“Any intelligent child would have known that. Of course, such simple-minded clarity had to be educated out of people to make them normal members of society, especially American society.” Szasz studied both Freud and his critics, but he was especially taken with a prominent Hungarian writer named Frigyes Karinthy. In one particular short story, Karinthy included the following dialogue between two psychiatrists, one of which is having a delusion of insanity:
Psychiatrist: So, am I insane?In 1956, Szasz accepted a post at SUNY-Syracuse.
Colleague: Well, since you have a delusion, evidently you are.
Psychiatrist: Oh, no, there you go again! Now you say that if I have a delusion, I am insane. But you just said that I am insane. In that case, my belief is not a delusion, but a correct idea. Therefore I have no delusion. Therefore I am not, after all, insane. It is only a delusion that I am insane; hence I have a delusion; hence I am insane; hence I am right; hence I am not insane. Isn’t psychiatry a magnificent science?
Colleague: The most magnificent, my dearest colleague! But of course it’s necessary to master it as well as only you or I have.