The goal towards which the pleasure principle impels us – of becoming happy – is not attainable: yet we may not – nay, cannot – give up the efforts to come nearer to realization of it by some means or other.
It is impossible to escape the impression that people commonly use false standards of measurement – that they seek power, success and wealth for themselves and admire them in others, and that they underestimate what is of true value in life.
Where questions of religion are concerned, people are guilty of every possible sort of dishonesty and intellectual misdemeanour.
What we call happiness in the strictest sense comes from the (preferably sudden) satisfaction of needs which have been dammed up to a high degree, and it is from its nature only possible as an episodic phenomenon.
Towards the outside, at any rate, the ego seems to maintain clear and sharp lines of demarcation. There is only one state – admittedly an unusual state, but not one that can be stigmatized as pathological – in which it does not do this. At the height of being in love the boundary between ego and object threatens to melt away. Against all the evidence of his senses, a man who is in love declares that ‘I’ and ‘you’ are one, and is prepared to behave as if it were a fact.
The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind.
The ego represents what may be called reason and common sense, in contrast to the id, which contains the passions.
It would be very nice if there were a God who created the world and was a benevolent Providence, and if there were a moral order in the universe and an after-life; but it is a very striking fact that all this is exactly as we are bound to wish it to be.
It is impossible to overlook the extent to which civilization is built up upon a renunciation of instinct.
It goes without saying that a civilization which leaves so large a number of its participants unsatisfied and drives them into revolt neither has nor deserves the prospect of a lasting existence.