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Psychology

  • It is easier to study the 'behavior' of rats than people, because rats are smaller and have fewer outside commitments. So modern psychology is mostly about rats

  • A large part of the popularity and persuasiveness of psychology comes from its being a sublimated spiritualism: a secular, ostensibly scientific way of affirming the primacy of 'spirit' over matter.

  • Neurotics, who cause less distress to themselves and their neighbours than those in the other category, are at war with their own natures. Their right hands are in conflict with their left. Psychotics, and it is those who commit purposeless crimes and prefer death to life, are at war with their environment. Right and left hands strike against the womb that carries them.

  • Psychology which explains everything / explains nothing, / and we are still in doubt.

  • ... psychological growth is the great gift and inexorable fact of human life.

  • As anyone who has received or dispensed psychotherapy knows, it's a profession whose mainspring is love. Nearly everyone who visits a therapist has a love disorder of one sort or another, and each has a story to tell — of love lost or denied, love twisted or betrayed, love perverted or shackled to violence. Broken attachments litter the office floors like pick-up sticks. People appear with frayed seams and spilling pockets.

  • A diet counselor once told me that all overweight people are angry with their mothers and channel their frustrations into overeating. So I guess that means all thin people are happy, calm, and have resolved their Oedipal entanglements.

  • Many books in popular psychology are a melange of the author's comments, a dollop of research, and stupefyingly dull transcriptions from interviews.

    • Carol Tavris,
    • "A Remedy But Not a Cure," The New York Times ()
  • ... funny how ready people are to believe that counseling, which even when voluntary takes years to modify garden-variety neuroses, can work wonders in months with resistant patients who hate each other.

  • Within the new self-help books for women, patriarachy and male domination are rarely identified as forces that lead to the oppression, exploitation, and domination of women. Instead, these books suggest that individual relationships between men and women can be changed solely by women making the right choices.

    • Bell Hooks,
    • "on self-recovery," Talking Back ()
  • ... only a thin partition separates the psychically normal from the diseased.

  • The trouble with psychology is that it doesn't take human nature into account.

  • There is one great and universal wish of mankind expressed in all religions, in all art and philosophy, and in all human life: The wish to pass beyond himself as he now is.

  • I once considered writing a book called I'm not OK and you're not OK, and that's OK.

    • Elisabeth Kübler-Ross,
    • "Soul Gifts in Disguise," in Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, eds., Handbook for the Soul ()
  • The art of clinical diagnosis lies in the ability to ask the right questions.