Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Karl Menninger, fully Karl Augustus Menninger

American Psychiatrist, Founded the Menninger Foundation and Menninger Clinic

"Attitudes are more important than facts."

"Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward, and we want to sit in their radius. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand."

"Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out."

"Love cures people - both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it."

"Money-giving is a good criterion of a person's mental health. Generous people are rarely mentally ill people."

"What's done to children, they will do to society."

"One does not fall in love; one grows into love, and love grows in him."

"One of the most untruthful things possible, you know, is a collection of facts, because they can be made to appear so many different ways. "

"Unrest of the spirit is a mark of life; one problem after another presents itself and in the solving of them we can find our greatest pleasure. "

"Clinical experience has indicated that where a child has been exposed early in his live to episodes of physical violence, whether he himself is the victim or ... the witness, he will often later demonstrate similar outbursts of uncontrollable rage and violence of his own. Aggression becomes an easy outlet through which the child's frustrations and tensions flow, not just because of a simple matter of learning that can be just as simply unlearned, not just because he is imitating a bad behavior model and can be taught to imitate something more constructive, but because these traumatic experiences have overwhelmed him. His own emotional development is too immature to withstand the crippling inner effects of outer violence. Something happens to the child's character, to his sense of reality, to the development of his controls against impulses that may not later be changed easily but which may lead to reactions that in turn provoke more reactions - one or more of which may be criminal. Then society reacts against him for what he did, but more for what all of us have done - unpleasantly - to one another. Upon him is laid the iniquity of us all."

"Self-love is not opposed to the love of other people. You cannot really love yourself and do yourself a favor without doing people a favor, and vise versa. "

"The adjuration to be "normal" seems shockingly repellent to me; I see neither hope nor comfort in sinking to that low level. I think it is ignorance that makes people think of abnormality only with horror and allows them to remain undismayed at the proximity of "normal" to average and mediocre. For surely anyone who achieves anything is, essentially, abnormal."

"What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches."

"Before we can diminish our sufferings from the ill-controlled aggressive assaults of fellow citizens, we must renounce the philosophy of punishment, the obsolete, vengeful penal attitude. In its place we would seek a comprehensive, constructive social attitude - therapeutic in some instances, restraining in some instances, but preventive in its total social impact. In the last analysis this becomes a question of personal morals and values. No matter how glorified or how piously disguised, vengeance as a human motive must be personally repudiated by each and every one of us. This is the message of old religions and new psychiatries. Unless this message is heard, unless we ... can give up our delicious satisfactions in opportunities for vengeful retaliation on scapegoats, we cannot expect to preserve our peace, our public safety, or our mental health... the punitive attitude persists. And just so long as the spirit of vengeance has the slightest vestige of respectability, so long as it pervades the public mind and infuses its evil upon the statute books of the law, we will make no headway toward the control of crime. We cannot assess the most appropriate and effective penalties so long as we seek to inflict retaliatory pain. "

"The voice of the intelligence is drowned out by the roar of fear. It is ignored by the voice of desire. It is contradicted by the voice of shame. It is biased by hate and extinguished by anger. Most of all it is silenced by ignorance."

"Illness is in part what the world has done to a victim, but in a larger part it is what the victim has done with his world, and with himself."

"To "know thyself" must mean to know the malignancy of one's own instincts and to know, as well, one's power to deflect it."

"Psychoanalysis has changed American psychology from a diagnostic to a therapeutic science, not because so many patients are cured by the psychoanalytic technique, but because of the new understanding of psychiatric patients it has given us, and the new and different concept of illness and health. "

"The secret cruelties that parents visit upon their children are past belief. "

"To cease to be loved is for the child practically synonymous with ceasing to live. "