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Quotations about Psychology



A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother. ~Author unknown, quoted from The American Legion, 2002


But I don't want to be a subconsciousness! I want to be myself... ~Ronald A. Knox, Other Eyes Than Ours, 1926


Why waste money on psychotherapy when you can listen to the B Minor Mass? ~Michael Torke, michaeltorke.com


...psycho-analysis — that is... confession without absolution. ~G. K. Chesterton


The hypothalamus is one of the most important parts of the brain, involved in many kinds of motivation, among other functions. The hypothalamus controls the "Four F's": fighting, fleeing, feeding, and mating. ~Marvin Dunnette


There is no psychology; there is only biography and autobiography. ~Thomas Szasz


Let the credulous and the vulgar continue to believe that all mental woes can be cured by a daily application of old Greek myths to their private parts. ~Vladimir Nabokov


Psychology has once again proved itself the doofus of the sciences. ~Big Bang Theory, "The Intimacy Acceleration," written by Steven Molaro, Jim Reynolds, and Steve Holland [S8, E16, 2015, Sheldon]


A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White, M.D., unverified


The reflex is physiology below the collar button. Psychology is physiology above the collar button. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)


I grant that Freud was one of the most ingenious men who ever lived, but I have no more use for his system than I have for Paley's watch — a metaphor for the universe, wound up in the beginning, then ticking away for billions of years. ~Saul Bellow, The Actual, 1997


Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering. ~Carl Jung (1875–1961)


But how I analyze myself... I hate people who go probing around in their own minds, bringing the results of their excavations to be examined by their bored friends. Don't bother about me, Rose. I'll get through some way. Probably by letting the gods do it for me. ~Dorothy Thompson, letter to Rose Wilder Lane, 1921, edited by William V. Holtz


I was discovering that if you just set people in motion, they'll heal themselves. ~Gabrielle Roth


What have we here? A human mind, turned wrong side out. If we only knew the meaning of it — how a psychiatrist would love it! Everything means something, something means anything, everything means anything — all that sort of thing. ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, Tammy Out of Time, 1958


Anger turned inward is depression. Anger turned sideways is Hawkeye. ~M*A*S*H, "Dear Sigmund," 1976, written by Alan Alda  [S5, E7, Sidney Freedman —tg]


They say a psychiatrist is a fellow who asks you a lot of expensive questions your wife asks for nothing. ~Joey Adams  [Fun trivia: Alienist is an old term for a psychiatrist or psychologist. It was in use from the mid-1800s until the mid-1900s. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


      It is generally admitted that the human mind was first discovered about four years ago by a brilliant writer in one of the Sunday journals. His article "Have We a Subconscious Ego?" was immediately followed by a striking discussion under the title "Are We Top Side Up?" This brought forth a whole series of popular articles and books under such titles as Willing and Being, How to Think, Existence as a Mode of Thought, The Super Self, and such special technical studies as The Mentality of the Hen and the Thought Process of the Potato.
      This movement, once started, has spread in every direction. All our best magazines are now full of mind. In every direction one sees references to psychoanalysis, auto-suggestion, hypnosis, hypnoosis, psychiatry, inebriety, and things never thought of a little while ago. Will power is being openly sold by correspondence at about fifty cents a kilowatt. College professors of psychology are wearing overcoats lined with fur, and riding in little coupé cars like doctors. The poor are studying the psychology of wealth, and the rich are studying the psychology of poverty.
      Everybody's mind is now analyzed. People who used to be content with the humblest of plain thinking, or with none at all, now resolve themselves into "reflexes" and "complexes" and "impulses." Some of our brightest people are kleptomaniacs, paranoiacs, agoraphobists, and dolomites. A lot of our best friends turn out to be subnormal and not worth knowing... A lot of our criminals turn out not to be criminals at all, but merely to have a reaction for another person's money. ~Stephen Leacock, "The Human Mind Up To Date — The Mind Wave," The Garden of Folly, 1924


There are cases where psychoanalysis works worse than any other method. But who has ever claimed that psychoanalysis should be used always and everywhere? ~C. G. Jung


There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. ~Ben Williams


Becoming conscious is of course a sacrilege against nature; it is as if you had robbed the unconscious of something. So when the spirit comes forth bringing something out of the eternal structure of the world, then the spirit itself, being that piece of the world which now enters visibility, is wounded. The spirit is the wound and the message. ~C. G. Jung, 1936, from the Nietzsche's Zarathustra seminar


Neurosis is no worse than a bad cold; you ache all over, and it's made you a mess, but you won't die from it. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963


Dost thou not, then, Prometheus, know this proverb, that "Words are the physicians of a mind diseased"? ~Aeschylus


Anybody who is 25 or 30 years old has physical scars from all sorts of things, from tuberculosis to polio. It's the same with the mind. ~Moses Ralph Kaufman (1900–1977), unverified


If anatomy presupposes a corpse, then psychology presupposes a world of corpses. Personalities, which means personal criticism and analysis, presupposes a whole world-laboratory of human psyches waiting to be vivisected. If you cut a thing up, of course it will smell. Hence, nothing raises such an infernal stink, at last, as human psychology. ~D. H. Lawrence, St. Mawr, 1925


There are now electrical appliances with the main unit so sealed in that it cannot be got at for repair. There have always been human beings like that. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963


I need one of those baby monitors for my subconscious to my consciousness so I can know what the hell I'm really thinking about. ~Steven Wright


Sure you can psychoanalyze! But as Baehr used to say, why bother to sort garbage? ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)


Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism. We must beware of thinking of good and evil as absolute opposites. ~C. G. Jung


Perception is a clash of mind and eye, the eye believing what it sees, the mind seeing what it believes. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Psychiatry is at present a significantly descriptive and classificatory science which is still more somatically than psychologically oriented, and which lacks possibilities for explaining observed phenomena. But psychoanalysis is not in opposition to psychiatry, as one might be led to believe by the almost unanimous behaviour of psychiatrists. ~Sigmund Freud


Psychology doesn't address the soul — that's something else — but, this is a start. ~The Sopranos, "The Sopranos," 1999, written by David Chase  [S1, E1, Carmela Soprano —tg]


His perversion ran like a red thread through his entire mental organization.... unlimited indulgence and absence of responsibility are competent to make sexual monsters out of mere voluptuaries. ~E.C. Spitzka, "The Whitechapel Murders: Their Medico-Legal and Historical Aspects" (remarks made in discussing Mr. Austin Abbott's paper on the same subject before the Society of Medical Jurisprudence, New York), in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, December 1888


It seems a pity that Psychology should have destroyed all our knowledge of human nature. It is a natural enough catastrophe; for the very act of changing it from a matter of common sense to a matter of scientific enquiry, labelled and separated as a science, involves a change which nobody has adequately noted. It is simply the change from looking at a thing from the inside to looking at it from the outside. If psychology is a thing like geology or biology or conchology or ornithology, it tends to be approached in the same external way as these other sciences. The geologist had the duty of splitting the rocks or digging up the fossils; but nobody supposed that the geologist felt like a fossil, or could give us any notion of what a rock would feel like, if it felt anything at all. Now that the psychologist has been given the exclusive duty of splitting the skull and gigging up the subconsciousness, he naturally tends to think of that subconscious stratification as something as sealed up and secret as the deepest stratification of the rocks. In a sense, this science is the opposite of every other sort of science; for it does not teach us that we may know what we did not know, but rather, if anything, that we do not know what we thought we did know. ~G. K. Chesterton


A neurotic is the man who builds a castle in the air. A psychotic is the man who lives in it. And a psychiatrist is the man who collects the rent. ~Lord Robert Webb-Johnstone, as quoted in Maurice B. Strauss, Familiar Medical Quotations, 1968


To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream. ~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, 1963  [depression —tg]


The purpose of psychology is to give us wholly novel ideas about the things that we know best... To build up a "not-I" out of the "I" and to relate the whole of this "not-I" to an "I." ~Paul Valéry, translated by Stuart Gilbert


...the new life of psychiatry is with us... ~Sigmund Freud, 1907


A technique we practice at our cost, psychoanalysis degrades our risks, our dangers, our depths; it strips us of our impurities, of all that made us curious about ourselves. ~E. M. Cioran, translated by Richard Howard


I swear, gentlemen, that to be too conscious is an illness — a real thoroughgoing illness. ~Fyodor Dostoyevsky


Why do we pay for psychotherapy when massages cost half as much? ~Jason Love


Idleness is the beginning of all psychology. What? Could it be that psychology is — a vice? ~Friedrich Nietzsche  ["Idleness is the beginning of all vices." ~German proverb —tg]


Psychoanalysis can provide a theory of "progress," but only by viewing history as a neurosis. ~Norman O. Brown, Life Against Death


This psychiatry [$%!t], apparently what you're feeling is not what you're feeling and what you're not feeling is your real agenda. ~Frank Renzulli, The Sopranos, "Pax Soprana," original airdate 14 February 1999, spoken by the character Tony Soprano


Activity is good, almost without reservation, for the body and the soul. A lot of what passes for depression these days is nothing more than a body saying that it needs work. ~Geoffrey Norman, in Esquire, 1979


I shall go down and be very kind to everyone. Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression. ~Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle, 1948





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