Life worth living

Following some advice received here, I looked up Thomas Szasz, a controversial American Psychiatrist, and found this (it's a little heavy but a good read if you like this sort of thing):

"The unexamined life is not worth living. Liberation from painful, constricting relationships or situations can be achieved only by assuming responsibility for one's own contributions to them and by extricating oneself from them. The only person who can change a person is that person himself".

Isn't this what we are all painfully trying to do? And if so, shouldn't we take some comfort in the courage and strength it takes to bring about these changes?


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8 Replies

  • I'm iffy on Szasz. There is some value in what he says, and the work of he and others in some ways paved the way for self-awareness based things like CBT. But his contention that there is no such thing as mental illness is condescending to put it mildly. I think he dresses up what is at least partially a moral judgement on his part with intellectual language to try and claim he is objective and scientific.

    However, he is responsible for one of my all time favourite pithy quotes:

    "Marriage is said to be made in heaven - which may be why it doesn't work on Earth."

  • I've only started reading about him this morning and found some of it interesting.

    I agree he is condescending regarding mental illness especially since there is so much evidence for chemical(s) imbalance in depressed people.

    What I've read so far are cold and brutal opinions of someone airing his hubris; I wonder if had he experienced "our pain", if he would be so dismissive of mental illness.

    The quote on marriage is so true. Very good indeed; brought a smile to my face.

  • Isn't he the one who says that life is brutish and short? He also says that those in mental institutions are the sane ones. I remember him from my sociology course at Uni. I thought he was great at the time :) x

  • Didn't someone say "theres a fine line between Genius and Insanity"? Or words to that effect.

  • just did Controller :) Not sure who else did though.

  • Oscar Levant - "There is a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased it."

    I think are quite a few variations on the theme....

  • It was Aristotle who said "No great genius is without an admixture of madness."

    Satre said "I don't want to be a genius. I have enough problems just trying to be a man".

    On a lighter note I like this quote from Wilson Mizner:-

    "Life is a tough proposition and the first hundred years are the hardest" ! :)

  • My favourite quotes:

    'Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution' Marx (That's Graucho rather than Karl ...)

    'When I look at the younger generation I despair of the future' (not sure if that's another Aristotle or if it was Socrates)

    'A second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience' (Samuel Johnson?)

    Sorry - lowering the tone a bit.