Hide and Seek Quotes

Rate this book
Clear rating
Hide and Seek: The Psychology of Self-Deception Hide and Seek: The Psychology of Self-Deception by Neel Burton
107 ratings, 3.93 average rating, 7 reviews
Open Preview
Hide and Seek Quotes Showing 1-14 of 14
“According to the Buddha, the failure to recognize the illusion of the self is the source of all ignorance and unhappiness. It is only by renouncing the self, that is, by dropping his ego defences and committing metaphorical suicide, that a person can open up to different modes of being and relating and thereby transform himself into a pure essence of humanity. In so doing, he becomes free to recast himself as a much more joyful and productive person, and attains the only species of transcendence and immortality that is open to man.”
Neel Burton, Hide and Seek: The Psychology of Self-Deception
“It is quite natural to think of the self as something concrete, but it is, in fact, nothing of the sort. Rather, it is an abstract product of our minds, a convenient concept or schema that enables us to relate our present self with our past, future, and conditional selves, and thereby to create an illusion of coherence and continuity from a big jumble of disparate experiences. Indeed, one could go so far as to argue that the self is nothing but the sum total of our ego defences, and that it is therefore tantamount to one gigantic ego defence, namely, the ego itself. The self is like a cracked mask that is in constant need of being pieced together. But behind the mask there is nobody at home.”
Neel Burton, Hide and Seek: The Psychology of Self-Deception
“There are a great number of ego defenses, and the combinations and circumstances in which we use them reflect on our personality. Indeed, one could go so far as to argue that the self is nothing but the sum of its ego defenses, which are constantly shaping, upholding, protecting, and repairing it.
The self is like a cracked mask that is in constant need of being pieced together. But behind the mask there is nobody at home.”
Neel Burton, Hide and Seek: The Psychology of Self-Deception
“It seems to me that there are three principal scales of time, the present moment, a human lifetime, and the eternal. The problem with modern man is not so much that he situates himself in the future of a human lifetime, since he fears death far too much to do that, but rather than he does not situate himself in any of these three scales of time. Instead, he is forever stuck somewhere in-between, this evening, tomorrow morning, next week, next Christmas, in five years’ time. As a result, he has neither the joy of the present moment, nor the satisfied accomplishments of a human lifetime, nor the perspective and immortality of the eternal.”
Neel Burton, Hide and Seek: The Psychology of Self-Deception
“Self-deception is a defining part of our human nature. By recognizing its various forms in ourselves and reflecting upon them, we may be able to disarm them and even, in some cases, to employ and enjoy them. This self-knowledge opens up a whole new world before us, rich in beauty and subtlety, and frees us not only to take the best out of it, but also to give it back the best of ourselves, and, in so doing, to fulfil our potential as human beings. I don't really think it's a choice.”
Neel Burton, Hide and Seek: The Psychology of Self-Deception
“The very purpose of an ego defence such as reification (or indeed any ego defence) is, as the name implies, to protect and uphold a certain crystallized notion of self or 'I'. There is therefore an important sense in which the reifying self is itself reified.”
Neel Burton, Hide and Seek: The Psychology of Self-Deception
“The notion of dream interpretation far antedates the birth of psychoanalysis, and probably served an important function in most, if not all, historical societies. In having lost this function, modern man has also lost the best part of his nature, which he obliviously passes on to the next generation of dreamers.”
Neel Burton, Hide and Seek: The Psychology of Self-Deception
“Man first creates the universe in his image, and then turns round to say that God created man in his image... As Voltaire quipped, if God created man in his image, man has returned the compliment.”
Neel Burton, Hide and Seek: The Psychology of Self-Deception
“According to Aristotle, envy is pain for the presence of good things in others, whereas emulation is pain for their absence in us. This is a subtle but critical difference. Unlike envy, which is self-defeating, emulation is a good thing because it makes us take steps towards securing good things.”
Neel Burton, Hide and Seek: The Psychology of Self-Deception
“By denying the importance of that which most people fear or strive for, the ascetic is able not only to absolve himself from their lot of anxieties and disappointments, but also to search for a higher purpose and perspective, reconnect with the timelessness and universality of the human experience, and, paradoxically, receive the respect, admiration, and honours of the very people whom he repudiated.”
Neel Burton, Hide and Seek: The Psychology of Self-Deception
“For all this, man is embodied and trusting in his senses; he had sooner believe in a sensible improbability than in an insensible uncertainty, that is, sooner worship an idol than grapple with the philosophers.”
Neel Burton, Hide and Seek: The Psychology of Self-Deception
“Although selfhood depends causally upon the existence of the brain, it amounts to something far more than the brain. This something is vague and intangible, and might best be described, I think, as a semi-fictional narrative that is in constant need of writing, editing, and preserving.”
Neel Burton, Hide and Seek: The Psychology of Self-Deception
“The things that people laugh about most are their errors and inadequacies; the difficult challenges that they face such as personal identity, social and sexual relationships, and death; and incongruity, absurdity, and meaninglessness. These are all deeply human concerns and challenges: just as no one has ever seen a laughing dog, so no one has ever heard about a laughing god.”
Neel Burton, Hide and Seek: The Psychology of Self-Deception
“The slighted person may or may not get angry, but he is more likely to get angry if he is in distress – for example, in poverty or in love – or if he feels insecure about the subject of the slight.”
Neel Burton, Hide and Seek: The Psychology of Self-Deception