Proverbial Thursday – Global Words of Wisdom

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.

Work is afraid of a skilled worker – Russian Proverb

Bananas, Ballina, Beach, Bangalow and The Big Scrub

Progress always involves risks, you can steal second base and keep your foot on first- Frederick Wilcox
I have not posted a Russian proverb before, and although succinct and to the point, it does give us some food for thought. I see that it encourages endeavor, and a strong work ethic, fortitude and determination. Is that what you get from it?
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Progress is sometimes a sore point with me, when I see historic buildings being torn down in favor of new less aesthetic concrete structures. But progress is essential in our economy. Having said that, progress is not eternally possible in a finite world, so should we re-consider the direction of progress in its western sense?
It seems Frederick Wilcox also had reservations about the risks of progress. What do you make of his quote?

Proverbial sml

Something to Ponder About

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About Forestwoodfolk

Scandinavian culture, literature and traditions are close to my heart, even though I am Australian. I have Scandinavian, Frisian and Prussian/Silesian ancestry and for that reason, I feel a connection with that part of the world. I am an avid Nordic Crime fiction reader, and enjoy photography, writing and a variety of cooking and crafts, and traditional decorative art forms. Politically aware and egalitarian by nature, I have a strong environmental bent.
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17 Responses to Proverbial Thursday – Global Words of Wisdom

  1. Very thought provoking Amanda 🙂
    I agree with what you are saying about progress, especially about old buildings getting replaced by modern concrete rubbish, it’s an ongoing gripe I have about Scottish planning regulations, like you say, progress is allegedly necessary for our economy, but only up to a certain point! And I wish the various capitalist governments and big business would listen to what you have said, the worlds resources are most definitely FINITE!!! Progress definitely has to take a different direction, the sooner they realise that, the better. Our planet, and our grandchildrens, grandchildren need it to happen soon too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your agreeable comment, Andy! I can see we think alike in many ways. I think I saw a headline that Stephen Hawking claims we only have 1000 years leftas a species??? Between pollution, global warming, and progress the prospects seem pretty grim. I think the mindset needs a complete change. How far can we stretch our environment before it breaks completely? Why do we throw things away that we can reuse or recycle into something else. It is the same with buildings. Tear it down, build it up, tear it down again – not because we have to but because we can! Ugh! Travelling recently in Eastern europe, I found the town squares a delightful trip back in time where architecture was cosy, warm and quaint. The criticism that medieval buildings are not practical is as ridiculous as suggesting the concrete bunkers are aesthetic and environmentally friendly. Here they are now building these ‘concrete bunkers’ (square modernist power guzzling houses) that require heating in winter and air conditioning year round even in a moderate sub tropical climate! The old traditional houses were built for the climatic conditions and not for the whims of decorating trends!!!
      This earth is not ours to stuff up, we are only caretakers and caretakers should take care to nurture and preserve it for the generations that follow us!!!!!

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    • We definitely think in very similar terms Amanda, I agree whole heartedly with everything that you have said!!! I read a book, a long time a go, by I think David Icke, before he became a wee bit on the crazy side. He was talking about how wrong it is (this was in the late eighties), that we build everything now to be thrown away, not repaired ………….. and that is so true. If a small part goes wrong on a mobile, it’s often almost as cheap to buy a whole new one, rather than get the small bit repaired, and that is so true with one hell of a lot of things these days 😦
      And you’re spot on about the old medeival towns in parts of Europe, they are just as strong, and cosy, now compared to 500 years or more ago when they were built ……….. I will be amazed if any of the buildings built in the last 30 years are still around in a hundred years time!!!
      I love the idea of us being caretakers, we will no doubt only be temperarily looking after the planet, in the grand scheme of things, and you would hope that in the end, we could leave it in a better state than when we got it! 🙂
      Just a wee geological note to rather depressingly back up Stephen Hawkings – When we look back over geological time, any species which becomes overly specialised, is always wiped out during an extreme natural catastrophe eg large meteorite impact. And humans are the ultimate in being overly specialised!!!

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    • Thanks Andy. I am quite amazed at how geology can relate to life in general. I think the suggestion that any species that is too specialized become vulnerable in times of catastrophe is amazing in its accuracy. Perhaps as you allude, armageddon will happen, but we hope not in our lifetime. This discussion encroaches on many aspects. Natural selection – are we all doomed to eradicate ourselves by the laws of natural selection – because we became too specialized and thus vulnerable? This ability to adapt and be flexible is the key to success – is it not? What an interesting comment – so much appreciate it. Are you blogging much? I don’t get email notifications of your posts anymore and when I look at your blog, I can’t see to find the latest post, only ones that I have seen previously.

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    • You’re right, I don’t think that an armageddon type catastrophe is likely to happen in our lifetime, and probably not in 100 generations time, but geologically speaking, that is still a very small amount of time, but it will happen at some point, and it’s always the simpler life forms that survive – however much people argue that our technology will save us as a race, if you remove, for example, just the ability to make electricity, many of us, certainly in colder climates would struggle to survive, and of course civilisation as we know it would totally break down! I think that maybe I should go into plot making for disaster films!! Lol!! 🙂
      BTW, my armageddon scenario is totally a science thing, it’s mot based on any religious ideas, just in case you were wondering 🙂
      You have probably hit the nail on the head with the fact that we will probably wipe ourselves out via natural selection, or just a man made disaster, way before any natural catastrophe occurs (such as a major meteor impact – we are kind of due one) – humans so far have been pretty hopeless at looking after our planet!
      On a happier note, after all this gloom about the end of the human race, yes, I am still blogging, though I’ve only started up again over the last month or so – in fact I’ve done more posts in the last 6 weeks, than I had done over the previous 10 months! 🙂

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    • More posts? Great I will hop over to your blog later tonight Andy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mel & Suan says:

    Yes we see a lot of “progress” here in the Asia pacific region.
    As you pointed out, beautiful vintage structures, the very heritage of a city or country are torn down in the name of advancement and progress. Either that or they become surrounded by monstrous new structures (well some of them are quite nice), worst get painted over as if new…

    Liked by 1 person

    • You make a good point that not all new buildings are ugly Mel &Suan. I remember particularly the city of Singapore to be filled with amazing new architectural gems.
      However, losing historic structures is akin to losing a piece of our culture and soul. We waste finite resources and at the same time create more rubbish. Demolition and construction provides only short term employment – can aesthetics even be measured in dollar terms?
      Asia has booming economies and it is fair enough for those countries tostrive for and have their own chance at progress and development, however I am not so sure they can keep their foot on first base. Progress might also be sought in renovation not destruction clearing and new builds.
      Thanks so much for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mel & Suan says:

      Indeed. Perhaps in a tiny island nation such as ours, constraints on the amount of land available for a burgeoning population prescribes the need to rebuild and use the land more intensely. We are quite happy that the government has seen light of this to preserve as much heritage as possible and maximizing existing land use, so almost 25% of the country is still green forested area.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That is fantastic to hear Mel & Suan. I like to hear that governments have a mind to preserve heritage despite the geographic limitations and the economic drivers. Not only are these sites of so much cultural and aesthetic value, as we have discussed, but they also draw the tourists, which in turn promotes the domestic economy and contributes to a global sense of cultural understanding and appreciation. I am so thankful the Copenhagen city council had no money to knock down the beautiful old coloured buildings in the sixties otherwise the Strøget pedestrian street in Denmark would be much attractive than it is today and there would be less reason for tourists to visit.

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    • Mel & Suan says:

      Oh demolish the Stroget buildings, you mean the colourful vintage ones? Wow, please no!! Hope that continue not to have money…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. Those buildings. This was a thought about 60 years ago but the Danish government didn’t do it due a lack of money to do it. Now they are happy it wasn’t done.

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  3. thatzimgirl says:

    Love the second one. Because you’re right it’s not easy because building something new involves leaving the old and comfortable behind even when you don’t see what’s next. Very cool

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  4. Mabel Kwong says:

    I was completely stumped by the Russian quote, and decided to reach over to have a few M&Ms before writing this week’s interpretation of the quote offerings 😛 I was wondering who “work” really referred to – work in the sense that the tasks that we are assigned to do or perhaps our managers or supervisors or even colleagues at work. When you look at it in the latter perspective, sometimes the hard and reliable worker can be feared in the office – they are the ones who will be up for promotion and basically get the better end of the deal than others in the same work team.

    But on the subject of hard work ethic, maybe it means that the harder we work, no task is too big for us to tackle. The harder we work, the more we might improve our skills and be great at the work we’ve assigned to do, and then we look elsewhere for another task or another kind of work.

    I agree with your sentiments about old buildings coming down and new ones going up. It certainly is the way the world is progressing, and in a way it is good because there’s is efficiency in the new. Then again, there are always lessons in the past and the tried and tested. In Melbourne, there are quite a few heritage buildings that are refurbished inside as modern, but still keep their traditional facade – a bit of a win-win in a sense.

    Agree with the second quote. With every new venture, we are stepping in to the unknown. No matter how much we plan, we can’t always predict everything and everything often doesn’t go our way. But I like the stepping on first base part of it a lot – it reminds me of backup, having a backup plan or something to fall back on if things don’t work out. I like to see myself as a planner, planning what I want to do and where I want to go weeks or months in advance. Sometimes I plan all these things I want to do but don’t set a deadline – and when a day comes and I wake up and feel like doing it, I go and do it. All planned and ready 🙂

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    • The Russian proverb is different from most that I have posted and I like that you have put your own slant on it, Mabel. The ambitious, driven worker or the “squeaky wheel” often gets the most grease, as another proverb says. Whether the noisy squeaking is intentionally deliberate might depend on the personality of those individuals involved.
      It is ironic that the person with a strong work ethic might do themselves out of their job by climbing the career ladder. I hadn’t thought of ambition this way before.
      I also like your positive spin on urban renewal. In that – it creates more efficiency. In most cases, it does exactly that but it sometimes seems to lose its soul and warmth in doing so, I think. Again, I do like your comments on urban renewal. A good compromise with developers if the interior of the building is of little note or in a state of disrepair is to save the historic facade.
      Finally, life has taught me one should always have a plan b. It was a work lesson for me once when I felt completely exasperated. Things didn’t go to plan due to difficult team members thwarting the plan A I had devised. Planning eliminates exasperation. No more exasperation if I have a plan b! Still, it is also good to be a spontaneous planner! I think that might describe me, Mabel!!! Plan as much as possible and welcome spontaneity when it is not.

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    • Mabel Kwong says:

      I think with every modern initiative the key is to improve efficiency or make lives better. But there will almost always be unforeseeable circumstances or some of us will fall out of love with the new thing over time. Tastes change, people expect more of they have higher expectations.

      I think that is me too. Plan and be open to other ideas and opportunities along the way. That way we can live the best of both worlds – one of safety and one of creativity.

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    • This is the universal drive now. The key to economic success. Improve efficiency and improve living conditions. It is an admirable goal for sure, and a natural desire to save time and effort and be more efficient but is there a limit which can be passed. The drive to improve efficiency and productivity in manufacturing often leads to exploitation of workers, or erosion of worker’s rights, and also, the replacement of durable tested parts with plastic reproductions, which inevitably fail. ( This happened recently with our solar inverter. An Italian company, manufactured in America, replaced a vital part with a much cheaper version and the result was thousands of failed inverters having to be replaced under warranty. Not so good for the company in the longer term! We can’t push the productivity bandwagon too far, I think. And expectations, that is a whole different can of worms! And fashion and interior trends are contrary to environmental aims of reduce, reuse and recycle.
      I love the way you summed up in the final paragraph. We can be safe and creative at the same time. Surely that is sounding like Utopia! Well, one could always imagine!

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