This I Believe

Weinreb, Joseph

  • Joseph Weinreb reflects on ethics and morality and resolves that nothing is created bad or evil but becomes so Joseph Weinrab reflects on ethics and morality and resolves that nothing is created bad or evil but becomes so misdirection and love, compassion, and hard work are means by which we can achieve a harmonious world.
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And now, This I Believe, the living philosophies of thoughtful men and women, presented in the hope they may strengthen your beliefs so that your life may be richer, fuller, happier. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Dr. Joseph Weinreb is a psychiatrist. During World War II, he was the chief of psychiatric service at Halloran General Hospital in New York. Today main interests are mental health education and projects dealing with community betterment. This is evidenced in his work as the director of the Worcester Youth Guidance Center and in his classes at Clark, Harvard and Boston Universities. Here is Dr. Weinreb.
For as long as I can remember, I have sought answers to questions that puzzled me: the question as to what is right and wrong; what is mine and what is thine; what is good and what is bad. I recall wondering quite early in my life as to why people did certain things, particularly did things to hurt themselves and to hurt others when it profited them not. I wondered why people were greedy towards a destructive end and, thereby, make themselves and others suffer. I wondered why people sought greater and greater power when it brought them, at best, only temporary happiness. As you can see, the good was evident to me, but it was the bad side of life that puzzled me. The answers that I found to these questions have come to be my basic beliefs.
In such a brief time, I can only summarize the answers I found for myself. I have rejected the concept that our Creator has created anything bad or evil. Rather I believe that what comes out as evil or destructive represents the fact that something has gone wrong, so that a force created for constructive use has been diverted into the opposite direction. A wind sometimes becomes destructive, and we may look upon the wind as being something evil, but we forget the multitude of good that it does.
We are often horrified by the power of doing evil that man is possessed of, but we forget that man possesses these powers to do good, and for reasons that need to be understood, perhaps out of some frustration in his own life, uses that for evil ends. It is my belief that these powers were given to
us by our Creator for constructive, good, peaceful use, but that somewhere in each individual something goes wrong when he uses these endowments in the opposite direction.
It is, therefore, my firm belief—and through my everyday life and my work I have found confirmation for my belief—that through understanding, interest, and love, hatred can give way to love, destructive efforts to constructive achievements. Greed can give way to generosity and charity; selfishness to social consciousness; indecency to decency; and unhappiness can give way to happiness. It is my belief that through understanding, one can become more charitable to one’s self, and through that, one can do the same for others, so that one is free to understand and help, rather than be quick to judge and condemn.
These beliefs have brought me peace of mind and happiness, and while they both led to and resulted from my preparation for my profession, I see no reason why it need be a monopoly of my profession. It has led to an interest in compassion for fellow men, to alleviate their sufferings without undue sacrifices on my part. It has led to my being comfortable with myself, for it allows me to understand myself as well as others. I do not expect perfection from others, nor do I for myself. I try not to quickly judge and condemn others, and hope that they will do the same.
That was Dr. Joseph Weinreb, a native of Austria, who lives with his wife and two children in Worcester, Massachusetts.