Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Sigmund Freud

1856 – 1939 CE

Dismissed and laughed at because of his more outlandish theories, it’s too easy to overlook Freud’s many deep insights. Founder of psychoanalysis and inspiration/influence for many of the important psychologists who came after him including Jung, Adler, Erich Fromm, Wilhelm Reich, and Fritz Perls; he developed many techniques and understandings for treating mental illness—ideas like free association, transference, the Oedipus complex, repression, libido, a theory of the unconscious, and an id-ego-super-ego psychic structure. Fromm—though critical in many ways—described Freud (along with Marx, and Einstein) as an "architect of the modern age,” believed he permanently changed the way we understand human nature, but thought psychoanalysis quickly became corrupted. Although such a famous name today, during his lifetime Freud shared some of the obscurity common to most history-changing people. His influential book, The Interpretation of Dreams (1900) only sold 351 copies during the first 6 years after publication.

Eras

Unlisted Sources

An Outline of Psychoanalysis (1940)

Civilization and It's Discontents (1930)

Civilization and its Discontents, 1930

Group Psychology (1921)

Group Psychology and the analysis of the Ego (1921)

Letter to Frenczi (1911)

Letter to Marie Bonapart (1926)

Moses and Monotheism

Moses and Monotheism (1939)

New Introductory Lectures in Psychoanalysis (1933)

The Future of an Illusion

The Future of Illusion (1927)

The Interpretation of Dreams (1900)

The Taboo of Virginity (1917)

Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex (1910)

Wit and its Relation to the Unconscious, 1905

Quotes by Sigmund Freud (61 quotes)

“Dreams show a special tendency to reduce two opposites to a unity or to represent them as one thing.”

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“From error to error one discovers the entire truth.”

Themes: Mistakes

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“Love and work... work and love, that's all there is.”

Themes: Livelihood Love

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“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection.”

Themes: Family

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“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.”

Themes: Fear Freedom

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“The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind.”

Themes: Dream

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“The mind is like an iceberg, it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water.”

Themes: Mind

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“Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy.”

Themes: Crazy Wisdom

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“We choose not randomly each other. We meet only those who already exists in our subconscious.”

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“Love is a state of temporary psychosis.”

Themes: Sex

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“Neurosis is the inability to tolerate ambiguity.”

Themes: Paradox

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“Words have a magical power capable of arousing the strongest emotions and prompting all men's actions. They can bring either the greatest happiness or deepest despair.”

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“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.”

Themes: Perseverance

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“We are what we are because we have been what we have been.”

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“The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer in spite of my 30 years of research into the feminine soul, is 'What do women want.'”

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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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“Education has to steer its way between the Scylla of giving the instincts free play and the Charybdis of frustrating them... bringing up children is playing a game with them.”

Themes: Education

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“The dream is an inexhaustible source of spiritual information about yourself.”

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“[The child's] great task is freeing himself from the parents... only after this detachment is accomplished can he cease to be a child and so become a member of the social community.”

Themes: Family Progress

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“Science is no illusion. But it would be an illusion to think that we can get elsewhere what science cannot give.”

Themes: Illusion Science

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“The unconscious need for punishment plays a part in every neurotic disease.”

Themes: Punishment

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“At bottom, God is nothing more than an exalted father.”

from The Future of an Illusion

Themes: God

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“Man, too, is an animal with an unmistakable bisexual disposition... the characteristics of what is male and female can only be demonstrated in anatomy, and not in psychology.”

from Civilization and its Discontents, 1930

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“Once the apostle Paul laid down universal love between all men as the foundation of his Christian community, the inevitable consequence in Christianity was the utmost intolerance towards all who remained outside of it.”

from Civilization and its Discontents, 1930

Themes: Christianity

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“To command us to love our neighbors as ourselves... is impossible to fulfill; such an enormous inflation of love can only lower its value and not remedy the evil. Civilization pays no heed to this.”

from Civilization and its Discontents, 1930

Themes: Golden Rule

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“[Dostoevsky’s wife] had noticed that the one thing which offered any real hope of salvation—his literary production—never went better than when they had lost everything.... When his sense of guilt was satisfied by the punishments he had inflicted on himself, the inhibition on his work became less severe.”

Themes: Punishment

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“Man should not strive to eliminate his complexes, but to get in accord with them; they are legitimately what directs his contact in the world.”

Themes: Health

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“No matter how much restriction civilization imposes on the individual, he nevertheless finds some way to circumvent it.”

from Wit and its Relation to the Unconscious, 1905

Themes: Revolution

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“Wit is the best safety valve modern man has evolved; the more civilization, the more repression, the more need there is for wit.”

from Wit and its Relation to the Unconscious, 1905

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“Men measure by false standards: everyone seeks power, success, riches for himself and admires others who attain them, while under-valuing the truly precious things in life.”

from Civilization and its Discontents, 1930​

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“Sublimation of instinct is an especially conspicuous feature of cultural evolution… civilization is built up on renunciation of instinctual gratifications… This ‘cultural privation’ dominates the whole field of social relations and is the cause of the antagonism against which all civilization has to fight.”

from Civilization and its Discontents, 1930

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“The tendency to aggression is an innate, independent, instinctual disposition in man. The most powerful obstacle to culture, civilized society is perpetually menaced with disintegration through this primary hostility of men towards one another”

from Civilization and its Discontents, 1930​

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Hatred for Judaism is at bottom hatred for Christianity.”

from Moses and Monotheism

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“The judgements of value made by mankind are attempts to prop up their illusions with arguments.”

from Civilization and its Discontents, 1930​

Themes: Illusion

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“The derivation of a need for religion from the child's feeling of helplessness and the longing it evokes for a father seems to me incontrovertible”

from Civilization and its Discontents, 1930​

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“Civilization began the first time an angry person cast a word instead of a rock.”

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“Just as no one can be forced into belief, so no one can be forced into unbelief.”

from The Future of Illusion (1927)

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“[Nietzsche] had more penetrating knowledge of himself than any other man who ever lived or ever was likely to live.”

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“How this Sarah can act, after the first words uttered in an intimate, endearing voice, I felt I had known her all my life.”

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“The derivation of a need for religion from the child's feeling of helplessness and the longing it evokes for a father seems to me incontrovertible... [and] kept alive perpetually by the fear of what the superior power of fate will bring.”

from Civilization and It's Discontents (1930)

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“men measure by false standards—the everyone seeks power, success, riches for himself and admires others who attain them—while undervaluing the truly precious things in life”

from Civilization and It's Discontents (1930)

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“Voluntary loneliness—isolation from others—is the readiest safeguard against the unhappiness that may arise out of human relations.”

from Civilization and It's Discontents (1930)

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“Women represent the interests of the family and sexual life; the work of civilization has become more and more men's business; it confronts them with ever harder tasks, compels them to sublimations of instinct that women are not easily able to achieve.”

from Civilization and It's Discontents (1930)

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“The goal toward which the pleasure principle impels us—of becoming happy—is not attainable; yet we may not—nay cannot—give up the effort to come nearer to realization of it by some means or other.”

from Civilization and It's Discontents (1930)

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“Nothing can be brought to an end in the unconscious; nothing is past or forgotten.”

from The Interpretation of Dreams (1900)

Themes: Memory Forget

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“love alone acts as the civilizing factor in the sense that it brings a change from egoism to altruism.”

from Group Psychology and the analysis of the Ego (1921)

Themes: Kindness

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“A group is extraordinarily credulous and open to influence. It has no critical faculty... It respects force and can only be slightly influence by kindness... It wants to be ruled and oppressed and to fear its masters. Fundamentally it is entirely conservative and it has a deep aversion to all innovations”

from Group Psychology and the analysis of the Ego (1921)

Themes: Conformity

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“The pre-eminence given to intellectual labors throughout 2000 years in the life of the Jewish people has, of course, had its effect. It has helped to check the brutality and the tendency to violence”

from Moses and Monotheism (1939)

Themes: Judaism

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“An innate, independent, instinctual disposition, aggression constitutes the most powerful obstacle to culture.”

Themes: Aggression

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“The claims our civilization makes that life is too hard for the grater part of humanity furthers aversion to reality and becomes the origin of neurosis.”

from New Introductory Lectures in Psychoanalysis (1933)

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“They complain of their illness, but they make the most of it, and when it comes to taking it away from them, they will defend it like a lioness her young.”

from An Outline of Psychoanalysis (1940)

Themes: Medicine

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“It is easy, as we can see, for a barbarian to be healthy; for a civilized man, the task is a hard one.”

from An Outline of Psychoanalysis (1940)

Themes: Health

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“If you would endure life, be prepared for death.”

from An Outline of Psychoanalysis (1940)

Themes: Death and Dying

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“Jesus could have been an ordinary, deluded creature.”

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“In human beings, there is no such thing as pure masculinity or femininity, either in the psychological or the biological sense.”

from Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex (1910)

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“A man should not try to eliminate his complexes but to get into accord with them; they are legitimately what directs his conduct in the world.”

from Letter to Frenczi (1911)

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“In human beings there is no such thing as pure masculinity or femininity either in the psychological or the biological sense.”

from Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex (1910)

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“The moment a man questions the meaning and value of life, he is sick, since objectively neither has any existence. [It is] a kind of fermentation leading to sadness and depression.”

from Letter to Marie Bonapart (1926)

Themes: Meaningfulness

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“when individuals come together in a group, all their individual inhibitions fall away and all the cruel, brutal, and destructive instincts which lie dormant in individuals as relics of a primitive epoch, are stirred up”

from Group Psychology (1921)

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“the act of defloration has not merely the socially useful result of binding the woman closely to the man; it also liberates an archaic reaction of enmity towards the man... to which one may ascribe the fact that second marriages so often turn out better than first.”

from The Taboo of Virginity (1917)

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“The theory of instincts is so to say our mythology.”

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Quotes about Sigmund Freud (8 quotes)

“Freud was emotionally involved in his sexual theory to an extraordinary degree... Sexuality evidently meant more to Freud that to other people. For him it was something to be religiously observed... He was blind toward the paradox and ambiguity of the contents of the unconscious... I see him as a tragic figure; for he was a great man, and what is more, a man in the grip of his daimon... his work had obviously brought him so little that was pleasurable and satisfactory that he took a sour view of the world.”

Carl Jung 1875 – 1961 CE
Insightful shamanistic scientist
from Memories, Dreams, Reflections

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“I laughed at Freud's dream theories as soon as I read them. His resort to symbolism in interpreting dreams seemed to me merely the bizarre and unconvincing feat of a diseased imagination. I felt that he had exaggerated sex, and had underrated economic troubles in generating neuroses”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons
from Fallen Leaves

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“I hold that we shall one day recognize in Freud’s life-work the cornerstone for the building of a new anthropology and therewith of a new structure, to which many stones are being brought up today, which shall be the future dwelling of a wiser and freer humanity.”

Thomas Mann 1875 – 1955 CE
Deep, psychologically insightful author
from Freud and the Future (1937)​

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“These experiences are not described by Freud the dispassionate scientist, they are made possible by Freud the mythic dreamer.”

James P. Carse 1932 – 2020 CE
Thought-proving, influential, deep thinker
from Finite and Infinite Games

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“Freud's fanciful pseudo-explanations (precisely because they are brilliant) perform a disservice. (Now any ass has these pictures available to use in 'explaining' symptoms of an illness.)”

Ludwig Wittgenstein 1889 – 1951 CE
One of the world's most famous philosophers

Themes: Health

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“Surely the one and only great poet the psychoanalysts have had was Freud himself; he had a little ear trouble of his own, no doubt, but who in his right mind could deny that an epic poet was at work?”

J. D. Salinger 1919 – 2010 CE via Seymour—An Introduction
from Raise High the Roof Beams, Seymour an Introduction

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“Freud's greatest achievement probably consisted in taking neurotic patients seriously and entering into their peculiar individual psychology... For us, then young psychiatrists, it was a source of illumination, while for our older colleagues it was an object of mockery. Like an Old Testament prophet, he undertook to overthrow false gods, to rip the veils away from a mass of dishonesties and hypocrisies, mercilessly exposing the rottenness of contemporary psyche... By evaluating dreams, he gave back to mankind a tool that had seemed irretrievably lost... I became an open partisan of Freud's and fought for him.”

Carl Jung 1875 – 1961 CE
Insightful shamanistic scientist
from Memories, Dreams, Reflections

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“The Freudian theory is one of the most important foundation stones for an edifice to be built by future generations, the dwelling of a freer and wiser humanity.”

Anonymous 1
Freedom from the narrow boxes defined by personal history
from New York Times

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Comments (1)

  1. Shan Dao
    Shan Dao 6 years ago
    W. H. Auden's described Freud's influence on the modern world as "a whole climate of opinion / under whom we conduct our different lives."