— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe German writer, artist, and politician 1749 - 1832
As quoted in Human Development : A Science of Growth (1961) by Justin Pikunas, p. 311; this might be based on a translation or paraphrase by Viktor Frankl, to whom it is also sometimes attributed.
:In Wilhelm Meister’s Lehrjahre (Book VIII, Chapter four) Goethe writes:
:“Wenn wir” sagtest Du, “die Menschen nur nehmen, wie sie sind, so machen wir sie schlechter; wenn wir sie behandeln als wären sie, was sie sein sollten, so bringen wir sie dahin, wohin sie zu bringen sind."
:Werke, Hamburger Ausgabe in 14 Bänden, Verlag C. H. Beck München, Herausgegeben von Erich Trunz
: Variant translations:
:*Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.
::* As quoted in My Country Vol. 2, No. 3 (September 1968) by Litchfield Historical Society, p. 23
:* "‘When we take people,’ thou wouldst say, ‘merely as they are, we make them worse; when we treat them as if they were what they should be, we improve them as far as they can be improved.’"
::* This translation occurs in the Harvard Classics edition of Wilhem Meister's Apprenticeship, Book VIII, Chapter IV. Translation by Thomas Carlyle Bartelby Online Edition of 'Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship'. http://www.bartleby.com/314/804.html