When I believe, I am crazy. When I don’t believe, I suffer psychotic depression.

What did Philip K. Dick mean by:

When I believe, I am crazy. When I don’t believe, I suffer psychotic depression.


This quote speaks to the delicate balance between belief and disbelief, and the psychological implications of each. When the speaker says “When I believe, I am crazy,” they’re suggesting that believing in something, particularly something that is not widely accepted or understood, can lead to feelings of alienation and misunderstanding, which can feel like madness. On the other hand, “When I don’t believe, I suffer psychotic depression,” suggests that a lack of belief, or skepticism, can lead to a sense of emptiness or despair, a feeling of being unmoored in a world without meaning or purpose.

This quote could be applied to various aspects of today’s world. For instance, in the realm of politics, it could refer to the ‘madness’ of passionately believing in a certain ideology or policy, versus the ‘depression’ of feeling disillusioned or cynical about the political process. In the context of religion, it could refer to the ‘madness’ of fervent faith versus the ‘depression’ of atheism or agnosticism. In terms of personal development, it could speak to the importance of having something to believe in, something that gives life meaning and purpose, even if that belief might seem ‘crazy’ to others.

From a psychological perspective, the quote underscores the importance of belief systems in maintaining mental health. Beliefs, even if they seem irrational or ‘crazy’ to others, can provide a sense of purpose and direction. Conversely, a lack of belief can lead to feelings of aimlessness and despair. In this sense, the quote could be seen as a commentary on the human need for belief, and the psychological consequences of belief and disbelief.

In the realm of personal development, this quote could be interpreted as a call to embrace one’s beliefs, even if they are unconventional or unpopular. It suggests that it is better to be true to one’s beliefs, and risk being seen as ‘crazy’, than to live without belief and suffer the psychological consequences of disbelief. This quote could therefore be seen as an encouragement to pursue one’s passions and convictions, regardless of societal expectations or norms.

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