Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Donald Woods Winnicott

English Pediatrician, Psychiatrist, Sociologist and Psychoanalyst

"Creativity is the retention throughout life of something that belongs properly to infant experience: the ability to create the world. . . . By creative living I mean not getting killed or annihilated all the time by compliance or by reacting to the world that impinges; I mean seeing everything afresh all the time… When we are surprised at ourselves we are being creative, and we find we can trust our own unexpected originality."

"Human beings are not animals; they are animals plus a wealth of fantasy, psyche, soul, or inner world potential or whatever you will."

"Our power to think things out about human nature… is liable to be blocked by our fear of the full implication of what we find."

"It is creative perception more than anything else that makes the individual feel that life is worth living."

"It is a joy to be hidden, and disaster not to be found."

"Tell me what you fear and I will tell you what has happened to you."

"The mother gazes at the baby in her arms, and the baby gazes at his mother's face and finds himself therein... provided that the mother is really looking at the unique, small, helpless being and not projecting her own expectations, fears, and plans for the child. In that case, the child would find not himself in his mother's face, but rather the mother's own projections. This child would remain without a mirror, and for the rest of his life would be seeking this mirror in vain."

"What is a normal child like? Does he just eat and grow and smile sweetly? No, that is not what he is like. The normal child, if he has confidence in mother and father, pulls out all the stops. In the course of time, he tries out his power to disrupt, to destroy, to frighten, to wear down, to waste, to wangle, and to appropriate . . . At the start he absolutely needs to live in a circle of love and strength (with consequent tolerance) if he is not to be too fearful of his own thoughts and of his imaginings to make progress in his emotional development."