Margaret Mead was an anthropologist known for her work on the relationship of culture and personality. Mead's early work stressed the cultural basis of gender roles while later she wrote about the biological influence on male and female behaviors, too. She became a prominent lecturer and writer on family and child-rearing issues.
Margaret Mead's research -- especially her work in Samoa -- has come under more recent criticism for inaccuracies and naivete, but she remains a pioneer in the field of anthropology.
Selected Margaret Mead Quotations
• Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. [citation]
• I must admit that I personally measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings.
• I was brought up to believe that the only thing worth doing was to add to the sum of accurate information in the world.
• 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.
• It may be necessary temporarily to accept a lesser evil, but one must never label a necessary evil as good.
• Life in the twentieth century is like a parachute jump: you have to get it right the first time.
• What people say, what people do, and what they say they do are entirely different things.
• Even though the ship may go down, the journey goes on.
• I learned the value of hard work by working hard.
• Sooner or later I'm going to die, but I'm not going to retire.
• The way to do fieldwork is never to come up for air until it is all over.
• The ability to learn is older -- as it is also more widespread -- than is the ability to teach.
• 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.
• I have spent most of my life studying the lives of other peoples -- faraway peoples -- so that Americans might better understand themselves.
• A city must be a place where groups of women and men are seeking and developing the highest things they know.
• Our humanity rests upon a series of learned behaviors, woven together into patterns that are infinitely fragile and never directly inherited.
• 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.
• The negative cautions of science are never popular. If the experimentalist would not commit himself, the social philosopher, the preacher, and the pedagogue tried the harder to give a short-cut answer.