Repression Quotes

Quotes tagged as "repression" Showing 1-30 of 178
John Steinbeck
“And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.”
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

Sigmund Freud
“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”
Sigmund Freud

Karl Marx
“The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”
Karl Marx

Harry Truman
“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear."

[Special Message to the Congress on the Internal Security of the United States, August 8, 1950]”
Harry S. Truman

Noam Chomsky
“Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.”
Noam Chomsky, Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda

Marjane Satrapi
“When we're afraid, we lose all sense of analysis and reflection. Our fear paralyzes us. Besides, fear has always been the driving force behind all dictators' repression.”
Marjane Satrapi, The Complete Persepolis

Bessel A. van der Kolk
“As long as you keep secrets and suppress information, you are fundamentally at war with yourself…The critical issue is allowing yourself to know what you know. That takes an enormous amount of courage.”
Bessel A. van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

Cora Carmack
“I get what it's like to want something, but to try and force yourself to really believe that you don't.”
Cora Carmack, Losing It

Rabih Alameddine
“I wonder if being sane means disregarding the chaos that is life, pretending only an infinitesimal segment of it is reality.”
Rabih Alameddine, Koolaids: The Art of War

Frank Herbert
“How often it is that the angry man rages denial of what his inner self is telling him.”
Frank Herbert, Dune

Catherynne M. Valente
“This is what it means to be a woman in this world. Every step is a bargain with pain. Make your black deals in the black wood and decide what you’ll trade for power. For the opposite of weakness, which is not strength but hardness. I am a trap, but so is everything. Pick your price. I am a huckster with a hand in your pocket. I am freedom and I will eat your heart.”
Catherynne M. Valente, Six-Gun Snow White

Wilhelm Reich
“Because you have no memory for things that happened ten or twenty years ago, you're still mouthing the same nonsense as two thousand years ago. Worse, you cling with might and main to such absurdities as 'race,' 'class,' 'nation,' and the obligation to observe a religion and repress your love.”
Wilhelm Reich, Listen, Little Man!

Alice   Miller
“Without realizing that the past is constantly determining their present actions, they avoid learning anything about their history. They continue to live in their repressed childhood situation, ignoring the fact that is no longer exists, continuing to fear and avoid dangers that, although once real, have not been real for a long time.”
Alice Miller, The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self

Tom Robbins
“If desire causes suffering, it may be because we do not desire wisely, or that we are inexpert at obtaining what we desire. Instead of hiding our heads in a prayer cloth and building walls against temptation, why not get better at fulfilling desire? Salvation is for the feeble, that's what I think. I don't want salvation, I want life, all of life, the miserable as well as the superb. If the gods would tax ecstasy, then I shall pay; however, I shall protest their taxes at each opportunity, and if Woden or Shiva or Buddha or that Christian fellow--what's his name?--cannot respect that, then I'll accept their wrath. At least I will have tasted the banquet that they have spread before me on this rich, round planet, rather than recoiling from it like a toothless bunny. I cannot believe that the most delicious things were placed here merely to test us, to tempt us, to make it the more difficult for us to capture the grand prize: the safety of the void. To fashion of life such a petty game is unworthy of both men and gods.”
Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

Paulo Coelho
“As she had been walking from the ward to that room, she had felt such pure hatred that now she had no more rancor left in her heart. She had finally allowed her negative feelings to surface, feelings that had been repressed for years in her soul. She had actually FELT them, and they were no longer necessary, they could leave.”
Paulo Coelho, Veronika Decides to Die

Alexander Lowen
“There are many roles that people play and many images that they project. There is, for example, the "nice" man who is always smiling and agreeable. "Such a nice man," people say. "He never gets angry." The facade always covers its opposite expression. Inside, such a person is full of rage that he dares not acknowledge or show. Some men put up a tough exterior to hide a very sensitive, childlike quality. Even failure can be a role. Many masochistic characters engage in the game of failure to cover an inner feeling of superiority. An outward show of superiority could bring down on them the jealous wrath of the father and the threat of castration. As long as they act like failures they can retain some sexuality, since they are not a threat to her father.”
Alexander Lowen, Fear of Life

Alexander Lowen
“The cases described in this section (The Fear of Being) may seem extreme, but I have become convinced that they are not as uncommon as one would think. Beneath the seemingly rational exterior of our lives is a fear of insanity. We dare not question the values by which we live or rebel against the roles we play for fear of putting our sanity into doubt. We are like the inmates of a mental institution who must accept its inhumanity and insensitivity as caring and knowledgeableness if they hope to be regarded as sane enough to leave. The question who is sane and who is crazy was the theme of the novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. The question, what is sanity? was clearly asked in the play Equus.
The idea that much of what we do is insane and that if we want to be sane, we must let ourselves go crazy has been strongly advanced by R.D. Laing. In the preface to the Pelican edition of his book The Divided Self, Laing writes: "In the context of our present pervasive madness that we call normality, sanity, freedom, all of our frames of reference are ambiguous and equivocal." And in the same preface: "Thus I would wish to emphasize that our 'normal' 'adjusted' state is too often the abdication of ecstasy, the betrayal of our true potentialities; that many of us are only too successful in acquiring a false self to adapt to false realities."
Wilhelm Reich had a somewhat similar view of present-day human behavior. Thus Reich says, "Homo normalis blocks off entirely the perception of basic orgonotic functioning by means of rigid armoring; in the schizophrenic, on the other hand, the armoring practically breaks down and thus the biosystem is flooded with deep experiences from the biophysical core with which it cannot cope." The "deep experiences" to which Reich refers are the pleasurable streaming sensations associated with intense excitation that is mainly sexual in nature. The schizophrenic cannot cope with these sensations because his body is too contracted to tolerate the charge. Unable to "block" the excitation or reduce it as a neurotic can, and unable to "stand" the charge, the schizophrenic is literally "driven crazy."
But the neurotic does not escape so easily either. He avoids insanity by blocking the excitation, that is, by reducing it to a point where there is no danger of explosion, or bursting. In effect the neurotic undergoes a psychological castration. However, the potential for explosive release is still present in his body, although it is rigidly guarded as if it were a bomb. The neurotic is on guard against himself, terrified to let go of his defenses and allow his feelings free expression. Having become, as Reich calls him, "homo normalis," having bartered his freedom and ecstasy for the security of being "well adjusted," he sees the alternative as "crazy." And in a sense he is right. Without going "crazy," without becoming "mad," so mad that he could kill, it is impossible to give up the defenses that protect him in the same way that a mental institution protects its inmates from self-destruction and the destruction of others.”
Alexander Lowen, Fear of Life

Tom Robbins
“...ideas are definitely unstable, they not only CAN be misused, they invite misuse--and the better the idea the more volatile it is. That's because only the better ideas turn into dogma, and it is this process whereby a fresh, stimulating, humanly helpful idea is changed into robot dogma that is deadly. In terms of hazardous vectors released, the transformation of ideas into dogma rivals the transformation of hydrogen into helium, uranium into lead, or innocence into corruption. And it is nearly as relentless.

The problem starts at the secondary level, not with the originator or developer of the idea but with the people who are attracted by it, who adopt it, who cling to it until their last nail breaks, and who invariably lack the overview, flexibility, imagination, and most importantly, sense of humor, to maintain it in the spirit in which it was hatched. Ideas are made by masters, dogma by disciples, and the Buddha is always killed on the road.

There is a particularly unattractive and discouragingly common affliction called tunnel vision, which, for all the misery it causes, ought to top the job list at the World Health Organization. Tunnel vision is a disease in which perception is restricted by ignorance and distorted by vested interest. Tunnel vision is caused by an optic fungus that multiplies when the brain is less energetic than the ego. It is complicated by exposure to politics. When a good idea is run through the filters and compressors of ordinary tunnel vision, it not only comes out reduced in scale and value but in its new dogmatic configuration produces effects the opposite of those for which it originally was intended.

That is how the loving ideas of Jesus Christ became the sinister cliches of Christianity. That is why virtually every revolution in history has failed: the oppressed, as soon as they seize power, turn into the oppressors, resorting to totalitarian tactics to "protect the revolution." That is why minorities seeking the abolition of prejudice become intolerant, minorities seeking peace become militant, minorities seeking equality become self-righteous, and minorities seeking liberation become hostile (a tight asshole being the first symptom of self-repression).”
Tom Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker

Criss Jami
“Tension, in the long run, is a more dangerous force than any feud known to man.”
Criss Jami, Killosophy

Mohamed ElBaradei
“When you have half of Caironese in slums, when you don't have clean water, when you don't have a sewer system, when you don't have electricity, and on top of that you live under one of the most repressive regimes right now... Well, put all that together, and it's a ticking bomb. It's not of a question of threat; it is question of looking around at the present environment and making a rational prognosis.”
Mohamed ElBaradei

Alexander Lowen
“While the repression of a memory is a psychological process, the suppression of feeling is accomplished by deadening a part of the body or reducing its motility so that feeling is diminished. The repression of the memory is dependent upon and related to the suppression of feeling, for as long as the feeling persists, the memory remains vivid. Suppression entails the development of chronic muscular tension in those areas of the body where the feeling would be experienced. In the case of sexual feeling, this tension is found in and about the abdomen and pelvis”
Alexander Lowen, Fear of Life

Nell Freudenberger
“... you sometimes had to force people to say things they would rather not articulate, just so they could hear their own words. It was interesting the way people could know things and not know them at the same time. Denial, he said, was like a thick stone wall.”
Nell Freudenberger, The Dissident

Victor Serge
“Carelessness on the part of revolutionaries has always been the best aid the police have.”
Victor Serge

Herbert Marcuse
“The psychoanalytic liberation of memory explodes the rationality of the repressed individual. As cognition gives way to re-cognition, the forbidden images and impulses of childhood begin to tell the truth that reason denies.”
Herbert Marcuse, Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud

Matt Haig
“Everyone represses everything. Do you think any of these "normal" human beings really do exactly what they want to do all the time? 'Course not. It's just the same. We're middle-class and we're British. Repression is in our veins.”
Matt Haig, The Radleys

Vironika Tugaleva
“When we get hurt, our bodies immediately start trying to heal that hurt. This works for emotions as well. If we were scarred socially, by an incident of rejection or bullying, we immediately start trying to heal. Like pus comes out of wounds, emotions flow from psychological wounds.

And what do we really need at that moment? When we are out of that dangerous situation that scarred us, and we become triggered by some little thing - what do we need? Do we need someone to look at us and say, "Wow, you're really sensitive, aren't you?" or "Hey, man, I didn't mean it like that."? Do we need someone to justify their actions or tell us to take it easy, because the situation didn't really require such a reaction?

And, from ourselves, do we really need four pounds of judgment with liberal helpings of shame? Do we need to run away, to suppress, to hate our "over-sensitivity" to situations that seem innocuous to others?

No. We do not need all of these versions of rejection of a natural healing process. You would not feel shame over a wound doing what it must do to heal, nor would you shame another. So why do we do this to our heart wounds? Why do we do it to ourselves? To others?

Next time some harmless situation triggers you or someone around you into an intense emotion - realize it's an attempt at emotional healing. Realize the danger is no longer there, but don't suppress the healing of old dangers and old pains. Allow the pain. Don't react, but don't repress. Embrace the pain. Embrace the pain of others.

Like this, we have some chance at healing the endless cycles of generational repression and suppression that are rolling around in our society.

Fall open. Break open. Sit with others' openness. Let love be your medicine.”
Vironika Tugaleva

“First Afghanistan, now Iraq. So who's next? Syria? North Korea? Iran? Where will it all end?' If these illegal interventions are permitted to continue, the implication seems to be, pretty soon, horror of horrors, no murderously repressive regimes might remain.”
Daniel Kofman, A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq

Michel Foucault
“It is pointless to ask: Why then is sex so secret? What is this force that so long reduced it to silence and has only recently relaxed its hold somewhat, allowing us to question it perhaps, but always in the context of and through its repression? In reality, this question, so often repeated nowadays, is but the recent form of a considerable affirmation and a secular prescription: there is where the truth is; go see if you can uncover it. [...] It is reasonable therefore to ask first of all: What is this injunction? Why this great chase after the truth of sex, the truth in sex?”
Michel Foucault

“Repress the natural and it comes back even stronger: not everyone can be a fetishist”
Philippe Lejeune

“Silence descended on the house. [....] Amma must have sensed that this was the sort of silence that, left unchallenged, could consume the family from within.”
Vivek Shanbhag, Ghachar Ghochar

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