The Fish Story

Occasionally students stumble across my dissertation in the University of Delaware library and find the following passage prefacing my work:
       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.  Sometime 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.

                            Karl A. Menninger (b.1893)
                            "The Human Mind"

My reason for including this in my dissertation:

As an early psychoanalyst, Karl Menninger was probably referring to the criminal mind in this passage. I thought it actually mapped nicely onto the frustrations and joys associated with research and the difficulties that come in trying to explain it to those having no experience with the process. (My brother-in-law is an avid fisherman though!) You may find it of some solace in the future as you attempt to justify your actions regarding the things that "hook" you.


Comments, suggestions, or requests to ghw@udel.edu.