Study Guide

Sigmund Freud Quotes

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Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy. [From The Interpretation of Dreams]

If you know one thing about me, it's probably that I wrote a book called The Interpretation of Dreams (1899). The bummer is that over the years the ideas in this book have been watered down and misinterpreted by pop psychology. But when this book came out, it was a real game-changer. The Interpretation of Dreams is the Bible of psychoanalysis.

Ever have one of those crazy dreams that you find fascinating, so you go and recount it in excruciating detail, and bore your friends to death in the telling? Well, I love dreams. The kookier, the better. So you can totally retell yours to me.

But first, there are a couple things you need to know: for one thing, dreams are symbolic. So flying in a dream isn't just flying, know what I'm sayin'? My dream research inevitably relates everything back to sex and everyone's favorite complex, the Oedipus complex, but I'll admit it's more complicated than that. In the end, it's key to remember that dreams are wishes that sometimes we cannot face up to ourselves.

In any account of the theory of repression it would have to be laid down that a thought becomes repressed as a result of the continued influence upon it of [...] the censorship of [the Unconscious]. [From The Interpretation of Dreams]

My therapy office is the original chat room, because I developed the use of talk therapy as a way of helping patients come to terms with their issues. Everyone's got 'em. You can't bury that anger against your brother or else something far more ugly will come out later. Basically my patients lie on the Therapy Couch, an exotic piece of furniture with all manner of eastern-style blankets and pillows on it.

You may have seen photographs of me sitting in my treatment room. I always sit behind the patient, so he or she can't see me. That way I can doodle and roll my eyes when I get bored, annoyed, or nauseated. We just have long discussions until I start to detect certain patterns, like the patient's fixation on the neighbor's parakeet, which reveals harrowing, deep-seated feelings and anxieties that I am not at liberty to share with you—but trust me, they're wacky. That particular patient had a seriously messed up childhood. I'm just glad she found me!

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. [From absolutely nowhere]

Okay—let's get one thing straight: I never said this. People just started crediting me with this silly line, assuming that because I usually say that everything is a phallic symbol (my fancy phrase for "looks like a penis"), I would say something along these lines. Now, I loved me some cigars—sometimes puffing on twenty a day. This quotation has me implying that I don't think everything has hidden symbolic meaning—which just ain't true. A cigar is never just a cigar.

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. [From The Interpretation of Dreams]

Just because I was really into digging into the deep recesses of the mind doesn't mean I thought that reality was always best. Look: the imagination has plenty of healthy aspects to it—who cares if we need some creative distortion to get through the day?

Now, some people take the whole fantasy thing too far and refuse to deal with reality. They see the whole world through twisted eyes. This self-delusion can only lead you down the road of harsh awareness. However, if we can find a balance between the objective world and a little healthy daydreaming, we won't end up a mess when things don't work out as planned.

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. [From Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality]

I just love to study sexuality—and if you love it too, check out my Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. (No pictures, so don't get all excited). I can talk about sexuality all day. Especially so-called deviant sexuality—you know all those things considered "not normal" or "perverse"? That stuff's the good stuff.

See, we all have scads of sexual urges stored away in our unconscious minds. I even intrepidly claim that kids are born with sexual urges (what do you think all that thumb sucking and sibling rivalry is about? Hello!).

In this quotation, I point out that sadism and masochism are like yin and yang—one cannot exist without the other. A person isn't just a sadist or just a masochist—why limit yourself? Someone who derives pleasure from inflicting pain in a sexual relationship will for sure dig experiencing pain him or herself. One side is active, the other passive, but they're both part of the same coin.

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