Sigmund Freud Quotes


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Please enjoy our selection of Sigmund Freud Quotes.

Sigmund Freud Quotes on Dreams

· Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.

· Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy.

· I had thought about cocaine in a kind of day-dream.

· 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.

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

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

· The madman is a dreamer awake.

Sigmund Freud Quotes on Life

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

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

· 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.

· A hero is a man who stands up manfully against his father and in the end victoriously overcomes him.

· A love that does not discriminate seems to me to forfeit a part of its own value, by doing an injustice to its object; and secondly, not all men are worthy of love.

· 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.

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

· America is a mistake, a giant mistake.

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

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

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

· Anatomy is destiny.

· A woman should soften a man but not weaken him.

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

· By abolishing private property one takes away the human love of aggression.

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

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

· 8Civilized society is perpetually menaced with disintegration through this primary hostility of men towards one another.

· Conscience is the internal perception of the rejection of a particular wish operating within us.

· Despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, I have not been able to answer... the great question that has never been answered: what does a woman want?

· 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.

· Dogs love their friends and bite their enemies, quite unlike people, who are incapable of pure love and always have to mix love and hate.

· 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.

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

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

· Fear God, and your enemy will fear you.

· From error to error one discovers the entire truth.

· Great revolutions in science have a common denominator: They knock human arrogance off one pedestal after another of our conviction about our previous conviction about our own self-importance.

· Hatred of Judaism is at bottom hatred of Christianity.

· He does not believe that does not live according to his belief.

· 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 beings are funny. They long to be with the person they love but refuse to admit openly. Some are afraid to show even the slightest sign of affection because of fear. Fear that their feelings may not be recognized, or even worst, returned. But one thing about human beings puzzles me the most is their conscious effort to be connected with the object of their affection even if it kills them slowly within.

· 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.

· Humour is a means of obtaining pleasure in spite of the distressing effects that interface with it.

· I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection.

· I do not in the least underestimate bisexuality.... I expect it to provide all further enlightenment.

· I do not think our successes can compete with those of Lourdes. There are so many more people who believe in the miracles of the Blessed Virgin than in the existence of the unconscious.

· 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.

· 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.

· If our research leads us to a result that reduces religion to the status of a neurosis of mankind and explains its grandiose powers in the same way as we should neurotic obsession in our individual patients, then we may be sure we shall incur in this country the greatest resentment of the powers that be.

· If you can't do it, give up!

· If youth knew; if age could.

· I have no concern with any economic criticisms of the communist system; I cannot inquire into whether the abolition of private property is expedient or advantageous. But I am able to recognize that the psychological premises on which the system is based are an untenable illusion. In abolishing private property we deprive the human love of aggression of one of its instruments... but we have in no way altered the differences in power and influence which are misused by aggressiveness.

· 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.

· 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?

· Innately, children seem to have little true realistic anxiety. They will run along the brink of water, climb on the window sill, play with sharp objects and with fire, in short, do everything that is bound to damage them and to worry those in charge of them, that is wholly the result of education; for they cannot be allowed to make the instructive experiences themselves.

· In the depths of my heart I can’t help being convinced that my dear fellow-men, with a few exceptions, are worthless.

· In vital matters, however, such as the choice of a mate or profession, the decision should come from the unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves. In the important decisions of personal life, we should be governed, I think, by the deep inner needs of our nature.

· 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 the manifestations of their aggression.

· It is a mistake to believe that science consists in nothing but conclusively proved propositions, and it is unjust to demand that it should. It is a demand made by those who feel a craving for authority in some form to replace the religious: catechism by something else, even a scientific one.

· It is impossible to escape the impression that people commonly use false standards of measurement -- that they seek power, success and wealth for themselves and admire them in others, and that they underestimate what is of true value in life.

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

· It sounds not only disagreeable but also paradoxical, yet it must nevertheless be said that anyone who is to be really free and happy in love must have surmounted his respect for women and have come to terms with the idea of incest with his mother or sister.

· It is unavoidable that if we learn more about a great man's life, we shall also hear of occasions on which he has done no better than we, and has in fact come nearer to us as a human being.

· I was making frequent use of cocaine at that time ... I had been the first to recommend the use of cocaine, in 1885, and this recommendation had brought serious reproaches down on me.

· 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.

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

· Life, as we find it, is too hard for us; it brings us too many pains, disappointments and impossible tasks. In order to bear it we cannot dispense with palliative measures... There are perhaps three such measures: powerful deflections, which cause us to make light of our misery; substitutive satisfactions, which diminish it; and intoxicating substances, which make us insensible to it.

· Life is impoverished, it loses in interest, when the highest stake in the game of living, life itself, may not be risked. It becomes as shallow and empty as, let us say, an American flirtation.

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

· Look into the depths of your own soul and learn first to know yourself, then you will understand why this illness was bound to come upon you and perhaps you will thenceforth avoid falling ill.

· Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.

· Love and work... work and love, that's all there is.

· Love cannot be much younger than the lust for murder.

· 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.

· Man should not strive to eliminate his complexes, but to get in accord with them; they are legitimately what directs his contact in the world.

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

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

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

· No mortal can keep a secret. If the lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore.

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

· No one who has seen a baby sinking back satiated from the breast and falling asleep with flushed cheeks and a blissful smile can escape the reflection that this picture persists as a prototype of the expression of sexual satisfaction in later life.

· 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.

· Neurosis is the inability to tolerate ambiguity.

· 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.

· One day in retrospect the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.

· One feels inclined to say that the intention that man should be 'happy' is not included in the plan of 'Creation.

· One is very crazy when in love.

· One thing only do I know for certain and that is that man's judgments of value follow directly his wishes for happiness-that, accordingly, they are an attempt to support his illusions with arguments.

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

· Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.

· Poets are masters of us ordinary men, in knowledge of the mind, because they drink at streams which we have not yet made accessible to science.

· 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.

· Public self is a conditioned construct of the inner psychological self.

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

· 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."

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

· Sexual love is undoubtedly one of the chief things in life, and the union of mental and bodily satisfaction in the enjoyment of love is one of its culminating peaks. Apart from a few queer fanatics, all the world knows this and conducts its life accordingly; science alone is too delicate to admit it.

· Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. (This quote often appears on websites but none provide the context in which it was made. At the time, Freud was giving a lecture. One of those in attendance quizzed Freud relative to his notions about Oral Fixation and the fact that he (i.e. Freud) smoked a cigar. Thus suggesting Freud himself was stuck in the Oral Phase. To this Freud responded with the quote above).

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

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

· The commandment, 'Love thy neighbour as thyself', is the strongest defence against human aggressiveness and an excellent example of the unpsychological [expectations] of the cultural super-ego. The commandment is impossible to fulfil; such an enormous inflation of love can only lower its value, not get rid of the difficulty. Civilization pays no attention to all this; it merely admonishes us that the harder it is to obey the precept the more meritorious it is to do so. But anyone who follows such a precept in present-day civilization only puts himself at a disadvantage vis-a-vis the person who disregards it. What a potent obstacle to civilization aggressiveness must be, if the defence against it can cause as much unhappiness as aggressiveness itself! 'Natural' ethics, as it is called, has nothing to offer here except the narcissistic satisfaction of being able to think oneself better than others. At this point the ethics based on religion introduces its promises of a better after-life. But so long as virtue is not rewarded here on earth, ethics will, I fancy, preach in vain. I too think it quite certain that a real change in the relations of human beings to possessions would be of more help in this direction than any ethical commands; but the recognition of this fact among socialists has been obscured and made useless for practical purposes by a fresh idealistic misconception of human nature.

· 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.

· The distortion of a text resembles a murder: the difficulty is not in perpetrating the deed, but in getting rid of its traces.

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

· The ego is not master in its own house.

· The element of truth behind all this, which people are so ready to disavow, is that men are not gentle creatures who want to be loved, and who at the most can defend themselves if they are attacked; they are, on the contrary, creatures among whose instinctual endowments is to be reckoned a powerful share of aggressiveness.

· The expectation that every neurotic phenomenon can be cured may, I suspect, be derived from the layman's belief that the neuroses are something quite unnecessary which have no right whatever to exist. Whereas in fact they are severe, constitutionally fixed illnesses, which rarely restrict themselves to only a few attacks but persist as a rule over long periods throughout life.

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

· The first requisite of civilization is that of justice.

· The goal of all life is death.

· 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.

· 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 impression forces itself upon one that men measure by false standards, that everyone seeks power, success, riches for himself, and admires others who attain them, while undervaluing the truly precious thing in life.

· The individual does actually carry on a double existence: one designed to serve his own purposes and another as a link in a chain, in which he serves against, or at any rate without, any volition of his own.

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

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

· The more the fruits of knowledge become accessible to men, the more widespread is the decline of religious belief.

· The most complicated achievements of thought are possible without the assistance of consciousness.

· The only bodily organ which is really regarded as inferior is the atrophied penis, a girl's clitoris.

· The paranoid is never entirely mistaken.

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

· The psychoanalysis of individual human beings, however, teaches us with quite special insistence that the god of each of them is formed in the likeness of his father, that his personal relation to God depends on his relation to his father in the flesh and oscillates and changes along with that relation, and that at bottom God is nothing other than an exalted father.

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

· These patients have turned away from outer reality; it is for this reason that they are more aware than we of inner reality and can reveal to us things which without them would remain impenetrable.

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

· The time comes when each of us has to give up as illusions the expectations which, in his youth, he pinned upon his fellow-men, and when he may learn how much difficulty and pain has been added to his life by their ill-will.

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

· 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.

· 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; they must in the end go out into 'hostile life'. We may call this 'education to reality. Need I confess to you that the whole purpose of my book is to point out the necessity for this forward step?

· Time spent with cats is never wasted.

· Toward the person who has died we adopt a special attitude: something like admiration for someone who has accomplished a very difficult task.

· We know less about the sexual life of little girls than of boys. But we need not feel ashamed of this distinction; after all, the sexual life of adult women is a dark continent for psychology.

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

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

· 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.

· We may insist as often as we like that man's intellect is powerless in comparison to his instinctual life, and we may be right in this. Nevertheless, there is something peculiar about this weakness. The voice of the intellect is a soft one, but it will not rest until it has gained a hearing. Finally, after a countless succession of rebuffs, it succeeds.

· We need not deplore the renunciation of historical truth when we put forward rational grounds for the precepts of civilization. The truths contained in religious doctrines are after all so distorted and systematically disguised that the mass of humanity cannot recognize them as truth. The case is similar to what happens when we tell a child that new-born babies are brought by the stork. Here, too, we are telling the truth in symbolic clothing, for we know what the large bird signifies . But the child does not know it. He hears only the distorted part of what we say, and feels that he has been deceived; and we know how often his distrust of the grown-ups and his refractoriness actually take their start from this impression. We have become convinced that it is better to avoid such symbolic disguisings of the truth in what we tell children and not to withhold from them a knowledge of the true state of affairs commensurate with their intellectual level.

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

· "What do women want?" The only thing I have learned in fifty-two years is that women want men to stop asking dumb questions like that.

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

· 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.

· When a man is freed of religion, he has a better chance to live a normal and wholesome life.

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

· Where id was, there ego shall be.

· Where questions of religion are concerned, people are guilty of every possible sort of dishonesty and intellectual misdemeanour.

· When making a decision of minor importance, I have always found it advantageous to consider all the pros and cons. In vital matters, however, such as the choice of a mate or a profession, the decision should come from the unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves. In the important decisions of personal life, we should be governed, I think, by the deep inner needs of our nature.

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

· Woe to you, my Princess, when I come. I will kiss you quite red and feed you till you are plump. And if you are froward, you shall see who is the stronger, a gentle little girl who doesn't eat enough, or a big wild man who has cocaine in his body. - A love letter from Freud to his fiancée.

· Yes, America is gigantic, but a gigantic mistake.

· You wanted to kill your father in order to be your father yourself. Now you are your father, but a dead father.

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