Dr. Thomas Szasz: The Function of Psychiatry

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The real truth behind The Function of Psychiatry

The Function of Psychiatry

Thomas Stephen Szasz

Thomas Stephen Szasz (/ˈsɑːs/ SAHSS; April 15, 1920 – September 8, 2012)[1] was a psychiatrist and academic, a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a member of the American Psychoanalytic Association, a professor of psychiatry at the State University of New York,[4] and starting in 1990, he was professor emeritus of psychiatry at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse.[5] He was well known as a social critic of the moral and scientific foundations of psychiatry, of what he saw as social control aims of medicine in modern society, and scientism. His books The Myth of Mental Illness (1961) and The Manufacture of Madness (1970) set out some of the arguments most associated with him.

 

Thomas Stephen Szasz > Quotes

“The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.”
“The proverb warns that, ‘You should not bite the hand that feeds you.’ But maybe you should, if it prevents you from feeding yourself.”
“The plague of mankind is the fear and rejection of diversity: monotheism, monarchy, monogamy and, in our age, monomedicine. The belief that there is only one right way to live, only one right way to regulate religious, political, sexual, medical affairs is the root cause of the greatest threat to man: members of his own species, bent on ensuring his salvation, security, and sanity. ”
“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.”
“In the animal kingdom, the rule is, eat or be eaten; in the human kingdom, define or be defined.”
“If you talk to God, you are praying. If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia”
“When a person can no longer laugh at himself, it is time for others to laugh at him..”
“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.”
“In the United States today, there is a pervasive tendency to treat children as adults, and adults as children. The options of children are thus steadily expanded, while those of adults are progressively constricted. The result is unruly children and childish adults. ”
“Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence. ”
“Formerly, when religion was strong and science weak, men mistook magic for medicine; now, when science is strong and religion weak, men mistake medicine for magic. ”
“Parents teach children discipline for two different, indeed diametrically opposed, reasons: to render the child submissive to them and to make him independent of them. Only a self-disciplined person can be obedient; and only such a person can be autonomous.”
“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.”
“Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is.”
“Punishment is now unfashionable… because it creates moral distinctions among men, which, to the democratic mind, are odious. We prefer a meaningless collective guilt to a meaningful individual responsibility.”
“Classifying thoughts, feelings and behaviors as diseases is a logical and semantic error, like classifying whale as fish.”
“Happiness is an imaginary condition, formerly attributed by the living to the dead, now usually attributed by adults to children, and by children to adults.”
“Suicide is a fundamental human right. This does not mean that it is desirable. It only means that society does not have the moral right to interfere, by force, with a persons decision to commit this act. The result is a far-reaching infantilization and dehumanization of the suicidal person.”
“The concept of disease is fast replacing the concept of responsibility. With increasing zeal Americans use and interpret the assertion “I am sick” as equivalent to the assertion “I am not responsible”: Smokers say they are not responsible for smoking, drinkers that they are not responsible for drinking, gamblers that they are not responsible for gambling, and mothers who murder their infants that they are not responsible for killing. To prove their point — and to capitalize on their self-destructive and destructive behavior — smokers, drinkers, gamblers, and insanity acquitees are suing tobacco companies, liquor companies, gambling casinos, and physicians.”
“It taught me, at an early age, that being wrong can be dangerous, but being right, when society regards the majority’s falsehood as truth, could be fatal.”
“Is psychiatry a medical enterprise concerned with treating diseases, or a humanistic enterprise concerned with helping persons with their personal problems? Psychiatry could be one or the other, but it cannot–despite the pretensions and protestations of psichiatrists–be both.”
“Why don’t you have a right to say you are Jesus? And why isn’t the proper response to that “congratulations”?”
“It seems to me that-at least in our scientific theories of behavior-we have failed to accept the simple fact that human relations are inherently fraught with difficulties and that to make them even relatively harmonious requires much patience and hard work.”
“The proverb warnes you”,”dont bite the hand that feeds you,”but maybe you should,”if it prevents you from feeding yourself.”
“Men love liberty because it protects them from control and humiliation from others, and thus affords them the possibility of dignity. They loathe liberty because it throws them back on their own abilities and resources, and thus confronts them with the possibility of insignificance.”
“A child becomes an adult when he realizes that he has a right not only to be right but also to be wrong.”
“Psychiatrists look for twisted molecules and defective genes as the causes of schizophrenia, because schizophrenia is the name of a disease. If Christianity or Communism were called diseases, would they then look for the chemical and genetic “causes” of these “conditions”?”
“The maliciousness of psychiatry is that it promotes itself as a medical discipline, although it is actually only part of the state authority”
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