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Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History

Norman O. Brown

Top 10 Best Quotes

“Utopian speculations ... must come back into fashion. They are a way of affirming faith in the possibility of solving problems that seem at the moment insoluble. Today even the survival of humanity is a utopian hope.”

“Mankind today is still making history without having any conscious idea of what it really wants or under what conditions it would stop being unhappy; in fact what it is doing seems to be making itself more unhappy and calling that unhappiness progress.”

“Jokes and folklore and poetic metaphor, the wisdom of folly, tell the secret truth.”

“For two thousand years or more man has been subjected to a systematic effort to transform him into an ascetic animal. He remains a pleasure-seeking animal.”

“history of mankind consists in a departure from a condition of undifferentiated primal unity with himself and with nature,”

“Thus prolonged infancy shapes human desires in two contradictory directions: on the one hand, on the subjective side, toward omnipotent indulgence in pleasure freed from the limitations of reality; on the other hand, on the objective side, toward powerless dependence on other people. The two tendencies come into conflict because the early experience of freedom and absorption in pleasure must succumb to the recognition of the reality-principle, in a capitulation enforced by parental authority under the threat of loss of parental love”

“The human libido is essentially narcissistic, but it seeks a world to love as it loves itself.”

“The human ego must face the Dionysian reality, and therefore a great work of self-transformation lies ahead of it. For Nietzsche was right in saying that the Apollonian preserves, the Dionysian destroys, self-consciousness.”

“Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment [Verhexung] of our intelligence by means of language.”

“Parental discipline, religious denunciation of bodily pleasure, and philosophic exaltation of the life of reason have all left man overtly docile, but secretly in his unconscious unconvinced, and therefore neurotic”

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Book Keywords:

humanity, asceticism, love, utopia, annalee-newitz, primacy-of-the-intellect, dystopia, pleasure

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