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Proverbial Thursday – Global Words of Wisdom

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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.

Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you will too.

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The events in the United States, have over the last twenty four hours, dominated our media. I don’t intend to shy away, but rather to embrace this issue, in a different way, on Proverbial Thursday.  I feel these few words reflect my thoughts and feelings, no matter what your political leanings.

The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour. – Japanese proverb

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“We do not have to like them, we only have to understand them.”

An unknown radio commentator

The proverb has held to be true many times over. But do you agree with it?

The quote, is a comment in reference to understanding a culture different to one’s own, and yet I think it is even more profound if we were to use it to refer to one’s enemies, for the ultimate greater good of the world.

Our one world, in which we all live.

Do you agree?

Proverbial Thursday – something profound to ponder about.

13 thoughts on “Proverbial Thursday – Global Words of Wisdom”

  1. Very interesting events of the last day, and in a way I feel what has happened is a reflection of where some of us stand today. Part of me is surprised, but part of me isn’t. Who are we to judge another country or someone when we’ve never met them…

    Both quotes you presented are truly apt given what has happened. So much can happen in a day, a matter of hours or just even a few minutes. One act can change the world, be it on a small scale or on a bigger platform. We can do so much over a course of time, and sometimes we only have one moment to show the rest our true colours and what we are truly capable of.

    It is interesting that you bring up the subject of enemies in relation to the second quote. Sometimes I don’t think we can every understand someone – after all, we’re not in their shoes. Which is also why I really dislike using the phrase, “I understand”. Bit of a pet peeve of mine. Sure, we might have similar experiences or we can try to see things from their point of view, but sometimes we may never just get it.

    This is certainly all one world, and it would be a better place if we all give each other a chance and equality…ironically, every, single one of us deserves a chance and deserves to win when we take our chances…

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    1. Your comment is reminder to me not to be too judgemental of those who I feel are my political or personal enemies. Thank you for that, Mabel.
      I think we have previously discussed a quote, perhaps it was by the Dalai Lama or Gandhi that said that we might learn more from our enemies than our friends? Do you recall it?
      I also think that what happened in the political sphere in US and also over the last decade in Australia, is somewhat deserved, at least, in the sense that we, as a nation, have been heading in this direction for some time, due to increasing self-centredness, and less community and compassion. We seem to have moved away from a kinder approach when dealing with others, to a harsh, fearful one. If we look at the global situation now, then I can see that this was, to some extent, an inevitable outcome of this path. This does not mean every one of us should not rally against it, continue our struggle, or fight against things that we feel are very very wrong, things that are seriously lacking credibility, or in contrast to our values, and fight this in our own personal sphere, especailly if it is a belief that goes against our values. I am speaking here of the population as a whole, and definitely not individuals who do actively try to counteract racial, sexist or egocentric leanings. Even so, we still have to allow others to have a dissenting opinion and freedom of thought and speech. In discussing this, I seek to understand the so-called ‘enemy.’ I don’t like the term enemy at all, as it implies we are in a battle/war but for the purposes of the discussion of the quote, I will use ‘enemy’. You also mentioned the use of the term I understand as a point. You are very correct in saying we can never really walk in someone else’s shoes. I too dislike hearing someone say, “I understand.” Many years ago I did some volunteer telephone counselling for a support group and it was suggested that we avoid that phrase for that same reason. I prefer to hear, ” so you are saying….” or It sounds like that is/it is/ very difficult/sad/hard/etc…….” than to hear someone say they understand what I am going through at that moment. However, if we try to understand someone’s else’s motives, emotions, beliefs or feelings, as they verbalise them by knowing more and asking questions and discussing matters, then, we just might, understand their situation better and see where they are coming from. We don’t have to agree with them, but we might see how they came /what led them, to that point.
      We all do live in the one world and have to get along somehow, even if we disagree vehemently. As you say, everyone deserves a chance. But does everyone deserve to win, if we take our chances??? I am not so sure that everyone can win. It would be awfully nice, but I am a realist so I don’t believe that could be true. If everyone wins then the win seems expected, and less valuable as a goal, I think. Or were you referring to a win, as a personal sense of achievement, Mabel?

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      1. I have no idea where that quote came from, but it certainly sounded like a very wise one. It would be lovely to know who said each quote, but then again such phrases often get passed around by word of mouth and they keep changing all over.

        I agree with you that we can’t always win, but we can win more so personally in our own small ways. If everyone tried to win or come out tops, I think they’d be more bloodshed that we realise. A lot of the time others around us help us to get where we are, and we are never really alone in winning.

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        1. Now that is such a good point of wisdom, Mabel. A winner is never really alone in winning! In a way a winner is not an individual, it is a misnomer. Every other person in the race, at the least, helped the winner get to the finish line first. Maybe just be participating and making a race, maybe by trying to overtake them and spur them on, maybe by supporting and encouraging them while they run alongside before one streaks ahead at the end. All metaphors for winning in one’s personal life and not just in athletes. And then we should not forget that there are often others outside of the race participants who help us to win… family and friends for instance. Yep that is a really clever and aware comment you have made. I looked up the quote we referred to and perhaps it is a combination of quotes: the Dalai Lama said, in the practice of tolerance, one’s enemies is the best teachers. He also said,” Tragic circumstances help you develop inner strength, the courage to face them without emotional breakdown. Who teaches this? Not your friend, but your enemy. and then there was Iceland who supplied a proverb: You do not really know your friends from your enemies until the ice breaks. So I think you are right, quotes keep changing and maybe I mixed it up too, that is a possibility. ( I often mix my metaphors!) But I absolutely agree that winning can be done more personally in many a “small” way. Thanks for the great discussion, Mabel. We could write a book about our discussion. Call it “Thursday with Quotes” – or something like that… haha!!!

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          1. You phrased it much better than me: “A winner is never really alone in winning!” Yes. There will always be people cheering us on, or who even want to pitch in and lend a helping hand. Our enemies can certainly challenge us, maybe even make us run faster and be more determined. In short, our enemies bring out the one-upmanship in some of us. It can certainly make us more competitive, but on the extreme side, push us over the edge. There is always more to winning and waving about a gold medal.

            I really like the discussions we have each week, and that is actually not a bad idea at all. And that is a very catchy title. I also haven’t heard a book idea like that – a book of quotes and discussions that follow. The more I think about this, the more I like it 🙂

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            1. Yes, let’s do it co -author a book!!! I wonder if it would be as interesting for others as much as it is for us? I will see if there is much out there published already.

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    1. That is so true, Suan. Particularly when you are a high profile person in the media. They seem to be under extra scrutiny, and those looking to pull them down, even go out of their way to find things to criticize. We call it the tall poppy syndrome here. I am not sure if you use that terminology? But credibility – how does one build credibility. I don’t feel that is a conscious act, so much as being true to your own morals and values. It is about reliability and commitment as much as honesty and integrity. Were you referring to the political events or something personal or both?

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  2. The events over the last week have kept us all on our toes. As you say, we all have different feelings about not only the end result but the entire presidential campaign. I generally find it best to keep politics out of my comments – especially when the politics aren’t those of my own country.
    Regarding the first quote, I think it can be applied to a number of situations, including political events. Nor does it solely apply to reputations or beliefs that have stood for centuries. I think the quote can just as easily be applied to something like trust – whether trust in a person, institution or even religion etc. Any trust that has been established, can be so easily broken by a lie, deceit or betrayal – especially so if the trust has held firm for some time. But the quote is most certainly true about reputations. Like trust, a reputation is a fragile thing.
    I think the second quote is also true. Understanding forms the basis of all relationships, particularly between leaders and followers. If we believe someone, or something like a political party, medical practitioner etc is doing the right thing, we don’t really have to like them. But I think we have to respect them and trust they will do what is right for us – and of course, it does helps if we can like them, too. If we don’t understand why someone behaves in a particular way, it is very hard to follow their lead or abide by their decisions.
    It’s now almost 11.30 pm here and I’m half asleep. (That’s the best excuse I can come up with right now for the garbled comment. I’ll try harder next time … promise.

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    1. You did well writing a comment semi comatose! How incisive I wonder, would it have been if you were awake??? Lol. But seriously, you are spot on that reputation and trust are fragile things. They can slip through our fingers like jelly, at first we can hold them easily but, if they develop a wobble through our fault, or someone else’s, it is often hard to maintain or hold the jelly and kerp it whole – some parts break off and fall away …some squeezes through or melts. And so with reputations and trust. I do think mutual understanding is a good thing to strive for without vocalusing that you entirely “know” what I other person is going through at that moment. That is a wrong assumption as our individual differences affect every experience and interaction so how can two people experience the same degree of emotion. Given that, it is a wonder we can agree on as much as people do!
      I hope you slept well, Millie. Thanks for the great conversation! Always appreciate your visits here and sweet comments.

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      1. It’s funny how these proverbs can provoke so much thought and so many different interpretations. They certainly make good conversation pieces. 🙂
        I’ve just emailed you re. the Monday photo (and other things). Take no notice of my whinging, I’m just feeling sorry for myself right now.

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        1. Millie, you need to allow yourself some time to whinge and vent. If you keep it bottled up, it might explode one day!! And I am so happy you like the discussion on Proverbial Thursday. It is sometimes only a conversation between Mabel and me but that is okay too. All comments are welcome and so interesting in their diverse interpretations.

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