Ronald David Laing

Psychiatrist, Physician

1927 – 1989

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Who was Ronald David Laing?

Ronald David Laing, usually cited as R. D. Laing, was a Scottish psychiatrist who wrote extensively on mental illness – in particular, the experience of psychosis. Laing's views on the causes and treatment of serious mental dysfunction, greatly influenced by existential philosophy, ran counter to the psychiatric orthodoxy of the day by taking the expressed feelings of the individual patient or client as valid descriptions of lived experience rather than simply as symptoms of some separate or underlying disorder. Laing was associated with the anti-psychiatry movement, although he rejected the label. Politically, he was regarded as a thinker of the New Left.

Famous Quotes:

  • We are all murderers and prostitutes --no matter to what culture, society, class, nation one belongs, no matter how normal, moral, or mature, one takes oneself to be.
  • Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be break-through. It is potential liberation and renewal as well as enslavement and existential death.
  • Normality highly values its normal man. It educates children to lose themselves and to become absurd, and thus to be normal. Normal men have killed perhaps 100, 000 of their fellow normal men in the last fifty years.
  • From the moment of birth, when the stone-age baby confronts the twentieth-century mother, the baby is subjected to these forces of violence, called love, as its mother and father have been, and their parents and their parents before them. These forces are mainly concerned with destroying most of its potentialities. This enterprise is on the whole successful.
  • There is no such condition as schizophrenia, but the label is a social fact and the social fact a political event.
  • Schizophrenia cannot be understood without understanding despair.
  • The brotherhood of man is evoked by particular men according to their circumstances. But it seldom extends to all men. In the name of our freedom and our brotherhood we are prepared to blow up the other half of mankind and to be blown up in our turn.
  • We are bemused and crazed creatures, strangers to our true selves, to one another, and to the spiritual and material world -- mad, even, from an ideal standpoint we can glimpse but not adopt.
  • Whether life is worth living depends on whether there is love in life.
  • The experience and behavior that gets labeled schizophrenic is a special strategy that a person invents in order to live in an unlivable situation.

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Born
Oct 7, 1927
Govanhill
Also known as
  • Dr. Ronald David Laing
  • R.D. Laing
  • R. D. Laing
Parents
Spouses
Children
Nationality
  • Scotland
  • United Kingdom
Profession
Education
  • University of Glasgow
  • Hutchesons' Grammar School
Lived in
  • Glasgow
Died
Aug 23, 1989
Saint-Tropez

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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