R. D. Laing Quotes

Ronald David Laing (7 October 1927 – 23 August 1989), usually cited as R. D. Laing, was a Scottish psychiatrist who wrote extensively on mental illness – in particular, the experience of psychosis. Laing's views on the causes and treatment of serious mental dysfunction, greatly influenced by existential philosophy, ran counter to the psychiatric orthodoxy of the day by taking the expressed feelings of the individual patient or client as valid descriptions of lived experience rather than simply as symptoms of some separate or underlying disorder. Laing was associated with the anti-psychiatry movement, although he rejected the label. Politically, he was regarded as a thinker of the New Left.

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R. D. Laing


We live in a moment of history where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when it is already disappearing.

R. D. Laing


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


Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be break-through.

R. D. Laing


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


Life is a sexually transmitted disease.

R. D. Laing


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


Philosophy does not exist. It is nothing but an hypostatized abstraction.

R. D. Laing


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


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

R. D. Laing


Pain in this life is not avoidable, but the pain we create avoiding pain is avoidable.

R. D. Laing


Long before a thermonuclear war can come about, we have had to lay waste our own sanity. We begin with the children. It is imperative to catch them in time. Without the most thorough and rapid brainwashing their dirty minds would see through our dirty tricks. Children are not yet fools, but we shall turn them into imbeciles like ourselves, with high I.Q.s if possible.

R. D. Laing


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


What we call "normal" is a product of repression, denial, splitting, projection, introjection, and other forms of destructive actions on experience...It is radically estranged from the structure of being ...

R. D. Laing


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


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