Proverbial Thursday – Global Words to Live By

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.

Many thanks to TidiousTed who has supplied us with an excellent proverb to mull over and discuss this week.

 “Everyone walks the furthest in their own company” – Icelandic proverb


and from Mark Twain, a gem:

“Principles have no real force except when one is well-fed”

– Mark Twain

I invite you to leave a comment and tell me what you think of the Icelandic proverb and Mark Twain’s quote.

The journey always seems shorter when accompanied by a friend. Particularly so, if one was walking the long lonely roads through the Icelandic mountain passes. Would you agree?

Samuel Langhorne Clemens is better known by his pen name, Mark Twain and was born on November 30, 1835…  Mark Twain traveled many roads during his life and patented a variety of inventions. Despite experiencing poverty during his younger years he became a household name, received a honarary doctorate and advised politicians on copyright law. Perhaps this had a bearing on his quote, that I have selected to showcase, this week. What do you think?

Surely something to ponder about.

prov thurs9



13 thoughts on “Proverbial Thursday – Global Words to Live By”

    1. Thank you Mel and Suan.I feel that you have encapsulated well, my thoughts, on Twain’s quote here. I also feel Twain was having a slight ‘dig’ at hypocrisy? Some people hold fast to their principles because they are in a position where they can do so, talking about how they nurture the values of looking after the underprivileged, the sick, the marginalized. It might be talk without substance or if they have a personal experience of similar unfortunate circumstances these same persons might muster a much stronger desire to instigate or exact change. Principles have force when the heart is full of passion. Passion is more intense if the experience that instigates it is a personal one. However, if one’s basic needs are not met, higher levels values are set aside. Meeting our basic needs overrides all other needs and concerns. Does that make sense or have I gone off on a different tangent, Mel and Suan?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Unfortunately we all are guilty some of the time, in our opinion. Principles, if combined with passion is more likely to result in action, the force as you mentioned. Its a sense of conviction that becomes natural in one’s approach to life situations.
        For us, its not just about basic needs not being fulfilled that may ‘compromise’ principles, modern societal pressures such as keeping up with the joneses does not help. People can be well fed, housed and clothed but still feel inadequate.
        What do you think?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. We all are aware of the need to be positive, to try to be politically correct and support others self esteem yet we of our own free will dwell on, or behave in, a negative way. Usually in the developed world we have enough food and housing and most of us some income. All of this and yet respect for others and emotional satisfaction levels are declining! Where is it going wrong, Mel & Suan? You allude to a deliberate or natural sense of conviction that correlates with how forceful one might be in adhering to their principles and that this might have potential to give us that passion that motivates us. Feeling inadequate in today’s society is perhaps a sad reflection of modern society that has over- inflated expectations? And in these expectations people are often disappointed. We are always chasing something better. Could you say that this drive for something better is the reason we seek to uphold our principles but also the reason life does not satisfy all our desires leading to inadequacy?

          Liked by 1 person

  1. I think that whether or not a journey seems longer or shorter depends on how fast or slow we go. Sometimes if we’re alone, we might feel more anxious and want to hurry along since we don’t like being alone. Other times we feel like we can be ourselves when we are just by ourselves. Personally I feel a more deeper journey when by myself instead of going out or doing something together with others – I have to fend for myself, I have to rely on myself, no matter what happens, somehow I have to make it all work until the end of a given journey.

    Not too sure about the Mark Twain proverb, but it got me thinking about values, that our values and what we believe in resonate the strongest when we are faced with challenges or faced with something we’ve never known or what we’re not keen on. We may only realise who we are, or true selves, when we encounter this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is quite true that the length or time frame of a journey is related to whether it feels long or short. However, I can, at times, be so absorbed in reading a book that a repetitive, monotonous public transport, commute seems to fly by in a flash, yet, two minutes in the vicinity of a loud barking dog, or an irritating machinery noise seems like an eternity! Time is such an interesting concept in this way. We all yearn for boring times to pass, and continually look forward to the future, yet spend many moments locked up in nostalgia, reliving the past in our heads. This seems contradictory as we all undoubtedly exist in the present, which in itself lasts but a moment, – such a transient concept. The moment we ponder on it, it is gone!
      I do think that Mark Twain was commenting on values, and passion, which we have discussed previously. Challenges can bring out inner qualities in people. Some good and some bad. If we are comfortable, and well fed, we can then concentrate on more intellectual matters, and truths. If we look up the definition of principles it says thus: ‘a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour or for a chain of reasoning.’ I have a slightly different concept of principles but in essence it is something that we hold dear, something we value, something that is important to us, in life. I guess if we look at Twain’s quote in light of these definitions, he was simply stating that food water shelter and affection are the strongest of our forces which motivate us, and once they are met, we can move on to more philosophical pursuits. At first I had read this quote wrong, and then had to re-read it a few times to fully ponder its exact meaning.
      You were right to think about values in regard to his words, and that strong emotions do result when we are faced with challenges to our basic needs. I think in difficult situations such as you mentioned, whilst not always desirable, might and do, reveal a person’s true nature, that which lies underneath the public facade. So insightful of you, Mabel. Thanks so much for your comment. Great discussion and thought- provoking as always. Did you like the Twain quote, after all?


      1. ” The moment we ponder on it, it is gone!” This is so true. Time is always flying away under our noses, and sometimes we do feel it is hard to keep up. Always remember to be in the present to make the most of a moment.

        I can’t say I dislike the Twain quote, but it seemed pretty vague at first when I read it. I like how you brought in the basics – food water shelter – and it makes me see the quote differently now; what is important to us is always around us, but we may not often realise it until it is taken away.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. So very true Mabel. It is always difficult to fully appreciate those most familiar and essential things. But we certainly do see their value when we go without. How vulnerable we are as humans to think we could barely last a few days without adequate water and food. I am glad you started to see more in the Twain quote. A friend sent me a page of his quotes so I will post another one or two, in coming weeks. And I haven’t forgotten about the book project. I have restored some old deleted posts that were interesting to read. I would like you also to flag any that might be more worthwhile to your thinking. I am going to be looking at this more closely during the upcoming
          holiday period.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. George Bernard Shaw said of values, “People exaggerate the value of things they haven’t got”– which seems nothing more than a variation of the old saying that the grass is always greener in the other fellow’s yard. Not that I have a problem with saying the same thing in new and different ways — in a certain sense, that’s what good writing is all about — but unfortunately even good words often “fall on deaf ears” (to quote another old saying).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have mentioned several wise sayings Mistermuse, all of which convey I think a note of caution against becoming envious of what others may or may not have. Why do we want to experience or have what others have? Where does this almost jelous need originate? Does it serve a purpose?

      Liked by 1 person

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