Sayings of R. D. Laing


Long before a thermonuclear war can come about, we have had to lay waste to our own sanity. We begin with the children. It is imperative to catch them in time.
Without the most thorough and rapid brain-washing their dirty minds would see
through our dirty tricks. Children are not yet fools, but we shall turn them into imbeciles like ourselves, with high I.Q.s if possible.
(Laing, R.D. 1990a. The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise. London: Penguin Books Ltd: p.49)

A little girl of seventeen in a mental hospital told me she was terrified because the Atom Bomb was inside her. That is a delusion. The statesmen of the world who boast and threaten that they have Doomsday weapons are far more dangerous, and far more estranged from ‘reality’ than many of the people on whom the label ‘psychotic’ is affixed.
(Laing, R.D. 1990b. The Divided Self. London: Penguin Books Ltd.
: 12)

We are living in an age in which the ground is shifting and the foundations are
shaking. I cannot answer for other times and places. Perhaps it has always been so. We know it is true today.
((Books Ltd: p. 108)

They are playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me. I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game.
(Laing, R. D. 1974. Knots. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Ltd.
: p. 1)
There is no such “condition” as “schizophrenia,” but the label is a social fact and the social fact a political event”

“Top heavy apparatus of psychodynamics and cognitive psychology is at worst a fantasy and at best a metaphor”.
by Rom Harre [04.11.98}

“What we call ‘normal’ is a product of repression, denial, splitting, projection, introjection and other forms of destructive action on experience. It is radically estranged from the structure of being. The more one sees this, the more senseless it is to continue with generalized descriptions of supposedly specifically schizoid, schizophrenic, hysterical ‘mechanisms.’ There are forms of alienation that are relatively strange to statistically ‘normal’ forms of alienation. The ‘normally’ alienated person, by reason of the fact that he acts more or less like everyone else, is taken to be sane. Other forms of alienation that are out of step with the prevailing state of alienation are those that are labeled by the ‘formal’ majority as bad or mad.”
–R. D. Laing, The Politics of Experience

R.D. Laing – Creative Destroyer [ed] Bob Mullan [1997]. Published by
Cassell. London.
Roberta Russell and R.D. Laing [1992]. R.D. Laing & Me: Lessons in Love.
Hillgarth Press: New York.
Mary Barnes & Joe Berke [1982]. Two Accounts of a Journey Through Madness.
Free Association Books, London.
R. D. Laing [1959 / 1965]. The Divided Self – An Existential Study in Sanity & Madness. Pelican Books.
R. D. Laing [1961]. Self and Others. Pelican Books.
R. D. Laing [1967]. The Politics of Experience & The Bird of Paradise. Penguin Books.
R. D. Laing [1969]. The Politics of the Family [and other essays]. Pelican Books.
R. D. Laing [1970]. Knots. Penguin Books.
R. D. Laing [1976]. The Facts of Life. Penguin Books.
R. D. Laing [1982]. The Voice of Experience – Experience, Science and Psychiatry. Penguin Books.
R. D. Laing & David Cooper [1964]. Reason & Violence – A Decade of Sartre’s Philosophy 1950-1960. Tavistock Publications.
R. D. Laing & A. Esterson [1964 / 1970]. Sanity, Madness and the Family – Families of schizophrenics. Penguin Books.
David Cooper [1971]. The Death of the Family. Pelican Books.
David Cooper [1974]. The Grammar of Living: An Examination of Political Acts. Pelican Books.

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