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Proverbial Thursday – Global 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 think so too.

 

Continuing a series of African proverbs, I thought the following may not necessarily be true, but is wishful thinking and poignant. Is there a deeper layer to this saying?

 

 

Milk and honey have different colors, but they share the same house peacefully –

(African proverb)

 

yeh nah bro

 

“We often refuse to accept an idea merely because the way in which it has been expressed is unsympathetic to us.”

F. Nietzsche

 

 

 

The offerings this week might be a comment on current events and indicate their timelessness in describing certain facets of human behaviour. Or do you have another idea of what they might mean?

 

Join in the discussion.

Proverbial Thursday – Indeed its Something to Ponder About

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13 thoughts on “Proverbial Thursday – Global Wisdom”

  1. Why is there a “land of milk and honey”? Perhaps in less agarian societies collecting these food sources would be critical and they both share an equally important place in the “home” – ie a place in people’s lives?
    The trick in getting an idea to be accepted by someone is to make them think the idea came from them!

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    1. People have often longed for paradise, Mel & Suan and I think milk and honey represented those special treats at a time when meals were mainly consisting of a gruel-like porridge. The sweeter things of life, perhaps? But I also took thisproverb to be completely metaphorical in context – ie. to mean people of different ethnicities or races, sharing the house peacefully. Or even sharing the world peacefully. In light of the racism protests in Charlottesville, I thought this proverb was timely. Africa has seen much famine and civil unrest, white colonial rule, so it might have a oblique reference to these issues?
      It is surely a skilful person who can make others think ideas came from them. Some people are effective communicators and have an articulate way with words. I am afraid I am still developing a skill such as that!! Do you have it?

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      1. We view the African proverb as pre colonial, although we by default use modern lenses to look at them to intepret their meaning.
        And yes it is a skill indeed and wonderful that you have shared that point!

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  2. The first would seem to me to be a celebration of diversity – we are all different but it is possible for us to co-exist peacefully. I can understand the gist of the second – that if something we would potentially agree with is put in terms that offend or don’t resonate with us, we may reject the idea altogether.

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    1. How wise you are Andrea! Even when weagree with someone the way in which they say it might be offensive enough to change our viewpoint on the idea. And I do love that this proverb relates to diversity!

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  3. That is such a thoughtful African proverb – and I’m guessing in the literal sense, milk and honey comes from the same environment or at the very least are both things you find in the kitchen (I hope that’s what it means literally) It is a great analogy for who we are one this planet – we all human, we are all living under the same sky in the same world. Sadly, some of us don’t see the world this way with some preferring to acting out at the expense of others who are different than them in some way. It’s also worth thinking about the word ‘peaceful’. For instance, does peace mean that we live happily side by side and respecting each other, or living side by side and just let each other be even though we may not see eye to eye and prefer as little contact as possible – and no malice there.

    Again Nietzsche has a thought provoking quote. It reminds me of the way some of us twist words, or how some of us express what we want to say. On one hand you can get across a message blunt and direct by saying the truth right out, or you can talk generally about it and then segway into making your point. This can work with news that may upset someone, but sometimes it’s better to be upfront to avoid any miscommunication – which is personally what I like even though I might not want to hear what has to be said.

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    1. It is an excellent point you make, Mabel and I wonder is it realistic to think that we can live in total harmony with every neighbour? Perhaps not? Is the scenario you mentioned then much more realistic? That is, to continue living where we live, tolerate and respect any differences between us and our neighbours and the amount of individual contact between the parties to be determined by individuals, not arbitrarily dictated by society, officialdom, or community.
      I know you like the Nietzsche quotes and I always look forward to your comments on them. You have added some depth to the possible interpretations of the quote. I think it is a matter of pride with some people. They might feel like an argument/idea expressed by another party is sound, but their pride prevents them from agreeing due to a personal prejudice or some adverse history or jealousy between the parties. It might be hard for someone to agree if they are offended by the way in which the message was delivered. I think this might happen more than we think. It is much easier to avoid misunderstandings, I think, with forthright communication, but we do our utmost to cater for the sensitivities of the other parties. I guess we are referring to the levels of emotional intelligence here, do you think?

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      1. It is an interesting point whether or not we can live in total harmony. I think there will always be disagreements or we won’t see eye to eye – and it’s a choice whether we will let that bother us or move on with our lives. Or at the very least focus on the positives.
        Pride is a powerful and also a destructive trait. As the saying goes, we never forget how others made us feel. Forthright communication can hurt, but it is practical and moves parts hear say and covering up. There are so many layers of emotions and ways of delivering them – no one sure way to go about that.

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  4. Communication is a real skill and must be regularly practised. Very few people have this natural ability and high EQ and I feel that these people are often considered to be charismatic. I would love to be articulate in that way. The written word comes more easily for me than the spoken word! “Moving on with life or letting conflict bother us – well said. Revenge, resentment and grudges zap an enormous amount of energy and can make one bitter! This shows to our friends and family who then might distance themselves from us, because of it. Pride doesn’t have a lot going for it does it? Unless it is in a job well done. Then pride can give us confidence to rise to be a better person.

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