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R.D. Laing Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by R.D. Laing.

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R.D. Laing Quotes 1156038

Schizophrenia is a successful attempt not to adapt to pseudo- social realities. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1932731

We are all in a post-hypnotic trance induced in early infancy. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1022965

Perfection is something we should all strive for. It's a duty and a joy to perfect one's nature ... The most difficult thing is love. A loveless, driving person that just competes in the rat race is far from perfection in my book. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1813109

Life is a sexually transmitted disease and the mortality rate is one hundred percent. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1224171

Insanity
a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1914558

If you had actually screwed me it would have wrecked everything. It
would have convinced me that you were only interested in pleasure with
my animal body and that you didn't really care about the part that was
a person. It would have meant that you were using me like a woman
when I really wasn't one and needed a lot of help to grow into one. It
would have meant you could only see my body and couldn't see the real
me which was still a little girl. The real me would have been up on the
ceiling watching you do things with my body. You would have seemed
content to let the real me die. When you feed a girl, you make her feel
that both her body and her self are wanted. This helps her get joined
together. When you screw her she can feel that her body is separate and
dead. People can screw dead bodies, but they never feed them. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1519628

Do not adjust your mind, the fault is in reality. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 528089

A man who says that men are machines may be a great scientist. A man who says he is a machine is 'depersonalized' in psychiatric jargon. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 385420

The girl was not specifically religious; [...] yet although her faith was nameless her way of living was somehow an affirmation of life rather than a negation of it. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 2077259

When I go beyond a certain range it's outside of my direct horizon therefore I've got to rely on the writings and personal communications given to me by other people that I know ... I've got to try to piece together some tentative information picture of what the whole thing is like, but I'm aware that it becomes more and more speculative as it becomes more and more second, third, fourth hand. And this applies to absolutely everyone. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 992011

We all live under the constant threat of our own annihilation. Only by the most outrageous violation of ourselves have we achieved our capacity to live in relative adjustment to a civilization apparently driven to its own destruction. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1417254

Schizophrenia cannot be understood without understanding despair. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1448948

The 'data' (given) of research are not so much given as taken out of a constantly elusive matrix of happenings. We should speak of capta rather than data. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 981036

The being of any group from the point of view of the group members themselves is very curious. If I think of you and him as together with me, and others again as not with me, I have already formed two rudimentary syntheses, namely, We and Them. However, this private act of synthesis is not in itself a group. In order that We come into being as a group, it is necessary not only that I regard, let us say, you and him and me as We, but that you and he also think of us as We. I shall call such an act of experiencing a number of persons as a single collectivity, an act of rudimentary group synthesis. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 123495

What we take anything to be profoundly affects how we go about describing it, and how we describe something profoundly affects how we go about explaining, accounting for, or understanding what is what we are, in a sense, defining, by our description. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1118088

In the context of our present pervasive madness that we call normality, sanity, freedom, all our frames of reference are ambiguous and equivocal. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 396196

He: Have you read Tolkien?
Me: No.
He: He's behind a lot of the way young people's minds are working. I can't make head or tail of it.

Chief of R&D for a transworld chemical industry (He) holding forth to R.D Laing (Me) about the infiltration of the 'extreme left wing' into American society [28 January 1973]. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 312888

The square root of nothing. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 865228

Perhaps God is not dead; perhaps God himself is mad. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1050364

Whether life is worth living depends on whether there is love in life. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1564777

A psychiatrist who professes to be a healer of souls, but who keeps people asleep, treats them for waking up, and drugs them asleep again (increasingly effectively as this field of technology sharpens its weapons), helps to drive them crazy. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1781603

Each time a new baby is born there is a possibility of reprieve. Each child is a new being, a potential prophet, a new spiritual prince, a new spark of light precipitated into the outer darkness. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 2122540

Our behavior is a function of our experience. We act according to the way we see things. If our experience is destroyed, our behavior will be destructive. If our experience is destroyed, we have lost our own selves. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1647599

The Lotus opens. Movement from earth, through water, from fire to air. Out and in beyond life and death now, beyond inner and outer, sense and non-sense, meaning and futility, male and female, being and non-being, Light and darkness, void and full. Beyond all duality, or non-duality, beyond and beyond. Disincarnation. I breathe again. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1587018

The universe was a vast machine yesterday, it is a hologram today. Who knows what intellectual rattle we'll be shaking tomorrow. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 2008143

Few books today are forgivable. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1404965

We live equally out of our bodies and out of our minds. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 2252558

To mystify, in the active sense, is to befuddle, cloud, obscure, mask whatever is going on, whether this be experience, action, or process, or whatever is "the issue." It induces confusion in the sense that there is failure to see what is "really" being experienced, or being done, or going on, and failure to distinguish or discriminate the actual issues. This entails the substitution of false for true constructions of what is being experienced, being done (praxis), or going on (process), and the substitution of false issues for the actual issues. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 700462

In our society many of the old rituals have lost much of their power. New ones have not arisen. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 271068

No one acts or experiences in a vacuum ... — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1720122

Schizophrenia is the name for a condition that most psychiatrists ascribe to patients they call schizophrenic. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 114993

How do we define, how do we describe, how do we explain and/or understand ourselves? What sort of creatures do we take ourselves to be? What are we? Who are we? Why are we? How do we come to be what or who we are or take ourselves to be? How do we give an account of ourselves? How do we account for ourselves, our actions, interactions, transactions (praxis), our biologic processes? Our specific human existence? — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1058592

I cannot experience your experience. You cannot experience my experience. We are both invisible men. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 558544

There is a great deal of pain in life and perhaps the only pain that can be avoided is the pain that comes from trying to avoid pain. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1345838

The schizophrenic may indeed be mad. He is mad. He is not ill. I have been told by people who have been through the mad experience how what was then revealed to them was veritable manna from Heaven. The person's whole life may be changed, but it is difficult not to doubt the validity of such vision. Also, not everyone comes back to us again. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 128480

Freud was a hero. He descended to the Underworld and met there stark terrors. He carried with him his theory as a Medusa's head which turned these terrors to stone. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 257143

Attempts to wake before our time are often punished, especially by those who love us most. Because they, bless them, are asleep. They think anyone who wakes up, or who, still asleep, realizes that what is taken to be real is a 'dream' is going crazy. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 335770

From the alienated starting point of our pseudo-sanity, everything is equivocal. Our sanity is not "true" sanity. Their madness is not "true" madness. The madness of our patients is an artifact of the destruction wreaked on them by us, and by them on themselves. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 336557

Philosophy does not exist. It is nothing but an hypostatized abstraction. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 336710

The psychiatrist must become a fellow traveler with his patient. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 378331

No one has the answer: we are answer and question. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 391584

Few books today are forgivable. Black on canvas, silence on the screen, an empty white sheet of paper are perhaps feasible. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 403525

Our time has been distinguished, more than by anything else, by a mastery, a control, of the external world, and by an almost total forgetfulness of the internal world. If one estimates human evolution from the point of view of knowledge of the external world, then we are in many respects progressing. If our estimate is from the point of view of the internal world, and of oneness of internal and external, then the judgment must be very different. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 510157

Experience is mad when it steps beyond the horizons of our common, that is, our communal sense. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 539614

They are playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me. I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 555309

If the blind must lead the blind, it is as well
that the leader knows he is. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 596614

The condition of alienation, of being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of one's mind, is the condition of the normal man. Society highly values its normal man. It educates children to lose themselves and to become absurd, and thus to be normal. Normal men have killed perhaps 100,000,000 of their fellow normal men in the last fifty years. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 659318

I'm ridiculous to feel ridiculous when I'm not. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 887413

Where can you scream? It's a serious question: where can you go in society and scream? — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 912340

There is no such condition as 'schizophrenia', but the label is a social fact and the social fact a political event. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 914306

Beauty is almost no longer possible if it is not a lie. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 983084

Man as seen as an organism or man as seen as a person discloses different aspects of the human reality to the investigator. Both are quite possible methodologically but one must be alert to the possible occasion for confusion. ( ... ) Seen as an organism, man cannot be anything else but a complex of things, of its, and the processes that ultimately comprise an organism are it-processes. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 986336

If you have passion for what you do, the company you keep, the life you live, it will be reflected in whatever you create. Passion is like that; it springs out, jumps, unpredictable and unplanned, into everything we touch. If it doesn't, others know. Passion can't be faked and it can't be manufactured. Which is why it is so priceless. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1015129

Moral beauty, so Gerard Manley Hopkins said, is dangerous. If such individuals could take his advice to meet it, then let it alone, things would be easier. But it is just which they can not do. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1037654

Before one goes through the gate one may not be aware there is a gate One may think there is a gate to go through and look a long time for it without finding it One may find it and it may not open If it opens one may be through it As one goes through it one sees that the gate one went through was the self that went through it no one went through a gate there was no gate to go through no one ever found a gate no one ever realized there was never a gate — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1082147

The reason I suggest that one speaks of a false-self system is that the 'personality', false self, mask, 'front', or persona that such individuals wear may consist in an amalgam of various part-selves, none of which is so fully developed as to have a comprehensive 'personality' of its own. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1188368

If we can revert to the truth, then a great deal of one's suffering can be erased, because a great deal of one's suffering is based on sheer lies. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1251150

One is inside
then outside what one has been inside
One feels empty
because there is nothing inside oneself
One tries to get inside oneself
that inside of the outside
that one was once inside
once one tries to get oneself inside what
one is outside:
to eat and be eaten
to have the outside inside and to be
inside the outside — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1265140

What we call 'normal' is a product of repression, denial, splitting, projection, introjection and other forms of destructive action on experience. It is radically estranged from the structure of being. The more one sees this, the more senseless it is to continue with generalized descriptions of supposedly specifically schizoid, schizophrenic, hysterical 'mechanisms.' There are forms of alienation that are relatively strange to statistically 'normal' forms of alienation. The 'normally' alienated person, by reason of the fact that he acts more or less like everyone else, is taken to be sane. Other forms of alienation that are out of step with the prevailing state of alienation are those that are labeled by the 'formal' majority as bad or mad. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1323032

We are effectively destroying ourselves by violence masquerading as love. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1342102

We have all been processed on Procrustean beds. At least some of us have managed to hate what they have made of us. Inevitably we see the other as the reflection of the occasion of our own self-division. The others have become installed in our hearts, and we call them ourselves. Each person, not being himself either to himself or the other, just as the other is not himself to himself or to us, in being another for another neither recognizes himself in the other, nor the other in himself. Hence being at least a double absence, haunted by the ghost of his own murdered self, no wonder modern man is addicted to other persons, and the more addicted, the less satisfied, the more lonely. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1375487

The experience and behavior that gets labeled schizophrenic is a special strategy that a person invents in order to live in an unlivable situation. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1379043

The dynamics and structures found in those groups called families in our society may not be evident in those groups called families in other places and times. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1385074

From the moment of birth, when the Stone-Age baby confronts the twentieth-century mother, the baby is subjected to these forces of violence called love, as its father and mother and their parents and their parents before them, have been. These forces are mainly concerned with destroying most of its potential. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1393014

You don't love me.. Believe me! You don't love anyone. How could you? And no one loves you. How could they? Except me, it's only because I love you that I'm telling you all this. I Love you.. R. D. Laing. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1417258

Even when the [schizophrenic] patient is striving to tell us, in as clear and straightforward a way as he knows how, the nature of his anxieties and his experiences, structured as they are in a radically different way from ours, the speech content is necessarily difficult to follow. Moreover, the formal elements of speech are in themselves ordered in unusual ways, and these formal peculiarities seem, at least to some extent, to be the reflection in language of the alternative ordering of his experience, with splits in it where we take coherence for granted, and the running together (confusion) of elements that we keep apart. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1438345

The statesmen of the world who boast and threaten that they have Doomsday weapons are far more dangerous, and far more estranged from 'reality',than many of the people on whom the label 'psychotic' is affixed — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1441683

True guilt is guilt at the obligation one owes to oneself to be oneself. False guilt is guilt felt at not being what other people feel one ought to be or assume that one is. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1446887

The way out is through the door you came in. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1456888

Children do not give up their innate imagination, curiosity, dreaminess easily. You have to love them to get them to do that. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1485393

Life is a sexually trasmitted disese. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1489384

If I could turn you on, if I could drive you out of your wretched mind, if I could tell you I would let you know. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1533711

Doctors have throughout time made fortunes on killing their patients with their cures. The difference in psychiatry is that it is the death of the soul. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1535393

To live in the past or in the future may be less satisfying than to live in the present, but it can never be as disillusioning. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1550493

If I hazard a guess as to the most endemic, prevalent anxiety among human beings-including fear of death, abandonment, loneliness-nothing is more prevalent than the fear of one another. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1557453

Here we have the paradox, the potentially tragic paradox, that our relatedness to others is an essential aspect of our being, as is our separateness, but any particular person is not a necessary part of our being. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1635212

What we think is less than what we know; What we know is less than what we love; What we love is so much less than what there is. And to that precise extent we are so much less than what we are. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1690297

True sanity entails in one way or another the dissolution of the normal ego, that false self competently adjusted to our alienated social reality ... and through this death a rebirth and the eventual re-establishment of a new kind of ego-functioning, the ego now being the servant of the divine, no longer its betrayer. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1736572

If I do not know that I do not know, I think I know.
If I do not know that I know, I think I do not know. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1747515

We all know from our personal experience that we can be ourselves only in and through our world and there is a sense in which 'our' world will die with us although 'the' world will go on without us. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1764885

In certain cases, a man blind from birth may have an operation performed which gives him his sight. The result: frequently misery, confusion, disorientation. The light that illumines the madman is an unearthly light, but I do not believe it is a projection, an emanation from his mundane ego. He is irradiated by a light that is more than he. It may burn him out. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1768481

In describing one way of going mad, I shall try to show that there is a comprehensible transition from the sane schizoid way of being-in-the-world to a psychotic way of being-in-the-world. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1787500

The term schizoid refers to an individual the totality of whose experience is split in two main ways: in the first place, there is a rent in his relation with his world and, in the second, there is a disruption of his relation with himself. Such a person is not able to experience himself 'together with' others or 'at home in' the world, but, on the contrary, he experiences himself in despairing aloneness and isolation; moreover, he does not experience himself as a complete person but rather as 'split' in various ways, perhaps as a mind more or less tenuously linked to a body, as two or more selves, and so on. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1794569

The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change; until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1800330

In the society of men the truth resides now less in what things are than in what they are not. Our social realities are so ugly if seen in the light of exiled truth, and beauty is no longer possible if it is not a lie. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1803296

We are bemused and crazed creatures, strangers to our true selves, to one another, and to the spiritual and material world - mad, even, from an ideal standpoint we can glimpse but not adopt. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1858284

This last possibility [of developing psychosis] is aways present if the individual begins to identify himself too exclusively with that part of him which feels unembodied. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1874523

Sanity today appears to rest very largely on a capacity to adapt to the external world - the interpersonal world, and the realm of human collectivities.

As this external human world is almost completely and totally estranged from the inner, any personal direct awareness of the inner world already has grave risks.

But since society, without knowing it, is starvingfor the inner, the demands on people to evoke it in a "safe" way, in a way that need not be taken seriously, etc., is tremendous - while the ambivalence is equally intense. Small wonder that the list of artists, in say the last 150 years, who have become shipwrecked on these reefs is so long... — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1920820

Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be break-through. It is potential liberation and renewal as well as enslavement and existential death. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1962784

Our 'normal' 'adjusted' state is too often the abdication of ecstasy, the betrayal of our true potentialities. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1980414

Insanity is a perfectly natural adjustment to a totally unnatural and negative environment. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 1983496

Any experience of reality is indescribable! — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 2008991

Conventions are convenient. It is inconvenient to say people are dead when they are alive, or alive when they have been buried, or that the world is crumbling when it is, as everyone can see, there as usual. If all A that does not fit B is ipso facto disqualified, we have to tailor A to shape and size to avoid serious trouble, and not all are equally gifted in this art. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 2031666

The family's function is to repress Eros; to induce a false consciousness of security; to deny death by avoiding life; to cut off transcendence; to believe in God, not to experience the Void; to create, in short, one-dimensional man; to promote respect, conformity, obedience. . . — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 2049981

The human mind has to ask "Who, what, whence, whither, why am I?" And it is very doubtful if the human mind can answer any of these questions. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 2086339

Creative people who can't help but explore other mental territories are at greater risk, just as someone who climbs a mountain is more at risk than someone who just walks along a village lane. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 2142785

The fountain has not played itself out, the Flame still shines, the River still flows, the Spring still bubbles forth, the Light has not faded. But between us and It, there is a veil which is more like fifty feet of solid concrete. Deus absconditus. Or we have absconded. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 2144537

A mental healer may be a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist may or may not be a mental healer. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 2213961

We have to realize that we are as deeply afraid to live and to love as we are to die. — R.D. Laing

R.D. Laing Quotes 2238620

Psychological breakdowns are actually breakthroughs to enlightenment. — R.D. Laing