Sigmund Freud:Quotes

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Thinking is an experimental dealing with small quantities of energy, just as a general moves miniature figures over a map before setting his troops in action.

Sigmund Freud (May 6, 1856–September 23, 1939; [ˈziːgmʊnt ˈfrɔʏ̯t]) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychology.


  • Woe to you, my Princess, when I come... you shall see who is the stronger, a gentle girl who doesn't eat enough or a big wild man who has cocaine in his body.
    • Letter to his fiancée, Martha Bernays (June 2, 1884)
  • I do not in the least underestimate bisexuality. . . I expect it to provide all further enlightenment.
  • And now, the main thing! As far as I can see, my next work will be called "Human Bisexuality." It will go to the root of the problem and say the last word it may be granted to say--the last and the most profound.
  • He that has eyes to see and ears to hear may convince himself that no mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore.
  • The ego is not master in its own house.
    • A Difficulty in the Path of Psycho-Analysis (1917)
  • The unconscious is the larger circle which includes within itself the smaller circle of the conscious; everything conscious has its preliminary step in the unconscious, whereas the unconscious may stop with this step and still claim full value as a psychic activity. Properly speaking, the unconscious is the real psychic; its inner nature is just as unknown to us as the reality of the external world, and it is just as imperfectly reported to us through the data of consciousness as is the external world through the indications of our sensory organs.
    • Dream Psychology : Psychoanalysis For Beginners (1920) as translated by M. D. Eder
  • When the wayfarer whistles in the dark, he may be disavowing his timidity, but he does not see any more clearly for doing so.
  • The poets and philosophers before me discovered the unconscious; what I discovered was the scientific method by which the unconscious can be studied.
  • Our knowledge of the historical worth of certain religious doctrines increases our respect for them, but does not invalidate our proposal that they should cease to be put forward as the reasons for the precepts of civilization. On the contrary! Those historical residues have helped us to view religious teachings, as it were, as neurotic relics, and we may now argue that the time has probably come, as it does in an analytic treatment, for replacing the effects of repression by the results of the rational operation of the intellect.
  • The voice of the intellect is a soft one, but it does not rest until it has gained a hearing. Ultimately, after endlessly repeated rebuffs, it succeeds. This is one of the few points in which it may be optimistic about the future of mankind, but in itself it signifies not a little.
  • Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation, it cannot be classified as an illness.
    • Letter to an American mother's plea to cure her son's homosexuality (1935)
  • Man found that he was faced with the acceptance of "spiritual" forces, that is to say such forces as cannot be comprehended by the senses, particularly not by sight, and yet having undoubted, even extremely strong, effects. If we may trust to language, it was the movement of the air that provided the image of spirituality, since the spirit borrows its name from the breath of wind (animus, spiritus, Hebrew: ruach = smoke). The idea of the soul was thus born as the spiritual principle in the individual...Now the realm of spirits had opened for man, and he was ready to endow everything in nature with the soul he had discovered in himself.
  • A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.
    • General Introduction to Psychoanalysis
  • America is a mistake, admittedly a gigantic mistake, but a mistake nevertheless.
    • To Ernest Jones ("Amerika ist ein Fehler, zugegeben ein gigantischer Fehler, aber nichtsdestotrotz ein Fehler.")
  • A man who has been the indisputable favorite of his mother keeps for life the feeling of conqueror, that confidence of success that often induces real success.
  • Was will das Weib?
    • What does a woman want?
    • More extensive variant: The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is "What does a woman want?"
    • Letter to Marie Bonaparte, as quoted in Sigmund Freud: Life and Work (1955) by Ernest Jones, Vol. 2, Pt. 3, Ch. 16

New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (1932)

  • Analogies prove nothing, that is quite true, but they can make one feel more at home.
  • One might compare the relation of the ego to the id with that between a rider and his horse. The horse provides the locomotor energy, and the rider has the prerogative of determining the goal and of guiding the movements of his powerful mount towards it. But all too often in the relations between the ego and the id we find a picture of the less ideal situation in which the rider is obliged to guide his horse in the direction in which it itself wants to go.
  • The poor ego has a still harder time of it; it has to serve three harsh masters, and it has to do its best to reconcile the claims and demands of all three... The three tyrants are the external world, the superego, and the id.
    • The Anatomy of the Mental Personality (Lecture 31)
  • Where id is, there shall ego be.
    • The Anatomy of the Mental Personality (Lecture 31)
  • Thinking is an experimental dealing with small quantities of energy, just as a general moves miniature figures over a map before setting his troops in action.
  • If one wishes to form a true estimate of the full grandeur of religion, one must keep in mind what it undertakes to do for men. It gives them information about the source and origin of the universe, it assures them of protection and final happiness amid the changing vicissitudes of life, and it guides their thoughts and motions by means of precepts which are backed by the whole force of its authority.
  • Religion is an attempt to get control over the sensory world, in which we are placed, by means of the wish-world, which we have developed inside us as a result of biological and psychological necessities.
    • A Philosophy of Life (Lecture 35)
  • Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires.
    • A Philosophy of Life (Lecture 35)


  • The only unnatural sexual behavior is none at all.
  • A belligerent state permits itself every such misdeed, every such act of violence, as would disgrace the individual.
  • Every normal person, in fact, is only normal on the average. His ego approximates to that of the psychotic in some part or other and to a greater or lesser extent.
  • He that has eyes to see and ears to hear may convince himself that no mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore.
  • Human life in common is only made possible when a majority comes together which is stronger than any separate individual and which remains united against all separate individuals. The power of this community is then set up as “right” in opposition to the power of the individual, which is condemned as “brute force.”
  • I have found little that is "good" about human beings on the whole. In my experience most of them are trash, no matter whether they publicly subscribe to this or that ethical doctrine or to none at all.
  • In the long run, nothing can withstand reason and experience, and the contradiction religion offers to both is palpable.
  • It must be admitted that women have but little sense of justice, and this is no doubt connected with the preponderance of envy in their mental life.
  • Religion... comprises a system of wishful illusions together with a disavowal of reality, such as we find in an isolated form nowhere else but in amentia, in a state of blissful hallucinatory confusion.
  • Sadism is all right in its place, but it should be directed to proper ends.
  • Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
  • The doctor should be opaque to his patients and, like a mirror, should show them nothing but what is shown to him.
  • The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is “What does a woman want?”
  • The moment a man begins to question the meaning and value of life, he is sick.
  • The paranoid is never entirely mistaken.
  • The only thing about masturbation to be ashamed of is doing it badly.
  • The pleasure of satisfying a savage instinct, undomesticated by the ego, is uncomparably much more intense than the one of satisfying a tamed instinct. The reason is becoming the enemy that prevents us from a lot of possibilities of pleasure.

About Sigmund Freud

  • Whereas Freud was for the most part concerned with the morbid effects of unconscious repression, Jung was more interested in the manifestations of unconscious expression, first in the dream and eventually in all the more orderly products of religion and art and morals.
  • "Доктор Фрейд не только сам сидел на кокаине, он его пациентам прописывал. А потом делал свои обобщения. Кокаин — это серьезный сексуальный возбудитель. Поэтому все, что Фрейд напридумывал — все эти эдипы, сфинксы и сфинкторы — относится исключительно к душевному измерению пациента, мозги которого спеклись от кокаина в яичницу-глазунью. В таком состоянии у человека действительно остается одна проблема — что сделать раньше, трахнуть маму или грохнуть папу. Понятное дело, пока кокаин не кончится. А в те времена проблем с поставками не было. Но пока у тебя доза меньше трех граммов в день, ты можешь не бояться ни эдипова комплекса, ни всего остального, что он наоткрывал." ~ Victor Pelevin, The Sacred Book of Werewold (2004)
    • Translation: Doctor Freud not only used cocaine himself, but he also prescribed it to his patients. And then he drew his generalizations. Cocaine is a strong sexual arouser. That's why everything Freud invented — all those oedipuses, sphinges and sphincters — is relevant only to a mental dimension of a patient, whose brain is turned to fried-eggs by cocaine. In such a state, one really has only one problem left — what to do first, to screw his mother or to do away with his father. Of course, until his cocaine runs out. And in those times, there were no problems with supplies. But so long as your daily dose is less than three grams, you don't have to fear either the Oedipus complex, nor other things discovered by Freud.
  • Perhaps the last cultural fad one could still argue against was Karl Marx. But Freud—or Rawls? To argue against such persons is to grant them a premise they spend all of their effort disproving: that reason is involved in their theories. Ayn Rand,The Ayn Rand Letter

Vol. IV, No. 2 November-December 1975.

  • "Зигмунд Фрейд был честным учёным и психиатром. Он никогда не давал своим пациентам непроверенные медикоменты. Он делал проверки на себе и знал до мельчайших подробностей все побочные эффекты и воздействия. Кризис совремменой психиатрии вызван стремлением врачей уйти от реальности и довольствоваться отсталой книжной информацией, вместо того чтобы анализировать самих себя и экспереминтировать над своим организмом, как это делал великий психоаналитик Зигмунд Фрейд." - D. Sovushkin.
    • Translation: Sigmund Freud was honest scientist and psychiatrist. He never gave his patients unproven medicine. He made the testing on himself and he knew to lowest details all adverse effects and influences. The crisis of modern psychiatry is caused by attempts of doctors to leave the reality and be contented with obsolete book information, instead of making the analysis of themselves and make experiments on their own organisms, like it was done by a great analytical psychologist Sigmund Freud.

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