The wisdom of Margaret Mead.

 

Margaret Mead small group

Controversial academic, women’s rights activist and one of the world’s best-known anthropologists, Dr. Margaret Mead‘s reports and attitudes on sex in South Pacific and SE Asian cultures informed the 1960s’ sexual revolution in the West.

She herself was thrice married, and thought by many to be bisexual. She did fieldwork in Polynesia in the 1920s and got her Phd in 1925. A truly fascinating and amazing woman, here is a sampling of what she had to say:

  1. “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
  2. “Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”
  3. “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.”
  4. “And when our baby stirs and struggles to be born it compels humility: what we began is now its own.”
  5. “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.”  
  6. “As long as any adult thinks that he, like the parents and teachers of old, can become introspective, invoking his own youth to understand the youth before him, he is lost.”  
  7. “Every time we liberate a woman, we liberate a man.”  
  8. “Fathers are biological necessities, but social accidents.”  
  9. “For the very first time the young are seeing history being made before it is censored by their elders.”
  10. “Having two bathrooms ruined the capacity to co-operate.”  
  11. “Human nature is potentially aggressive and destructive and potentially orderly and constructive.”
  12. “I do not believe in using women in combat, because females are too fierce.”
  13. “I have a respect for manners as such, they are a way of dealing with people you don’t agree with or like.”
  14. “I learned the value of hard work by working hard.”
  15. “I must admit that I personally measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings.”
  16. “I was brought up to believe that the only thing worth doing was to add to the sum of accurate information in the world.”
  17. “I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had.”
  18. “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.”
  19. “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.”
  20. “Instead of needing lots of children, we need high-quality children.”
  21. “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.”
  22. “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.”

Margaret Mead (Anthropologist/Women’s Rights Activist)

 More Margaret Mead quotes

 

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