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 me think more deeply about something. Each Thursday, I post words that I find thought-provoking. I hope you will find them intriguing too.
This week, Proverbial Thursday is a little different, as I will post two quotes that are my response to the tragedy in Belgium –
“When we see men of worth, we should think of equaling them; when we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.”
“The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin.”
What is the message Confucius is trying to convey about a man’s character? Is this the portrait of a “superior” man?
Does a characteristic you might revile, or dislike, in your neighbour help you to see your own faults?
Something to Ponder About
8 thoughts on “Proverbial Thurs/ Friday – Quotes”
Being holidays and long weekend and all, I thought you’d give the quotes a rest this week. But no. And I’m happy to have something to ponder about.
What happened in Brussels is a tragedy. Why humans would want to succumb to violence as a means to an answer is beyond me. More of us need to realise that that never really gets us anywhere.
The first quote: I am on the fence with this one. The first part of it, I don’t believe we should equal another man who is deemed to have noble character. All of us have our own strengths and weaknesses and sometimes we may never be able to achieve what the other person achieves. Then again, there is no harm in aspiring to acquire certain values of another person that helps the world in some way or makes a positive difference. When we see men of contrary character, I think that is a moment where we can reflect upon ourselves and similarly question how to better ourselves.
I like the second quote a lot. The message I got out of it is, always be prepared. There is no harm in that as the more we plan, the more we might have a safety net to fallback on when need be. There is no guarantee life will always be a bed of roses – and often we have to work hard to get where we want to be.
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Thanks Mabel for checking in over Easter. A measured and well- composed response. I think the second quote is wise, but cautious. Then again, it is wise to be cautious in an uncertain world.
The first quote I feel could be interpreted as inspiring, as you alluded, but it also could be taken to refer to something else: Don’t forget who you really are and whilst we all may choose to wear different hats, at various times, and places, we should not lose our soul in playing a role for society. This is why I feel personal sanctuary is so important. Here, in our personal sanctuary, whether that be alone at home, or with family, is paramount to one’s mental health. Should we also, as part of society and democracies in the Western world, consider our part, albeit a small one and on a communal basis, as contributing to the global situation we find ourselves in? I am not saying this is true for everyone, butperhaps for some/many? I think this is what that quote was hinting at. Collectively, of course. But even collectively, does that make us culpable or at the very least, a contributing party? Pethaps I have gone off on a too wide a tangent here, Mabel????? Happy Easter to you!
That is an interesting take on the first quote, and I have to agree with your perspective. Don’t think you have gone off too far at all. It sort of begs the question of belonging – where do we belong at home and in the wider public sphere, and how we fit in. Then again, we don’t really need to fit in.
The horrendous events in Brussels have given us all cause for great concern this week, Amanda. The tragic loss of so many lives in such a a way can only be condemned by most of us. You’ve done well to find appropriate quotes – and from one of your favourite people! The many quotes of Confucius can be applied to so many topics today.
The first quote seems more straight forward than the second one. I would interpret ‘men of worth’ to mean good, upright, honourable and trustworthy people. Confucius is saying we shoul aim to be equally so. In contrast, people whose characters are far less ‘worthy’ should serve to make us think carefully about similar flaws in ourselves – rather than spending our time simply condemning others.
The second quote (to me, anyway) can be related more to events in Brussels that the first one. The phrase ‘superior man’ could mean those people who are fortunate enough to live peaceful lives – perhaps affluent and secure ones. I think Confucius is giving us a warning: things may not always stay that way. Situations – political or otherwise – can rapidly change, so we should nor become complacent and adopt an ‘I’m all right Jack’ attitude when we see others distress.
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I think you have really encapsulated the essence in bith quotes and I feel sure Confucius was delivering a warning in a slightly concealed way. Do you know much of the time period in which he lived? I shall have to research it a bit more.
No. I’m afraid I know little about him. I’ve been relying on you to fill me in. 😀 It would be easy enough to find out though.
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That is inspiration for another post!!!
We do not have to fit in but whether we like it or not, we are part of the whole. As such we might examine ourselves before we point the fingers of blame at others. We belong to many spheres within a larger sphere depending on the perspective which gives that particular sphere meaning. This made me think of what the universe may be like. It is hard to imagine infinite space so we can see our immediate vicinity, a microcosm of our city, which we know is a microcosm of our country, and a microcosm of our hemisphere, …..planet, …..galaxy etc. There is a bigger part to which we all belong and are connected.
But I am getting away from the essence of the quote and that is about character and whether we can improve by seeing other people’s negative aspects. Do you know much about the time in which Confucius lived?