Dr. Thomas Szasz On The Myth Of Mental Illness

Thomas Szasz (born April 15, 1920 in Budapest, Hungary) is a psychiatrist and academic. Since 1990 he has been Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the State University of New York Health Science Center in Syracuse, New York. He is a prominent figure in the antipsychiatry movement, a well-known social critic of the moral and scientific foundations of psychiatry, and of the social control aims of medicine in modern society, as well as of scientism, a term first used by social scientists Karl Popper and Friedrich Hayek. He is well known for his books, The Myth of Mental Illness (1960) and The Manufacture of Madness: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement (1970) which set out some of the arguments with which he is most associated.”

Personal notes:

I first read Thomas Szasz in an article of his on the libertarian blog LewRockwell.com. I seriously could not believe what I was reading; every one of his ideas resonated a truth I had always known, but simply never heard spoken to me before. I immediately went to my local library, picked up the book “The Myth of Mental Illness” (1960), and began reading it.

Szasz, although a psychiatrist, had a disdain for the growing spirit of his own profession. He saw the term “mental illness” being used as a political tool, a way to stigmatize others and inhibit their freedoms: a truth that has probably existed ever since the birth of human thought. In 1973, the American Humanist Association named him Humanist of the Year.

You can read more of my thoughts on this subject in the article, “Mental Health, Brain Science, and Habits Of Living.”

Some great Thomas Szasz quotes:

“It is easier to do one’s duty to others than to one’s self. If you do your duty to others, you are considered reliable. If you do your duty to yourself, you are considered selfish. ”

“The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.”

“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.”

“If you talk to God, you are praying. If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.”

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