cannot inquire into whether the abolition of private property is expedient or advantageous. But I am able to recognize that the psychological premisses on which the system is based are an untenable illusion. In abolishing private property we deprive the human love of aggression of one of its instruments... but we have in no way altered the differences in power and influence which are misused by aggressiveness.
View quote | Quotes about Communism and Socialism

Conscience is the internal perception of the rejection of a particular wish operating within us.
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The ego is not master in its own house.
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Anatomy is destiny.
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The doctor should be opaque to his patients and, like a mirror, should show them nothing but what is shown to him.
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Woe to you, my Princess, when I come... you shall see who is the stronger, a gentle little girl who doesn't eat enough or a big wild man who has cocaine in his body.
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I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection.
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Flowers are restful to look at. They have neither emotions nor conflicts.
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We know less about the sexual life of little girls than of boys. But we need not feel ashamed of this distinction; after all, the sexual life of adult women is a dark continent for psychology.
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The psychoanalysis of individual human beings, however, teaches us with quite special insistence that the god of each of them is formed in the likeness of his father, that his personal relation to God depends on his relation to his father in the flesh and oscillates and changes along with that relation, and that at bottom God is nothing other than an exalted father.
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One feels inclined to say that the intention that man should be happy is not included in the plan of Creation.
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Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.
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Man has, as it were, become a kind of prosthetic God. When he puts on all his auxiliary organs, he is truly magnificent; but those organs have not grown on him and they still give him much trouble at times.
View quote | Quotes about Humankind

I have found little that is good about human beings on the whole. In my experience most of them are trash, no matter whether they publicly subscribe to this or that ethical doctrine or to none at all. That is something that you cannot say aloud, or perhaps even think.
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The impression forces itself upon one that men measure by false standards, that everyone seeks power, success, riches for himself, and admires others who attain them, while undervaluing the truly precious thing in life.
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A man should not strive to eliminate his complexes, but to get into accord with them; they are legitimately what directs his conduct in the world.
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The liberty of the individual is no gift of civilization. It was greatest before there was any civilization.
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We are never so defenseless against suffering as when we love, never so forlornly unhappy as when we have lost our love object or its love.
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One is very crazy when in love.
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Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.
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Human life in common is only made possible when a majority comes together which is stronger than any separate individual and which remains united against all separate individuals. The power of this community is then set up as right in opposition to the power of the individual, which is condemned as brute force.
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Where id was, there shall ego be.
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The conscious mind may be compared to a fountain playing in the sun and falling back into the great subterranean pool of subconscious from which it rises.
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The mind is like an iceberg, it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water.
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The most complicated achievements of thought are possible without the assistance of consciousness.
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I do not think our successes can compete with those of Lourdes. There are so many more people who believe in the miracles of the Blessed Virgin than in the existence of the unconscious.
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Men are more moral than they think and far more immoral than they can imagine.
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A certain degree of neurosis is of inestimable value as a drive, especially to a psychologist.
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Neurotics complain of their illness, but they make the most of it, and when it comes to talking it away from them they will defend it like a lioness her young.
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We have long observed that every neurosis has the result, and therefore probably the purpose, of forcing the patient out of real life, of alienating him from actuality.
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The expectation that every neurotic phenomenon can be cured may, I suspect, be derived from the layman's belief that the neuroses are something quite unnecessary which have no right whatever to exist. Whereas in fact they are severe, constitutionally fixed illnesses, which rarely restrict themselves to only a few attacks but persist as a rule over long periods throughout life.
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Every normal person, in fact, is only normal on the average. His ego approximates to that of the psychotic in some part or other and to a greater or lesser extent.
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Opposition is not necessarily enmity; it is merely misused and made an occasion for enmity.
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The time comes when each one of us has to give up as illusions the expectations which, in his youth, he pinned upon his fellow-men, and when he may learn how much difficulty and pain has been added to his life by their ill-will.
View quote | Quotes about People, Other

The goal towards which the pleasure principle impels us -- of becoming happy -- is not attainable: yet we may not -- nay, cannot -- give up the efforts to come nearer to realization of it by some means or other.
View quote | Quotes about Pleasure

It would be one of the greatest triumphs of humanity, one of the most tangible liberations from the constraints of nature to which mankind is subject, if we could succeed in raising the responsible act of procreating children to the level of a deliberate and intentional activity and in freeing it from its entanglement with the necessary satisfaction of a natural need.
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By abolishing private property one takes away the human love of aggression.
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It might be said of psychoanalysis that if you give it your little finger it will soon have your whole hand.
View quote | Quotes about Psychiatry

The analytic psychotherapist thus has a threefold battle to wage -- in his own mind against the forces which seek to drag him down from the analytic level; outside the analysis, against opponents who dispute the importance he attaches to the sexual instinctual forces and hinder him from making use of them in his scientific technique; and inside the analysis, against his patients, who at first behave like opponents but later on reveal the overvaluation of sexual life which dominates them, and who try to make him captive to their socially untamed passion.
View quote | Quotes about Psychoanalysis

Analysis does not set out to make pathological reactions impossible, but to give the patient's ego freedom to decide one way or another.
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Our knowledge of the historical worth of certain religious doctrines increases our respect for them, but does not invalidate our proposal that they should cease to be put forward as the reasons for the precepts of civilization. On the contrary! Those historical residues have helped us to view religious teachings, as it were, as neurotic relics, and we may now argue that the time has probably come, as it does in an analytic treatment, for replacing the effects of repression by the results of the rational operation of the intellect.
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What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages they would have burned me. Now they are content with burning my books.
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He that has eyes to see and ears to hear may convince himself that no mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore.
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Look into the depths of your own soul and learn first to know yourself, then you will understand why this illness was bound to come upon you and perhaps you will thenceforth avoid falling ill.
View quote | Quotes about self-discovery

A man who has been the indisputable favorite of his mother keeps for life the feeling of a conqueror.
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We must reckon with the possibility that something in the nature of the sexual instinct itself is unfavorable to the realization of complete satisfaction.
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Sexual love is undoubtedly one of the chief things in life, and the union of mental and bodily satisfaction in the enjoyment of love is one of its culminating peaks. Apart from a few queer fanatics, all the world knows this and conducts its life accordingly; science alone is too delicate to admit it.
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It is always possible to bind together a considerable number of people in love, so long as there are other people left over to receive the manifestations of their aggression.
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If a man has been his mother's undisputed darling he retains throughout life the triumphant feeling, the confidence in success, which not seldom brings actual success along with it.
View quote | Quotes about Sons

We are threatened with suffering from three directions: from our own body, which is doomed to decay and dissolution and which cannot even do without pain and anxiety as warning signals; from the external world, which may rage against us with overwhelming and merciless forces of destruction; and finally from our relations to other men. The suffering which comes from this last source is perhaps more painful than any other.
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From error to error, one discovers the entire truth.
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Just as a cautious businessman avoids investing all his capital in one concern, so wisdom would probably admonish us also not to anticipate all our happiness from one quarter alone.
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The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is What does a woman want?
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Analogies, it is true, decide nothing, but they can make one feel more at home.
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Freud, Sigmund

No biography at present.

63 quotations