Proverbial Thursday – Pearls 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 think so too.

Moffat Beach
Tooway Creek, Moffat Beach

Do you believe things happen for a reason, or is there merely a continuum of movement and progression (forward or sometimes backwards), in your life? Just as the river flows from its spring to the estuary, we are all on a journey from the lofty beginnings of life to the wide, winding meanderings of a river close to its mouth.

This week’s proverb comes from Poland and has many layers.

Do not push the river, it will flow by itself.

Polish Proverb

The quote this week comes from  Danish physicist Niels Bohr: –

 “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”

I sense a touch of irony in his words. What do you make of them?


How much do you push the ‘river’ – or do you always go ‘with the flow?’

Join in the discussion by leaving a comment below.


20 thoughts on “Proverbial Thursday – Pearls of Wisdom”

  1. The true mystery of life is whether things occur for a reason or because of chance. I believe it’s a matter of both. If you say that everything happens for a reason, then you’re suggesting fate or destiny is predetermined and that future events have already been settled or designed; therefore there’s nothing you can do to prevent something from taking place or occurring in a particular fashion. If you say everything happens purely because of chance or coincidence, then you’re suggesting the world is a mish-mash of unpredictability; that little, if anything, we do can will make things better or worse.

    Either way, you’re intimating that there are absolutes in human nature or the nature of the universe. And I just don’t believe that’s true. If it was, there would be no mystery in the world, and thus, no curiosity. And how much fun would life be if we didn’t have a reason to discuss it?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed. The true mystery of life! Prediction can ONLY be about the future as we do already know what has passed! Prediction IS difficult as Niels put it. Although I believe science has provided us with some clues.
      I believe science has determined that there is a sense of cellular order within ‘chaos’ – That means that there must be order within the flow of the river, and by that logic, order within the unpredictability of life. In essence, science can provide a formula for life, albeit incredibly complex. That may be so, however, we as humans are implicitly unpredictable in our actions and reactions and therefore, this introduces a variant into chaos that can not be formulated. Some might feel this aspect has religious connotations and attributes it to the universal creator/spirit, but I don’t necessarily mean that. Rather I mean that we can, to a certain extent control our destiny, but only to a certain extent. We make decisions about where we go, what we say and do and thereby we have influence and can, perhaps, make things better or worse within the “mish mash” of unpredicatability and variants of events.
      I agree there are no absolutes in human nature and the universe. We are yet to fully comprehend the nature of the universe – our brains are yet to develop that ability. We can only compare it to the known and so much is as yet unknown. So there is still an infinitesimal amount of mystery and curiosity in life, Alejandro, in each and every day. How often do we hear the saying,” You never know what [life], the new day will bring?” That I believe is the elixir of life – possessing a natural curiosity and zest for the day yet to come.
      Many thanks for your erudite comment!


  2. Certainly much easier to go with the water’s flow, unless of course it’s a torrent going over rapids. But life’s a bit like that at times. Rapids and torrents always end up petering out again to a gentle flow. Sometimes a damn can be built in a River changing the direction of the flow, and with good results.

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    1. Oh how right you are, Chris. Life can be a gushing torrent of problems, adversity and challenges that bump, trip and threaten to overflow and perhaps even drown us! How wise you are to recognize that the flow settles again, to a gentle flow. Everything given the fullness of time, sorts out, for better or worse. Norwegian say: ‘Everything, just like bad weather, passes.’ I do think it is reassuring to remember this during difficult times. You will reach the torpid sections of the stream. You will get through this. Things will settle again. As for the dam, they certainly introduce a disruptor to the natural fluctuations but this disruption may not necessarily be bad, it may be much more beneficial in the long run. Frustrations or anger at the dam, might be more manageable if we can view the situation in this way. [I am yet to learn that skill! But this is what proverbs can teach you!] Many, many thanks Chris for a great comment!!


    1. An interesting comment, Robin. Are you referring to ambition?
      I feel that younger people often push the ‘river’ – or even the ‘envelope’, due to their drive to get ahead. They are perhaps, filled with energy and ideas, and are anxious to see them come to fruition. Just like an old river, as we age, it seems that the energy levels diminish and wisdom engages its own gear, in our ‘journey’ downstream! Similarly, frustrations also decrease and tempers mellow along with increasing age.
      You are quite right about it being difficult to sometimes ‘go with the flow.’ Innately, we struggle against that flow, we try to make the stream run straight and true to its path, we want it to ignore diversions, inefficiencies and imperfections. But in the end, the stream is relentless, and if we fight too much against the flow, we might be overwhelmed or even drown! That is not a nice alternative. How much easier it is to let ourselves float downstream through the raging torrents and then also enjoy the quieter, calmer pools, relishing each and every moment; acknowledging each part of the river in itself, seeing the diversity in the entire system.
      Like you, I am still fighting against some of the more vociferous currents, mostly in terms of dashed expectations. However more and more I notice my fight has less gusto, and this allows me moments to notice and to enjoy life in a fuller rounder sense.
      What do you think the torrents might teach us, Robin?


  3. Oh wow. Now we’ve heard about “pushing on a string” – ie futility, but pushing a river… well if the river symbolize life as a flow, then navigating through it would be probably what we’d do rather than “pushing” it!
    And predictions, if only we could tell the future – we won’t be blogging here now! LOL. We’d be playing the stock market for the money we need and drop everything to go travel the world. Would you do that?


  4. I was not ambitious, nor was I very disciplined. But I am not all that easy going. There used to be a lot of “should ” in my thinking. Then the “should haves”and “what ifs” moved in. I probably would have benefited from a little more ambition. I think that the torrents have taught me that regret is a waste of time. I cannot change the past. The river’s current flows one way. If I am to be at peace with myself and the world around me, it is better to not have expectations. They can be dashed and smashed. Going with the flow involves acceptance of the river. I also hate change. Change has been a big part of my adult life. I have fought it at almost every step. Life might have been easier emotionally and spiritually if I had considered going with the flow. Don’t get me wrong – I have had and do have a good life. It could have been a little easier if I wasn’t fighting the river. Go with the flow. Ride the torrents out. Rest in the calm. Accept the river! I don’t know if that made sense to you. Thanks again. 🤔😊

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    1. Absolutely it made perfect sense, And I can see some parallels in my own life. As a young adult did not like change in respects of the people around me, although relished a new adventure. I obsessed to much over fairness and equity in what wad sms still is to some extent an unfair world. ButI have come to terms with that as I am tired of fighting and much more accepting of the rollercoaster of life – the ups and downs, or the speed of the river’s flow if you will. We love with the should have/ could have/ why didn’t we, but much of their sting had gone and I have a little chuckle whenI think that. It would be nice if… had come to replace those sort inner thoughts that fell like an endless loop. Regret and guilt are a waste of time if we cannot or do not want to learn anything from them.
      Why do yo think you might have benefited from more ambition?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When I reached the empty nest, I felt a bit lost. I think a profession (which I hadn’t prepared for with actual experience) might have kept me from the endless inner thought loop you talked about. I have made peace with it. And justice and fairness? I thought they should (there is that word) apply to everyone and everything all of the time. We’re you idealistic? I was, at least when I was younger. I agree it is better to learn from our mistakes, rather than waste time regretting them. I hope you have a nice weekend. 🤗

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        1. The empty nest – well that is a huge change in so many ways. And not easy as one sometimes has more time to reflect. Too much reflection can skew our thoughts and begin that endless loop of inner thoughts. Finding new interests and pursuits/challenges is important in keeping emotional energy up at this time and if one has an interesting challenging job, that can no doubt help. I have been extremely fortunate to have a job that is somewhat like that. The pay isn’t worth the work I do, but it is challenging/frustrating enough to keep me occupied and enthused, and definitely rewarding. I am am empty ‘nester’ as well, however, I have some who return to the nest and one that hasn’t quite left yet. So perhaps my viewpoint will change in time to come. Consequently, I don’t have as much reflection time as I you, but I am preparing mentally and emotionally for that time to come. And I too must make peace with a quieter, less stimulating home environment. I am a little more selfish in this regard trying to focus on my limited time left on this earth and what I want to do with it, rather that look at how the past might have been better. What is done, is done.
          I do think I was very idealistic, when I was young, as are many young people, and experience quickly teaches them to be otherwise. To continue to be idealistic, as time goes on, starts to seem rather foolish and almost deluded. But idealism has its place – it is full of energy, enthusiasm, ideas, albeit some of those fresh ideas seem impractical at times. Still, those voices all have a place in the multiplicity of society.
          Injustice does still greatly disturbs me but I can rationalise this in many ways now: The passing of time, the sense of karma, consequences, self-improvement, direct action, learning from mistakes, and other tools are useful in coming to terms with injustice, and inequity. “The journey is long but in the end it is only with yourself,” is an adage that has helped me think things through at times. Many, many thanks for the vigorous and thoughtful discussion. Enjoy your weekend.
          Btw, I love your blog name and that wonderful poem. It is very apt!

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Predictions are always dangerous, there’s so much opportunity for them to turn out differently to what is expected! I like to go with the flow and not push the river too much – sometimes it’s necessary, but I think certainly with the big things in life it’s best to flow where you’re meant to – though you don’t always know it at the time, of course 🙂

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    1. I agree Andrea. We don’t always know how that water will present around the river bend. And that ties in perfectly with the quote on predictions. We can’t predict how that river’s flow will be just around the bend as the river changes so quickly. Similarly, life throws up so many challenges and variants. If we ready ourselves for a rough ride or turn back from fear trepidation, the river ahead might be quiet and calm and we have stressed for no reason. Conversely, we might relax too much or miscalculate completely and end up in a whirlpool that threatens to drown us! It is amazing how this analogy can portray life itself. Is there a time when pushing the river flow is justified, Andrea?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I was going to say I’m a flow-er, but then the voice of reason (usually my husband 🙂 ) disagreed with me. I’m always wanting to be somewhere else, doing something else… unless I’m tapping these keys. Have a happy week!


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