November 1966

What Do We Do With It?

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1966;15(5):449. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1966.01730170001001

MY GRANDSON, aged 5 years, has an insatiable curiosity about the fascinating world of which he is a part, and an intense drive to master its complexities. But he also has a practical mind, for he always asks about a new thing: "What do we do with it?" How can I say to him that the true scientist is supposed to be curious without reference to purpose or utility? I would lose his trust and he would reject the assigned direct lineal role of fourth-generation psychiatrist.

The child with his yet undistorted and unrepressed native intelligence has transcended the scientific taboo against "teleological causation" when he asks the common sense question "what for" or "why." He is supported by C. J. Herrick1 who states: "In natural processes there is no dissociation of things and their properties, matter and energy, mechanisms and what they do, organs and their functions,

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