Man as a political animal

  • Eric Berne
Keywords: ego, evil, political images, reality principle


In the old days, scientists left politics to the Wilsons and Hapsburgs, but nowadays, it is the duty of every citizen to interest himself in world events, lest they overwhelm him and all his fellow citizens. The psychiatrists and the physicists, who are deeply concerned with studying the realities of man and nature, can no longer remain aloof, but must tell the world what they know of its probable future, even at the risk of becoming involved in outside affairs and of being criticised. It is no longer wise for scientists to refrain from expressing strong opinions and bringing strong influence to bear in a vigorous attempt to change the trend of history. The following short sections are an attempt to show people how psychiatrists can help them think more clearly about political events. A few selected subjects only have been touched upon but, even today, psychiatry has enough to say about the psychology of masses of people in political situations to constitute a separate department of ‘political psychiatry’, and to fill a textbook in the near future with useful and pertinent observations and principles. Psychiatrists, even more than physicists, should and must concern themselves with political affairs. Originally published as an Appendix in Berne's (1947) first book The Mind in Action, it is reproduced with permission from the Berne estate.


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How to Cite
Berne, E. (2020). Man as a political animal. Psychotherapy & Politics International, 18(3), e1568. Retrieved from