Misunderstanding Others

It is hard for a free fish to understand what is happening to a hooked one.

Karl A. Menninger, The Human Mind

This quote is a more poetic version of the one I posted yesterday that said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

According to Dr. George Watson at the University of Delaware, Karl Menninger was an early psychoanalyst who was probably referring to the criminal mind in this quote. Dr. Watson provides an expanded context of the quote.

When a trout rising to a fly gets hooked and finds himself unable to swim about freely, he begins a fight which results in struggles and splashes and sometimes an escape … In the same way, the human stuggles … with the hooks that catch him. Sometimes he masters his difficulties; sometimes they are too much for him. The struggles are all that the world sees, and it usually misunderstands them. It is hard for a free fish to understand what is happening to a hooked one.

Criminal mind or not, it is valuable to try to imagine what another person is thinking or feeling before you make a judgement.

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