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Proverbial Thursday – Global Wisdoms

Proverbs provide us with wise words, hitherto uttered  by generally anonymous people. Uttered ever so succinctly, and so eloquently that a thousand meanings can be revealed in their simple words.

I think they can often be general rules for life itself, coming from all corners of the world. Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you think so too.

 

The hen knows the sun has risen, yet it still lets the rooster sing’

  – West African Proverb

 

This proverb from Somalia, may unfortunately have some sage-ful advice, but may not be well – known.

 

‘If you cannot resolve your problems in peace, you can’t solve them with war’

 – Somalian Proverb

 

And finally, a quote from the ruthless non-conformist, to balance out the proverbs –

‘People who have given us their complete confidence believe that they have a right to ours. The inference is false, a gift confers no rights’

– Friedrich Nietzsche

 

proverbial-thurs

Words from our ancestors, passed down from generation to generation.

Best savoured a little a time.

Always Something to Ponder About

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15 thoughts on “Proverbial Thursday – Global Wisdoms”

  1. I’m not sure of what to make of the West African Proverb. On first thought, I critical of it. Hen’s are females and roosters are male, so perhaps there’s a notion of gender underpinning the quote. Going along these lines, I thought of the fact that how many women always take a backseat while their (male) partner steals the show, or are the breadwinners of the family – that it plays on gender stereotypes. On the other hand, the quote might refer to the fact that the world is so diverse but some of us are appreciative of this diversity and let others shine or do what they want to do.
    The Somalian proverb reminds me of that saying – not going to bed mad at each other, or really just in general, don’t go to bed mad at yourself and the world. If we can’t sit down and work out our problems, going to the extremes to get what we want might not be the best outcome. If we can’t solve anything in peace, I don’t think we know the value of reflecting and considering different solutions, different opinions. We got some serious self-reflection to do and a hard look at ourselves is needed.
    Though Nietzsche might not always be liked, you can’t deny what he says often has meaning. I think his quote touches upon arrogance and ego, and he’s trying to impart the idea that the world does not revolve around us. When someone trusts us, we should not take advantage of them.

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    1. I am in agreeance with you on the West African proverb. At first glance, it’s an outdated proverb that is terribly “un-P.C,” as it is so heavily biased in terms of gender inequality. Then I thought about it a little more and started to consider whether it could have a deeper message for us, whether that was the author’s intention, or not. To think that the hens might know and understand the fragility of the rooster’s ego, and consciously allow the roosters to have this moment to shine, believing the roosters need this boost more than they do. Such an act might be considered a selfless show of strength and emotional intelligence, perhaps? In a way, it could even be seen as a little manipulative, by the hens, if it is indeed, as I suspect, a statement of controlled female strength and not passive weakness. This seems to be in accordance with your second thought and comment in regard to this quote. The selfless notion of appreciating diversity.
      The interpretation of the Somalian proverb is a reminder, I feel, of the thought that life is but a series of problems to solve. If we can’t find resolution in differences of opinion, when the nation state/s are relatively stable, how can we hope to achieve anything more by entering into a physical battle? Wars and conflict are incredibly complicated to resolve, yet so often this is considered to be the quick fix: dominate and conquer. I do like your interpretation and some very profound words: ” If we can’t solve anything in peace, I don’t think we know the value of reflecting and considering different solutions, different opinions. We got some serious self-reflection to do and a hard look at ourselves is needed.” That concept of valuing other’s opinions, no matter how they might contrast with your own, is recognition that everyone has value, and is important. Fear plays a role here in the causes of conflict, I also think. As for Nietzche, the comment of both Mel and Suan, as well as yours, seem to centre on the issues of trust. I think a lot of people get into trouble because they feel that complete reciprocation of trust, is warranted. When and how much to trust another person is a very individual issue. It might be different for different people. We just have to accept that is so.

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      1. ‘To think that the hens might know and understand the fragility of the rooster’s ego, and consciously allow the roosters to have this moment to shine, believing the roosters need this boost more than they do. ‘ I think you said it spot on, and feel the quote may allude to being selfless. But on the other hand, there’s also the issue of being a doormat and staying in the background – when one may actually have something to contribute. In some cultures, silence is deemed respectful but in others, it is seen as weak.

        Agree with you that trust is different for everybody. It’s something ever-changing too as we experience, learn and grow.

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      2. Trust can be a fluid thing, no matter how much we try to make it a structured, fixed feeling! But we do still try! I guess because one of basic needs is that feeling of security, so vital to our being. In trusting more, we risk more, we open up ourselves to vulnerabilities.
        I think your comment on the quote having a selfless message on one hand and a warning on doormats on the other is also pertinent. Cultural context is more significant for this proverb than I perhaps understand. It would be interesting to get a Somalian impression on this?

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      3. It would certainly be interesting to get a Somalian perspective on the quote. Straight from the horses mouth. Maybe the meaning of quotes change from generation to generation.

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  2. Absolutely true. If one cannot win with an argument and resort to violence, that is a ‘lesser’ man/woman. And people seem to assume that just because we trust in them, they can direct our lives! Both cases – deluded.

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    1. You see right Peggy! Schneider pondering thus week’s quotes. I am also a little confused by the fact it comes from Somalia, however it can only mean the sensible Somalian people are overpowered by crazy dictatorial gangs with guns who care not a hoot for traditions, nor wisdom, only their own ego.

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    1. That is often true Alejandro! I think these anonymous sayings are especially significant as it means a large number of people have valued them enough to pass on to others by word of mouth! Thanks for your comment. And Yes, it is a miniature Schnauzer. Do you know them well?

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      1. Oh yes! I know miniature schnauzers very well. I had one; a male I’d named Wolfgang. I somewhat adopted him from a former roommate, when we parted ways in January 2003. He had told me he’d have to give up the puppy because of personal and financial problems. I couldn’t bear to think that he’d end up in the home of an abusive, neglectful owner. I wasn’t really prepared for taking care of a pet, but that was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

        I joked that Wolfgang wasn’t a mini schnauzer, but actually a rare and previously undiscovered canine species: a miniature wolf. He was aggressive and feisty; meanest little bastard on four legs I’d ever known! He was banned from two groomers. I finally found a groomer who worked with a local veterinarian; so I just started going there for all of Wolfgang’s needs. One day the groomer told me, “You’re lucky we take your dog.” And I’m like, what the hell?! What kind of monster did I bring into my life?! He also had an extremely loud, deep bark; one that made people think he was ten times his size.

        He passed away last October, after a brief battle with a heart murmur. He was 14. The vet had his body cremated and returned to me in a little Cherrywood box. I wrote a couple of times about Wolfgang on my blog.

        I don’t think I’ll ever be able to have another mini schnauzer again; just like I’ll never be able to have another German shepherd. The latter was almost 12 when we had to put him to sleep in 1985. But I still want to adopt another dog; perhaps two.

        Dogs are the most incredible animals. I consider myself something of a canine expert, since I’ve been studying them for years.

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  3. Friedrich Nietzsche was a very wise man. There are very few I have complete confidence in and work very hard to earn others confidence in me. There is no “right” to any of it. I agree with the Somali saying and also that we will always have the contrast of those who have not or may never understand that. Love the little Schnauzer looking thoughtfully at the horizon. As for roosters and hens, hens create life, roosters just make noise about it. 🙂

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