Sigmund Freud quotes, aphorisms and great ideas.
Sigmund Freud quotes, aphorisms and great ideas.

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)   Austrian neurologist and psychoanalyst

Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires.
Sigmund Freud

Sadism is all right in its place, but it should be directed to proper ends.
Sigmund Freud

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
Sigmund Freud

The act of birth is the first experience of anxiety, and thus the source and prototype of the affect of anxiety.
Sigmund Freud

The conscious mind may be compared to a fountain playing in the sun and falling back into the great subterranean pool of subconscious from which it rises.
Sigmund Freud

A belligerent state permits itself every such misdeed, every such act of violence, as would disgrace the individual.
Sigmund Freud

A certain degree of neurosis is of inestimable value as a drive, especially to a psychologist.
Sigmund Freud

A father’s death is the most important event, the more heartbreaking and poignant loss in a man’s life.
Sigmund Freud

A child in its greed for love does not enjoy having to share the affection of its parents with its brothers and sisters; and it notices that the whole of their affection is lavished upon it once more whenever it arouses their anxiety by falling ill. It has now discovered a means of enticing out its parents’ love and will make use of that means as soon as it has the necessary psychical material at its disposal for producing an illness.
Sigmund Freud

A civilization which leaves so large a number of its participants unsatisfied and drives them into revolt neither has nor deserves the prospect of a lasting existence.
Sigmund Freud

A man should not strive to eliminate his complexes but to get into accord with them: they are legitimately what directs his conduct in the world.
Sigmund Freud

The three major mother gods of the Eastern populations seemed to be generating and destroying entities at the same time; both goddesses of life and fertility as well as goddesses of death. Sigmund Freud

A man who has been the indisputable favorite of his mother keeps for life the feeling of a conqueror.
Sigmund Freud

America is a mistake, a giant mistake.
Sigmund Freud

America is the most grandiose experiment the world has seen, but, I am afraid, it is not going to be a success.
Sigmund Freud

Thus I must contradict you when you go on to argue that men are completely unable to do without the consolation of the religious illusion, that without it they could not bear the troubles of life and the cruelties of reality. That is true, certainly, of the men into whom you have instilled the sweet — or bitter-sweet — poison from childhood onwards. But what of the other men, who have been sensibly brought up? Perhaps those who do not suffer from the neurosis will need no intoxicant to deaden it. They will, it is true, find themselves in a difficult situation. They will have to admit to themselves the full extent of their helplessness and their insignificance in the machinery of the universe; they can no longer be the centre of creation, no longer the object of tender care on the part of a beneficent Providence. They will be in the same position as a child who has left the parental house where he was so warm and comfortable. But surely infantilism is destined to be surmounted. Men cannot remain children for ever.
Sigmund Freud

Analogies, it is true, decide nothing, but they can make one feel more at home.
Sigmund Freud

Analysis does not set out to make pathological reactions impossible, but to give the patient’s ego freedom to decide one way or another.
Sigmund Freud

Anatomy is destiny.
Sigmund Freud

Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.
Sigmund Freud

Children are completely egoistic; they feel their needs intensely and strive ruthlessly to satisfy them.
Sigmund Freud

Civilization began the first time an angry person cast a word instead of a rock.
Sigmund Freud

Civilized society is perpetually menaced with disintegration through this primary hostility of men towards one another.
Sigmund Freud

Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy.
Sigmund Freud

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.
Sigmund Freud

Everywhere I go I find that a poet has been there before me.
Sigmund Freud

Flowers are restful to look at. They have neither emotions nor conflicts.
Sigmund Freud

He does not believe that does not live according to his belief .
Sigmund Freud

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.
Sigmund Freud

We have long observed that every neurosis has the result, and therefore probably the purpose, of forcing the patient out of real life, of alienating him from actuality.
Sigmund Freud

What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult.
Sigmund Freud

What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages they would have burned me. Now they are content with burning my books.
Sigmund Freud

What we call happiness in the strictest sense comes from the (preferably sudden) satisfaction of needs which have been dammed up to a high degree.
Sigmund Freud

Where id was, there ego shall be.
Sigmund Freud

Whoever loves becomes humble. Those who love have, so to speak, pawned a part of their narcissism.
Sigmund Freud

I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.
Sigmund Freud

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. That is something that you cannot say aloud, or perhaps even think.
Sigmund Freud

If a man has been his mother’s undisputed darling he retains throughout life the triumphant feeling, the confidence in success, which not seldom brings actual success along with it.
Sigmund Freud

If you can’t do it, give up!
Sigmund Freud

If youth knew; if age could.
Sigmund Freud

Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces.
Sigmund Freud

Incidentally, why was it that none of all the pious ever discovered psycho-analysis? Why did it have to wait for a completely godless Jew?
Sigmund Freud

It is impossible to overlook the extent to which civilization is built upon a renunciation of instinct.
Sigmund Freud

Just as a cautious businessman avoids investing all his capital in one concern, so wisdom would probably admonish us also not to anticipate all our happiness from one quarter alone.
Sigmund Freud

No other technique for the conduct of life attaches the individual so firmly to reality as laying emphasis on work; for his work at least gives him a secure place in a portion of reality, in the human community. The possibility it offers of displacing a large amount of libidinal components, whether narcissistic, aggressive or even erotic, on to professional work and on to the human relations connected with it lends it a value by no means second to what it enjoys as something indispensible to the preservation and justification of existence in society.
Sigmund Freud

Just as no one can be forced into belief, so no one can be forced into unbelief.
Sigmund Freud

Like the physical, the psychical is not necessarily in reality what it appears to us to be.
Sigmund Freud

Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.
Sigmund Freud

Love and work… work and love, that’s all there is.
Sigmund Freud

Man has, as it were, become a kind of prosthetic God. When he puts on all his auxiliary organs, he is truly magnificent; but those organs have not grown on him and they still give him much trouble at times.
Sigmund Freud

Men are more moral than they think and far more immoral than they can imagine.
Sigmund Freud

Men are strong so long as they represent a strong idea they become powerless when they oppose it.
Sigmund Freud

Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.
Sigmund Freud

Neurosis is the inability to tolerate ambiguity.
Sigmund Freud

Neurotics complain of their illness, but they make the most of it, and when it comes to talking it away from them they will defend it like a lioness her young.
Sigmund Freud

Obviously one must hold oneself responsible for the evil impulses of one’s dreams. In what other way can one deal with them? Unless the content of the dream rightly understood is inspired by alien spirits, it is part of my own being.
Sigmund Freud

One is very crazy when in love.
Sigmund Freud

Opposition is not necessarily enmity; it is merely misused and made an occasion for enmity.
Sigmund Freud

The doctor should be opaque to his patients and, like a mirror, should show them nothing but what is shown to him.
Sigmund Freud

The ego is not master in its own house.
Sigmund Freud

The first human who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization.
Sigmund Freud

The first requisite of civilization is that of justice.
Sigmund Freud

The goal of all life is death.
Sigmund Freud

The goal towards which the pleasure principle impels us – of becoming happy – is not attainable: yet we may not – nay, cannot – give up the efforts to come nearer to realization of it by some means or other.
Sigmund Freud

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?”
Sigmund Freud

The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind.
Sigmund Freud

The liberty of the individual is no gift of civilization. It was greatest before there was any civilization.
Sigmund Freud

The mind is like an iceberg, it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water.
Sigmund Freud

The psychical, whatever its nature may be, is itself unconscious.
Sigmund Freud

The psychoanalysis of neurotics has taught us to recognize the intimate connection between wetting the bed and the character trait of ambition.
Sigmund Freud

The tendency to aggression is an innate, independent, instinctual disposition in man… it constitutes the powerful obstacle to culture.
Sigmund Freud

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.
Sigmund Freud

The voice of the intellect is a soft one, but it does not rest until it has gained a hearing.
Sigmund Freud

Time spent with cats is never wasted.
Sigmund Freud

We are never so defensless against suffering as when we love.
Sigmund Freud

We believe that civilization has been created under the pressure of the exigencies of life at the cost of satisfaction of the instincts.
Sigmund Freud

No one who, like me, conjures up the most evil of those half-tamed demons that inhabit the human breast, and seeks to wrestle with them, can expect to come through the struggle unscathed.
Sigmund Freud

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?”
Sigmund Freud

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.
Sigmund Freud

Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires.
Sigmund Freud

Devout believers are safeguarded in a high degree against the risk of certain neurotic illnesses; their acceptance of the universal neurosis spares them the task of constructing a personal one.
Sigmund Freud

At bottom God is nothing more than an exalted father.
Sigmund Freud

In the long run, nothing can withstand reason and experience, and the contradiction religion offers to both is palpable.
Sigmund Freud

Where id is, there shall ego be.
Sigmund Freud

The ego is not master in its own house.
Sigmund Freud

The sexual life of adult women is a “dark continent” for psychology.
Sigmund Freud

When inspiration does not come to me, I go halfway to meet it.
Sigmund Freud

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

Words have a magical power. They can bring either the greatest happiness or deepest despair; they can transfer knowledge from teacher to student; words enable the orator to sway his audience and dictate its decisions. Words are capable of arousing the strongest emotions and prompting all men’s actions.
Sigmund Freud

Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.
Sigmund Freud

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.
Sigmund Freud

One feels inclined to say that the intention that man should be “happy” is not included in the plan of “Creation.”
Sigmund Freud

I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.
Sigmund Freud

America is the most grandiose experiment the world has seen … but, I am afraid, it is not going to be a success.
Sigmund Freud

If a man has been his mother’s undisputed darling he retains throughout life the triumphant feeling, the confidence in success, which not seldom brings actual success along with it.
Sigmund Freud

There is a psychological technique which makes it possible to interpret dreams, and … if that procedure is employed, every dream reveals itself as a psychical structure which has a meaning and which can be inserted at an assignable point in the mental activities of waking life.
Sigmund Freud

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
Sigmund Freud

The first request of civilization … is that of justice.
Sigmund Freud

To be sure, the ancient belief that the dream reveals the future is not entirely devoid of truth. By representing to us a wish as fulfilled the dream certainly leads us into the future; but this future, taken by the dreamer as present, has been formed into the likeness of that past by the indestructible wish.
Sigmund Freud

What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages they would have burned me. Now they are content with burning my books.
Sigmund Freud

Beauty has no obvious use; nor is there any clear cultural necessity for it. Yet civilization could not do without it.
Sigmund Freud

Immorality, no less than morality, has at all times found support in religion.
Sigmund Freud

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.
Sigmund Freud

The virtuous man contents himself with dreaming that which the wicked man does in actual life.
Sigmund Freud

We are so constituted that we can gain intense pleasure only from the contrast, and only very little from the condition itself.
Sigmund Freud

The behavior of a human being in sexual matters is often a prototype for the whole of his other modes of reaction in life.
Sigmund Freud

As everyone knows, the ancients before Aristotle did not consider the dream a product of the dreaming mind, but a divine inspiration, and in ancient times the two antagonistic streams, which one finds throughout in the estimates of dream life, were already noticeable. They distinguished between true and valuable dreams, sent to the dreamer to warn him or to foretell the future, and vain, fraudulent, and empty dreams, the object of which was to misguide or lead him to destruction.
Sigmund Freud

The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind.
Sigmund Freud

It is always possible to bind together a considerable number of people in love, so long as there are other people left over to receive manifestations of their aggressiveness.
Sigmund Freud

The sexual wishes in regard to the mother become more intense and the father is perceived as an obstacle to the; this gives rise to the Oedipus complex.
Sigmund Freud

A man like me cannot live without a hobby-horse, a consuming passion — in Schiller’s words a tyrant. I have found my tyrant, and in his service I know no limits. My tyrant is psychology. it has always been my distant, beckoning goal and now since I have hit upon the neuroses, it has come so much the nearer.
Sigmund Freud

When the wayfarer whistles in the dark, he may be disavowing his timidity, but he does not see any more clearly for doing so.
Sigmund Freud

Not all men are worthy of love.
Sigmund Freud

Religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis … mankind will surmount this neurotic phase, just as so many children grow out of their similar neurosis.
Sigmund Freud

How bold one gets when one is sure of being loved.
Sigmund Freud

A person who feels pleasure in producing pain in someone else in a sexual relationship is also capable of enjoying as pleasure any pain which he may himself derive from sexual relations. A sadist is always at the same time a masochist.
Sigmund Freud

It would be very nice if there were a God who created the world and was a benevolent providence, and if there were a moral order in the universe and an after-life; but it is a very striking fact that all this is exactly as we are bound to wish it to be.
Sigmund Freud

Religion is a system of wishful illusions together with a disavowal of reality, such as we find nowhere else but in a state of blissful hallucinatory confusion. Religion’s eleventh commandment is “Thou shalt not question.”
Sigmund Freud

The poets and philosophers before me discovered the unconscious; what I discovered was the scientific method by which the unconscious can be studied.
Sigmund Freud

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