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margaret mead Quotes

Margaret Mead Quotes

Birth Date: 1901-12-16 (Monday, December 16th, 1901)
Date of Death: 1978-11-15 (Wednesday, November 15th, 1978)



    • If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place.
    • To cherish the life of the world.
    • A city is a place where there is no need to wait for next week to get the answer to a question, to taste the food of any country, to find new voices to listen to and familiar ones to listen to again.
    • A city must be a place where groups of women and men are seeking and developing the highest things they know.
    • A society which is clamoring for choice, which is filled with many articulate groups, each urging its own brand of salvation, its own variety of economic philosophy, will give each new generation no peace until all have chosen or gone under, unable to bear the conditions of choice.
    • Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.
    • Anthropology demands the open-mindedness with which one must look and listen, record in astonishment and wonder that which one would not have been able to guess.
    • At times it may be necessary temporarily to accept a lesser evil, but one must never label a necessary evil as good.
    • Be lazy, go crazy.
    • Because of their age-long training in human relations- for that is what feminine intuition really is- women have a special contribution to make to any group enterprise.
    • Chief among our gains must be reckoned this possibility of choice, the recognition of many possible ways of life, where other civilizations have recognized only one. Where other civilizations give a satisfactory outlet to only one temperamental type, be he mystic or soldier, business man or artist, a civilization in which there are many standards offers a possibility of satisfactory adjustment to individuals of many different temperamental types, of diverse gifts and varying interests.
    • Coming to terms with the rhythms of women's lives means coming to terms with life itself, accepting the imperatives of the body rather than the imperatives of an artificial, man-made, perhaps transcendentally beautiful civilization. Emphasis on the male work-rhythm is an emphasis on infinite possibilities; emphasis on the female rhythms is an emphasis on a defined pattern, on limitation.
    • Every time we liberate a woman, we liberate a man.
    • Fathers are biological necessities, but social accidents.
    • For the very first time the young are seeing history being made before it is censored by their elders.
    • Human nature is potentially aggressive and destructive and potentially orderly and constructive.
    • I do not believe in using women in combat, because females are too fierce.
    • I had no reason to doubt that brains were suitable for a woman. And as I had my father's kind of mind- which was also his mother's- I learned that the mind is not sex-typed.
    • I have a respect for manners as such, they are a way of dealing with people you don't agree with or like.
    • I have spent most of my life studying the lives of other peoples- faraway peoples- so that Americans might better understand themselves.
    • I learned the value of hard work by working hard.
    • I must admit that I personally measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings.
    • I think extreme heterosexuality is a perversion.
    • I was brought up to believe that the only thing worth doing was to add to the sum of accurate information in the world.
    • I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had.
    • If one cannot state a matter clearly enough so that even an intelligent twelve-year-old can understand it, one should remain within the cloistered walls of the university and laboratory until one gets a better grasp of one's subject matter.
    • If you associate enough with older people who do enjoy their lives, who are not stored away in any golden ghettos, you will gain a sense of continuity and of the possibility for a full life.
    • In the modern world we have invented ways of speeding up invention, and people's lives change so fast that a person is born into one kind of world, grows up in another, and by the time his children are growing up, lives in still a different world.
    • Instead of being presented with stereotypes by age, sex, color, class, or religion, children must have the opportunity to learn that within each range, some people are loathsome and some are delightful.
    • Instead of needing lots of children, we need high-quality children.
    • It has been a woman's task throughout history to go on believing in life when there was almost no hope.
    • It is an open question whether any behavior based on fear of eternal punishment can be regarded as ethical or should be regarded as merely cowardly.
    • It is utterly false and cruelly arbitrary to put all the play and learning into childhood, all the work into middle age, and all the regrets into old age.
    • I've been married three times- and each time I married the right person.
    • Laughter is man's most distinctive emotional expression.
    • Life in the twentieth century is like a parachute jump: you have to get it right the first time.
    • Man's most human characteristic is not his ability to learn, which he shares with many other species, but his ability to teach and store what others have developed and taught him.
    • Man's role is uncertain, undefined, and perhaps unnecessary.
    • Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
    • No matter how many communes anybody invents, the family always creeps back.
    • Nobody has ever before asked the nuclear family to live all by itself in a box the way we do. With no relatives, no support, we've put it in an impossible situation.
    • Of all the peoples whom I have studied, from city dwellers to cliff dwellers, I always find that at least 50 percent would prefer to have at least one jungle between themselves and their mothers-in-law.
    • Old age is like flying through a storm. Once you're aboard, there's nothing you can do.
    • One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are when you don't come home at night.
    • Our first and most pressing problem is how to do away with warfare as a method of solving conflicts between national groups within a society who have different views about how the society is to run.
    • Our humanity rests upon a series of learned behaviors, woven together into patterns that are infinitely fragile and never directly inherited.
    • Our treatment of both older people and children reflects the value we place on independence and autonomy. We do our best to make our children independent from birth. We leave them all alone in rooms with the lights out and tell them, Go to sleep by yourselves. And the old people we respect most are the ones who will fight for their independence, who would sooner starve to death than ask for help.
    • Prayer does not use up artificial energy, doesn't burn up any fossil fuel, doesn't pollute. Neither does song, neither does love, neither does the dance.
    • Sister is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship.
    • Sooner or later I'm going to die, but I'm not going to retire.
    • Thanks to television, for the first time the young are seeing history made before it is censored by their elders.
    • The ability to learn is older- as it is also more widespread- than is the ability to teach.
    • The institution of marriage in all societies is a pattern within which the strains put by civilization on males and females alike must be resolved, a pattern within which men must learn, in return for a variety of elaborate rewards, new forms in which sexual spontaneity is still possible, and women must learn to discipline their receptivity to a thousand other considerations.
    • The solution to adult problems tomorrow depends on large measure upon how our children grow up today.
    • The United States has the power to destroy the world, but not the power to save it alone.
    • The way to do fieldwork is never to come up for air until it is all over.
    • Throughout history females have picked providers. Males have picked anything.
    • We are living beyond our means. As a people we have developed a life-style that is draining the earth of its priceless and irreplaceable resources without regard for the future of our children and people all around the world.
    • We are now at a point where we must educate our children in what no one knew yesterday, and prepare our schools for what no one knows yet.
    • We may say that many, if not all, of the personality traits which we have called masculine or feminine are as lightly linked to sex as are the clothing, the manners, and the form of headdress that a society at a given period assigns to either sex.
    • We must recognize that beneath the superficial classifications of sex and race the same potentialities exist, recurring generation after generation, only to perish because society has no place for them.
    • We will be a better country when each religious group can trust its members to obey the dictates of their own religious faith without assistance from the legal structure of their country.
    • We women are doing pretty well. We're almost back to where we were in the twenties. (1976)
    • What people say, what people do, and what they say they do are entirely different things.
    • When our baby stirs and struggles to be born it compels humility: what we began is now its own.
    • When human beings have been fascinated by the contemplation of their own hearts, the more intricate biological pattern of the female has become a model for the artist, the mystic, and the saint. When mankind turns instead to what can be done, altered, built, invented, in the outer world, all natural properties of men, animals, or metals become handicaps to be altered rather than clues to be followed. Women want mediocre men, and men are working hard to be as mediocre as possible.
    • margaret mead

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