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Anyone who wants to know the human psyche will learn next to nothing from experimental psychology. He would be better advised to [abandon exact science] put away his scholar’s gown, bid farewell to his study, and wander with human heart throughout the world. There in the horrors of prisons, lunatic asylums and hospitals, in drab suburban pubs, in brothels and gambling-hells, in the salons of the elegant, the Stock Exchanges, Socialist meetings, churches, revivalist gatherings and ecstatic sects, through love and hate, through the experience of passion in every form in his own body, he would reap richer stores of knowledge than text-books a foot thick could give him and he will know how to doctor the sick with a real knowledge of the human soul.

Carl Jung (1875-1961) Swiss psychologist
“New Paths in Psychology,” ¶ 411 (1912)
Added on 3-May-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
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Herr Docktor Getwin Mittelmind (PhD, MD, BFA, University of Salzburg) was a spark who specialized in mad psychology. A specialized field to be sure. He was not locked away in Castle Heterodyne because he built giant anteaters. No, he was locked away in Castle Heterodyne because he could take a perfectly ordinary group of people and within six days they would build a giant anteater — because it was the logical thing to do.

Phil Foglio (b. 1956) American writer, cartoonist
Agatha H. and the Siege of Mechanicsburg (2020) [with Kaja Foglio]
Added on 13-Dec-21 | Last updated 13-Dec-21
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As an experimental psychologist, I have been trained not to believe anything unless it can be demonstrated in the laboratory on rats or sophomores.

Steven Pinker (b. 1954) Canadian-American cognitive psychologist, linguist, author
Words and Rules, ch. 4 (1999)
Added on 16-Jun-21 | Last updated 16-Jun-21
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If a man were to leap off the Eiffel Tower, mathematics could predict how long it would take him to hit the ground, but not why he chose to jump in the first place.

Ian Stewart b. 1945) English mathematician, author
Does God Play Dice? (1989)
Added on 20-Jan-21 | Last updated 20-Jan-21
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Psychiatry is all biological and all social. there is no mental function without brain and social context. To ask how much of mind is biological and how much social is as meaningless as to ask how much of the area of a rectangle is due to its width and how much to its height, or how much of the phenotype is due to genes and how much to environment.

Leon Eisenberg (1922-2009) American psychiatrist and medical educator
“The social construction of the human brain,” American Journal of Psychiatry (Nov 1995)
Added on 28-Jul-20 | Last updated 28-Jul-20
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Human psychology has a near-universal tendency to let belief be colored by desire.

Richard Dawkins (b. 1941) English ethologist, evolutionary biologist, author
The God Delusion (2006)
Added on 23-Jun-20 | Last updated 23-Jun-20
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It sometimes seems to me that we are all afflicted with an urge and possessed by a longing for the impossible. The reality around us, the three-dimensional world surrounding us, is too common, too dull, too ordinary for us. We hanker after the unnatural or supernatural, that which does not exist, a miracle. As if that everyday reality isn’t enigmatic enough!

M. C. Escher (1898-1972) Dutch artist [Maurits Cornelius Escher]
“The Impossible”
Added on 4-Mar-16 | Last updated 4-Mar-16
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Yes, he loved his mother like no other,
His daughter was his sister and his son was his brother.
One thing on which you can depend is,
He sure knew who a boy’s best friend is.

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
“Oedipus Rex,” An Evening (Wasted) with Tom Lehrer (1959)
Added on 25-Feb-16 | Last updated 21-Oct-20
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There is a large number of women whose brains are closer in size to the gorillas than to the most developed male brains. This inferiority is so obvious that no one can contest it for a moment; only its degree is worth discussion. All psychologists who have studied the intelligence of women … recognize today that they represent the most inferior forms of human evolution, and that they are closer to children and savages than to an adult, civilized man.

Gustave LeBon (1841-1931) German psychologist
Revue d’Anthropologie (1879)
Added on 10-Feb-16 | Last updated 10-Feb-16
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To work a Man to thy Bent: 1. Know his Inclinations. 2. Observe his Ends. 3. Search out his Weakness. And so thou mayst either draw or drive him.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Introductio ad Prudentiam, #1068 (1725)
Added on 2-Jul-15 | Last updated 26-Jan-21
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In my head there is a permanent opposition-party; and whenever I take any step or come to any decision — though I may have given the matter mature consideration — it afterward attacks what I have done, without, however, being each time necessarily in the right. This is, I suppose, only a form of rectification on the part of the spirit of scrutiny; but it often reproaches me when I do not deserve it.

[In meinem Kopfe giebt es eine stehende Oppositionspartei, die gegen Alles, was ich, wenn auch mit reiflicher Überlegung, gethan, oder beschlossen habe, nachträglich polemisirt, ohne jedoch darum jedesmal Recht zu haben. Sie ist wohl nur eine Form des berichtigenden Prüfungsgeistes, macht mir aber oft unverdiente Vorwürfe.]

Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher
Parerga and Paralipomena, Vol. 2, ch. 26 “Psychological Observations [Psychologische Bemerkungen],” § 345 (1851) [tr. Saunders (1890)]

(Source (German)). Alternate translation:

There is in my mind a standing opposition party which subsequently attacks everything I have done or decided, even after mature consideration, yet without its always being right on that account. It is, I suppose, only a form of the corrective spirit of investigation; but it often casts an unmerited slur on me.
[tr. Payne (1974)]

Added on 15-Oct-13 | Last updated 22-Sep-22
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The secret of my incredible energy and efficiency in getting work done is a simple one. I have based it very deliberately on a well-known psychological principle and have refined it so that it is now almost too refined. I shall have to begin coarsening it up again pretty soon. The psychological principle is this: anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.

Robert Benchley (1889-1945) American humorist
“How to Get Things Done,” Chicago Tribune (2 Feb 1930)
Added on 3-Sep-11 | Last updated 22-Apr-21
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Psychiatry enables us to correct our faults by confessing our parents’ shortcomings.

Lawrence J Peter
Lawrence J. Peter (1919-1990) American educator, management theorist
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 3-Apr-20
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