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Menninger’s Thoughts on Mental Illness, Freud, War

July 19, 1990

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Here are selected quotations from the books and speeches of Dr. Karl Menninger, the psychiatrist who died Wednesday:

″Gone forever is the notion that the mentally ill person is an exception. It is now accepted that most people have some degree of mental illness at some time, and many of them have a degree of mental illness most of the time. This should not surprise anyone, for do not most of us have some physical illness some of the time and some of us much of the time?″ - from his book, ″The Vital Balance.″

″We all look for miracles in the relief of our distress, but psychotherapy lays no claim to miracle performings. All it can do is to present certain aspects of the truth and by this, as we are often reminded, some are set free. Loneliness may disappear as you know yourself better and become aware of conflicts within that prevent you from getting close to others.″ - from the book ″Man Against Himself.″

″(Sigmund) Freud’s great courage led him to look honestly at the evil in man’s nature. Freud persisted in his researches to the bottom of the jar, and there he found hope. He discerned that love is stronger than hate, that, hence, for all its core of malignancy the nature of man can be transformed through the nurture and dispersion of love. In this way, the destructiveness can be transcended.″ - from the book, ″The Vital Balance.″

″The vast majority of ailing minds never see psychiatrists and never will, and many of them never should. But the principles of psychiatry should be applied all the same. Sometimes they can be self-administered; sometimes, a friend will turn the trick. The family doctor or clergyman often does it. And, sometimes a book will do it.″ - from the book, ″The Human Mind.″

″Most people never see the awfulness of war; they only read about it or hear about it from reporters or survivors. War continues to be a deputized human activity, some citizens are sent out to do what the total citizenry couldn’t and wouldn’t do. The rest of us stand, or sit, a long way off, and watch or listen occasionally.″ - from the book ″Whatever Became of Sin?″

″To many of us, the war in Vietnam seems a prime example of self- destructive ness, one more likely to spread communism and other evils than to control them. Youths are being sacrificed. Money, materials, the country, our own national image and, in many places, our goodwill are being destroyed in a continuing, pointless and - as it seems to many of us - futile military bonfire.″ - Testimony before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, June 19, 1969.

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