Proverbial Thursday – Global Proverbs

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures.They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned.

Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Proverbial thursdfly sml 3932

‘You are part of something bigger than yourself’

–  Afghani proverb 

Khaled Hosseini   

In Afghanistan, you don’t understand yourself solely as an individual. You understand yourself as a son, a brother, a cousin to somebody, an uncle to somebody. [Source: ]

My series on Confucian sayings continues:

“To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous.”
― Confucius

Something Proverbial to Ponder About

25 thoughts on “Proverbial Thursday – Global Proverbs”

    1. I am posting a series of his better sayings. There are so many that are true and sound, others that are very familiar to us already. I will try to post those less common. Thanks for your comment, Julz!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The great GO has some very wise sayings!!! I concur with the mesmerizing effect of the onion! The Moths in my house definitely are attracted to it! And they are descended from a once time millionaire onion farmer, apparently. This must be the source of the severe interest! Are onions a large part of Dutch or Frisian cuisine, Gerard?


  1. When I did my master thesis, we were a very diverse group, and the guy from Tanzania and I had desks close. He had this very weird Swahili saying – Kifo cha wengi -sherehe. I am wondering if I write it correctly, but that’s how you say it. Literally translated it means “the death of many people is a celebration” he said. Which I suppose is something like suffering shared is suffering halved… but it was an awesome time, and during really hard times in our study we would call it kifo cha wengi-time. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is a very intriguing saying in Swahili, Tina. It is sometimes difficult to grasp the full meaning of proverbs and indeed words or phrases when translated to English. At face level, this saying could sound appallingly awful, but most of us understand these sayings have layers of meaning. On a more metaphorical level, it could possibly be something that is said to give comfort during tough times. Referring perhaps to the resilience of the human spirit to prevail, the feeling and concept of community and identity within that and, as you cleverly suggested, the feeling of shared or reduced suffering because one is not facing it all alone. Thanks so very much for sharing this.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Great proverbs Amanda 🙂 The Afghani proverb is excellent, the family or tribe, is always more important than the individual!!
    The Confucius saying is exactly what you expect, to the point and very, very true 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It seems clear (please correct me if I am wrong), that in Afghanistan, one would find it difficult to get by without the help, protection and assistance of others, particularly family. Many underdeveloped or third world nations appear to have this focus. In the developed world, the focus appears to be more on the self or individual and familyor community an adjunct to that. Could one lead to the perception that those who live in the developed world are selfish?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It certainly does lead one to that perception Amanda, and that’s because basically we of the developed are now very selfish. Thankfully, that’s a generalisation, and there are still a few of us who are hopefully less selfish and materialistic 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It is a struggle to maintain integrity in the face of media and institutional encouragement to think of onself, in contemporary society. Yolo…etc. encorages this. It is almost a form of unspoken pressure to get the most out of or make the most of our time here. A believer in reincarnation might have a contrasting view – do you think?

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Then again, I could return as a bird. Flying would be cool! On second thought, regurgitating food to the young might be an issue! As long as the slug lived in a cool climate…….lol

              Liked by 1 person

            2. I guess Scotland must be pretty ‘cool’ (I’m picturing a map of Scotland wearing sunglasses!!), because we get plenty of slugs and snails 😦 To be able to fly like an eagle or an albatross would be amazing, but I agree with you, there are definitely some unsavoury aspects to being a bird!

              Liked by 1 person

  3. The Afghani proverb is simply beautiful. Spiritual, to me, with the understanding that we are all in this together. ❤️

    Confucius hits the mark. Sadly, I see such an emphasis on the drive to pass the exam, rather than dissect and articulate the studies. In the United States, the State of Texas educational system is so focused on generalized study, and what many of us refer to as, “Teaching to the test,” that our students find themselves ‘boxed-in’ and creative thinking, ‘boxed-out.’ Out of the fifty states in that make up our Union, Texas ranks next to last in overall test scores and advancements.


    1. Oh Coffee thanks for the informative comment. It is a shame that Texan educationalists feel bound to stick to what is on the test. I can absolutely see how this stifles creative thought and in turn problem solving thought processes. It could be so different. But it sounds like changing the current system could be akin to swimming upstream? Is there any moves to do so?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hossein’s proverb rings true, and more like the Ubuntu proverb/philosophy in the Southern Africa. I love your selection of proverbs and discussions with other bloggers, they offer great insight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Cocoa. That compliment is very much appreciated. I am not so familiar with the Ubuntu philosophy from Southern Africa. Do you have any proverbs you would like to share from that area?


  5. The saying by khaled Hosseini is interesting, and I do believe it revolves around the need for families to work (and live together, in some cases) together in Afghanistan, as in any poorer nation. I’ve only read one of Hosseini’s books (A Thousand Splendid Suns) and was fascinated by the light it threw on life in Afghanistan (notably the position of women in society). It is a very poor nation, and frequently devastated by earthquakes. Family members tend to rely on each other for help in all sorts of things, especially financial and work-related ones – like family businesses or farms.
    And the Confucius proverb is just spot on. I couldn’t agree more with both aspects of the saying.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have not read the Hosseini books but it is good to hear about them They sound interesting and a valuable insight into life in this part of the world. There will be more Confucian sayings in coming weeks.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The book I read was Hosseini’s second book, and I still have to read the first one (The Kite Runner, I think it’s called).
        I’ll look forward to seeing more Confucian sayings 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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