Proverbial Friday – Global Wisdom

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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 Friday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking.

I hope you will too.

Both the proverb and quote this week come from America. The proverb is an interesting old Native American saying –

 

“Force, no matter how concealed, begets resistance.”

~ Native American Proverb

 

Again from America, Mark Twain has some humbling words for us.

 

 

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What do you make of the proverb? Concealed force naturally gets people off side because it borders on trust issues. We trust that our friends are not going to hurt us, or force us against our will, because we do believe they care about us. If we felt they didn’t care, the friendship would wither and die.

We feel insulted if someone forces us to do something we don’t want to do. Sometimes we may dig our heels in and refuse, even if it is the sensible thing to do. We seem to like deciding for ourselves, which points to the intense need for self-respect.

Furthermore, it threatens our independence, choice making and self-control. All these things most people take for granted, and for someone to manipulate and force a course of action invalidates the person’s ability and right to choose for themselves.

Politicians might have sometimes forgotten the message the American Indian proverb is trying to convey.

I invite you to join in the discussion by sharing a comment below. Is force ever justified?

Does it always lead to resistance or compliance?

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Proverbial Friday – Something to Ponder About

 

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42 thoughts on “Proverbial Friday – Global Wisdom

  1. Really am not sure how to interpret this week’s sayings! I actually had no clue what the first proverb meant until I read your thoughts. So I think I will run with your thoughts. Trust is something that is hard to gain but so easily lost. It can take a years or maybe a lifetime to build trust but it can take a few seconds to lose it forever. Being forced to do something may not sit well with all of us – because we might be robbed of our own free will and independence as you mentioned. But sometimes those we trust might force us to do something because they feel that that is the best for us and perhaps are trying to make us see things from a different perspective.
    No on owes us a living. Our life is ours to live. But at the same time it is also worth remembering the world doesn’t revolve around us. We won’t be able to always have our cake and eat it, just as things won’t always go our way. Sure there will be good times but when the hard times come it’s important to remember what we’ve already got and appreciate that.

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    1. Well summarised, Mabel. Our life is indeed ours to live. It is a mistake to become too big for our boots. In this case, life has to wrestle us back from our own ego and give us a reality check. This is necessary at times as one can reassess what is really important and imperative in our lives. In a way this is also a force, albeit a natural one. We might initially resist and fight that hiccup, (concealed force), and feel circumstances appear unjust or unfair, and thus resist this change quite strongly, but it may be a lesson we do need to learn, or, there may be a silver lining that is are yet to be found, perhaps? A wise proverb and quote.

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    2. That is a thought-provoking proposition: whether there’s a lesson we need to learn or a silver lining yet to be found when it comes to force and change. In these situations, either way we have to adapt. And adapting to situations may not be easy because we may have to change our train of thought and hence change ourselves that we’ve always been comfortable with.

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    3. Changing and challenging our comfort zone and then adapting to change seems to be a common theme in our discussions on the meaning of proverbs. And it is important as many of us struggle with coping with deep degrees of change. I like your phrase in the previous comment: “perhaps [they or the force] are trying to make us see things from a different perspective.” It is always useful checking circumstances from a different perspective even if that perspective is quickly discarded as irrelevant. The possibility of learning something is always along the way is always there. Some might resist it strongly and miss that valuable lesson, but swallowing our pride and keeping an open empathic mind is the key to making the most of those learning moments, that is those moments when we look at things from a different perspective.

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    4. There is much to learn all round. As you alluded to, we all have pride and so it is not easy seeing things otherwise. We all like being comfortable but sometimes we really have to take a step back and see things in another way for the benefit of the bigger picture.

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  2. Border force certainly gets me in opposition. I reckon most forces are wrong. Our own Border Force force uses concealment. Sorry, I don’t really wish to make it political, but the latest scandal in our own Border force really got me upset.
    We need to set a good example and people might follow without force.

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    1. Corruption anywhere is abhorrent @ Gerard, but sadly on the increase as the desire for wealth gets stronger and stronger. The people are the top on the ridiculously overpaid salary should be beyond reproach and of the utmost integrity. If you are on that much money and power each year, does greed man that you take leave of your senses?
      Or do you keep the faith and use that power and wealth for good, to give back to the world? It is a choice they all make. Pethos because out takes a certain amount of ruthlessness to get to the top position, they go over to the dark side.

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    1. And isn’t that regrettable, Peggy? That we don’t give enough back. Environmentally, aesthetically, and physically? What a wonderful legacy we could have left this planet as we ourselves depart simply by small measures such as planting a garden, with long lived trees, picking up plastic water bottles and refusing to buy them; and by building and supporting each other in the community.

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  3. Force may indeed force a situation, but this situation will not be properly respected or perhaps even hated. So an absolute no to force. Can it be justified in exceptional cases? In principle, and according to my desire, no, but in reality, after all yes. If so many people want to live together on earth, it will not work without rules and laws, because the conscious person is a selfish creature. If these rules are not followed, there must also be violence / punishment to ensure peace. If people who know us force us to something, because they think it is the best for us? So how, can they know, what the best for us is. Finally we have to decide our by our own. And yes some people can not trust easily and it takes long time and it is really a pity if it get destroyed by an action…this should not happen…..
    And Mark Twain is right, of course, the world does not owe us anything. We owe something to the world and we do not want to destroy it….so our own happiness may not be most important thing, but I also think it depends….we are humans and need happiness, so we have to weigh that suffering and happiness are in a decent relationship.

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    1. Thank you, Anie. Agree that we must have rules. Without rules, we have anarchy and chaos, especially more so with an exponentially increasing population that is nearing future targets, at a much faster rate. “The conscious person is a selfish creature.” How flawed mankind is! And a shame that we cannot see that we ruin the planet for our future selves. Why is it we can be so short-sighted when we have awareness of our actions, Anie? Is it as you said, that we make a definitive decision to trade off or weigh up, our happiness against suffering.
      Trust is uppermost in my mind these days in dealing with teenagers and adolescent issues. Parents trust their teens, sometimes blindly, and the teens can be anything from mildly evasive to pathologically lying with an intent to manipulate.
      It is such an interesting life stage and difficult for parents to navigate. Force is doomed to failure. Building rapport and understanding in addition to respect is uppermost.

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    2. yes the humanity is faulty and the problem is that we have already considered the mistakes we grew up with as “normal” and thus education and bringing up should have to be made much more conscientious (and the parents should have to learn aswell) … I think A rethinking for the nature does not take anyone’s quality of life and happiness. When it comes to personal happiness, that has a disadvantage for other people, we have to weigh carefully, because with all the love for other people, we can estimate their happiness even less than our own. Everything we decide no matter in which direction will determine our tomorrow …. in which way we will never be sure to say, because too many different influences determine the course of things…
      I trust, often blindly. And if I fail, I’ll keep trusting anyway in people, becauset I can not be happy without trusting. I may not trust people anymore who cheated on me… My children have all the freedom they can wish for. If they abuse them, they will suffer by knowing that they abused and eventually they will understand by their own reflection. I’m convinced of that and that’s why I never control my children. If I fail with this attitude, I will have to learn from it and possibly correct my attitude. All creatures on earth need respect and understanding instead of forced by power, this is completely right!

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    3. I love that you see education as having this role, Anie. And that parenting should absolutely be something that is regarded carefully and with due diligence to the best of our ability. It is not always so. For most people, I think bearing children is now very much a considered action and so I hope that means that they will, generally speaking, put more effort into raising children than in years gone by. And I think this is so. We watch over children much more so than in the previous eras, where children were left to their own devices. There is much that is detrimental about this approach, ( children are not developing as much self reliance as once before), but they are safer against perceived threats, in their parent’s eyes. I think your approach is interesting, and it obviously works with your children, however, other kids would continue to push outwards without any control, or boundaries, and I find it hard to reconcile living through the difficult times where they are developing self reliance, as it affects me directly and indirectly. To place complete control within their hands before they can manage, sometimes ends up with the parents being held responsible by police or authority. Of course, this is not always the case and it can vary according to the individual child, so perhaps a better approach is to gradually increase a child’s level of control and autonomy as the years pass and the child’s maturity come into play. It would be so easy to let go completely, but then again is also very hard when one has lived through the adverse consequences of doing just that. Control by force,neither, is not what I am a fan of as I think that is when resistance appears! Rules that are too overbearing, concealed resentment or force, ends up being very costly to the relationship between adolescent and parent. I can see that you understand and have thought deeply about how you raise your children and it has worked out well. Your instinct was right!

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    4. Thank you so much for your wonderful answer!!!!! I do not know if it worked with my kids and I never thought too much about how to parenting. As you say it was more of an instinct. Even my children have their problems and also their mistakes but they are now at an age where I let them go. But I will be there when they need closeness, help or affection. It was never a decision for me to go back to work after the birth of the children. Fortunately, it was not necessary. So I could be 100% with them. I did not spoil them, just did them live with me. Teached them my habits,… to clean up the household, to cook, to paint, to tinker or to sing … just join in until they could do it alone. Everything that was outside my sphere of influence, I have given with confidence and never interfered very much (unless there were obvious problems), that means kindergarten, school, music school, sports clubs could always have their influence, without me watching over it. At a certain age, they also planed their own free time and school affairs.
      I hope it worked, that will probably put out only in some years …; )
      But I also understand parents who are very worried and interfere in everything. But they will not make it easier for the children and themselves. Although, of course, they are right that the living conditions are becoming increasingly difficult for the children. but too much fear is transmitted and I prefer pink glasses and hope that nothing bad happens.

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    5. I like that you say Pink glasses. We use the saying Rose glasses but you know, I think pink glasses are a better way of thinking about it. Pink sounds like reality is still kicking in and it ‘waters down’ the rose red! Fear does indeed get transmitted inadvertently to children, and that is what responsible parents are indeed conscious of, or at least try to conceal from their children, so as not to influence, or increase, the child’s own anxieties. But this, too, is a tricky situation, for by parents being too stoic and not showing any emotion, a child might interpret this to be an uncaring, hard nature in the parent!! Bottom line: Parenting is not a perfect process, but I think most really try their best with what qualities, resources, and knowledge they have and what they can offer, emotionally, financially and physically at the time. If they over or under-protect their children, again, it is not the intention of the majority to do this. As I think we have discussed, if you have a vulnerable child, it is tough to decide if this does indeed make the parent naturally over protective because the child is seen to be already at a disadvantage from the pack, or does the over protectiveness by the parent, create the child vulnerabilities? It is the chicken and the egg situation. Which came first? My guess is somewhere in between the two.

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    6. Hmm, that sounds so complicated, but actually it should not be complicate, or? The environment stays like it is. We can not change it in the short term. We can show our children how we envision an environmental change that may also make humanity more tolerable. And in my opinion, this exemplify of your life needs no special consideration, because we just have to like ourselves, how we live and the children will see that. They live with it. The only really important thing is: TIME. We must give the children constant time, let them actively participate in everything, then understand and learn on their own. If the children have problems, it is certainly harder and you have to think more and you have to experience these problem areas together. Although I have no idea, because my two are relatively easy.

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    7. Giving every child time is vital, no doubt, but anxiety is complicated. I don’t think it is possible to solve anxiety in children in just a quick discussion, as the one here, as anxiety can be due to many, many different causes. However, anxiety in children, is on the rise, and giving children time, can absolutely help. Most definitely, it is essential. But time will not solve everything.
      That said, your philosophy of liking ourselves, and how we live, struck a chord with me and is, profound, I have to say. Because if you don’t like yourself, then there must be something about your life or lifestyle that triggers sadness, or discontentedness. The children pick up on that, even if it is not outwardly obvious to other people. Their ‘radar’ might pick up feelings and family tension, intuitively. After all, they have lived with parents for many years and know them and their habits well! So perhaps liking yourself and your life, could be a one size can fit all suggestion that could be applicable to any situation that produces anxiety or vulnerabilities in children.Why do I think that? Because I am reminded of a parent who had a severely disabled child, a child that was very complex in terms of special needs, but the mother took this in her stride and was not at all fazed by his quality of life, his high level of care or his future. She dealt with it in a matter of fact way. She did not dwell on what might have been, she just got on with the existing job at hand. She did not lament or hate her life. She was still very loving and caring to him and her family, but it was clear from the way she carried herself that she still, also liked herself and her life and maintained self-respect and self-pride. Her energy was not drained by grief and loss for a ‘normal- abled’ child, nor was she was dissatisfied with her life and this shone through in her dealings with others. She radiated contentment in a very difficult family situation. This made it so much easier for her other child to cope with the burdens of having a severely disabled brother. There is much to learn from her situation. We have strayed a little from the original topic of the proverb but I feel it is still relevant! Thanks so much for your interesting perspective.

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    8. Thank you for your so interesting thoughts!!!! Oh yes, children certainly have a good radar if something is wrong and children who are scared will definitely need special help. I also admire especially parents who have handicapped or sick children. They are usually great people. But I think they have become great people through their children. Only with the tasks you can grow and problems in life, although they appear sad and frustrating will help to grow. Also children have to make such experiences sometime. What is important is that they never feel alone and realize how much they are loved.

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    9. Such wise words, Anie! I do agree in respect to tough challenges producing character building opportunities. However, not everyone can rise to the challenge. I work with families who are often consumed by the complex challenges they are faced with. Many drown under the weight of the problems of having children with a disability, or they can’t get past the loss or sometimes guilt.
      That said, in a sense where children have to deal with difficult or upsetting circumstances, you are right. Those with anxiety need extra support to make it through without falling to the wayside and sliding sideways into a culture of easy way outs…. like taking drugs as a coping mechanism to deal with life’s complexities, or perhaps also to deal with what they see as their own failings. But we cannot save them from every difficult situation, as you so rightly inferred, children have to have such experiences sometimes, and better to have them when they are children where they are supported through it by family. The alternative is that they are saved from having to sort these situations themselves, and as an adult, they have not developed the skills to cope or even know how to start problem solving. I was discussing this with my older son who finds his university students he teaches, gradually losing natural problem solving abilities at an increasing rate, as they years go by. Why is this so? Google provides us with all the answers to everything. GPS prompts us with the way to everywhere, there was even a gadget my husband installed in our car that reminded me to turn on the lights, or keep the car in the middle of the road!!! Technology is doing our thinking for us!!! Our minds are freed from memorizing many facts, and yet what has filled their place in our brains?

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    10. yes, what has filled the place in our brain? Too many unimportant things … namely the whole “musts” of the world …. the world has crawled through our technology into the brain. In the past, the world was small … News from the big world came in small bites in the newspaper or in one of the three television programs at a specific time …. finished …. Fashion, trends and behavior were not as manipulated as today … sad but true. Yes and you are absolutely right, everything that you do not learn as a child can cause you a great deal of difficulties in adulthood. To learn to think and act independently and responsibility in adulthood is very difficult even in small portions!

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    11. I think that is a good point you made about the news, Anie. We have it all day every day! This does make the world a different place. It makes us a little addicted to having to know what is going on around us. How it grabs our attention when the headline or voice over says “Breaking news!”
      It seems that our brain subtly changes its way of thinking about reality, becoming a little more fearful each time we hear news of a calamity somewhere, or a violent act. Then this violent story is repeated many times over though the day. We subconsciously might feel that there is more violence out then than there really is and become a little more fearful as result.Technology is a double edged sword. But we cannot opt out of society so how best to work with it and maintain some control over its influence?

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    12. Oh yes this is a good point! If we follow all this horrible news and are interested fear will increase
      automatically. I know that it is also not good to just do not care, because problems on earth is everybody’s problem. Honestly I do not know much about what is going on, just because my whole day is already filled with my work, children and other things…and you are also right, that technology is a wonderful things and is you do not learn things you just will maybe miss something important. I think the solution can only be a individual choice of priorities. Senseful priorities with the will also to go back to the roots… to be critical what we really need ( personal and in the world) and also what we can believe….

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    13. Frequent reflection on the role it has in our lives, and perhaps even one dedicated day per week off all technology is my way of dealing with it. We shall see what happens as time passes. The next generation of children will certainly have different interests I think.

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    14. I also think that the next generations will have different interests. The negative sides of the technology will become more present and a rethink will then automatically happen …. I hope.

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  4. Newton’s third law too said that to every action there is an equal reaction. Guess it does not matter if the force is concealed. Did the native americans steal a march on Newton? Heheh…
    Came in the world naked bringing nothing, and leave without too.

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    1. Haha, Mel and Suan! I like that you always offer a divergent opinion that sometimes feels as though it might come from out of left field, so to speak. Thank you for that. It lightens the mood somewhat. Your view that it is irrelevant if force is concealed is based on consistent rules around property that may arise, without emotions entering the argument. Emotions can be hard to quantify and estimate in others.

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    2. Oh yes we cannot discount emotions. It is intrinsic in all of us, not just the physical. Forces that impact societal norms for example. Those are not necessarily physical though in some cases they can be enforced that way. The native American proverb did not seem to distinguish that in our opinion.

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    3. No, you are right that the proverb did not differentiate between those types of forces. The proverb, whilst written in a different era, can be interpreted in any way that feels relevant to the reader. I try to find proverbs like this to post. They are great discussion points! Many thanks for your pertinent contributions.

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    4. hmm, I did not understand that correctly, but I would like to dismiss it. Of course, you can not take your accumulated wealth with you if you die ….so, what counts in life can not be material. But despite everything, we humans are very shortsighted and lot of people limit themselves to this one life and maybe they treat it like a single Monopoly game …. whoever has the most money at the end has won, because nobody knows what is afterwards? But what does that have to do with actio = reactio?

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    5. To every action one take, there would be an equal and opposing reaction – be it overt or covert. Some folks absorb it. Some don’t. Just as when one receives criticism… one can either respond, keep it in (and fret), or absorb it and dismiss it. Those are all reactions. Does that not rhyme like action = reaction?

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    6. OK. that is very exhausting for me now. With actio and reactio, I sat mentally in physics classes and thought of conserving energy from observable bodily phenomena. Now it is quite logical for me to apply such laws to “invisible” energies, to “exercise power”. A reaction would surely be anger, rage or other emotional or physical reactions.
      In other words, we reap what we sowed? Or the answer to our seeds. Whether it’s criticism, help, proposals or suggestions …. the information will be processed and an impact will take place, that’s right!
      This process is also called learning, isn´t it?

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    7. hahaha and I wish I had gotten the same grades in English as in physics, then maybe I would not sit here so often puzzling over the google translation!

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    8. Google is not perfect, but it appears to be improving over time. I think we can use it as a good base to translate, but some knowledge of the structure and idioms of the language, also helps.

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    9. if you need gooole translation too much it nerves….but the good thing is that you also learn by trying to understand and googling a lot…; )….so always better to learn….

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  5. You are so right. Everyone likes to be doing something because it is their own idea. I know a couple who are so stubborn whenever anyone suggests something because it has to be their own idea. Sadly, they’re reaping repercussions from an advice from their Drs to move two years ago from their country acreage to a small city dwelling following a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s for one of them. I think they dug their heels in because so many people had thought they were a bit unwise to have moved to their current abode in the later years of their lives, and to have sold up and moved could have indicated their move wasn’t that wise after all. It’s sad to see the mess they’re in now.
    Love the Mark Twain quote – it should be indoctrinated into people from a very young age.

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    1. I concur with your thoughts about the Mark Twain quote. Absolutely, and yet I wonder if the older generation thought the same of our generation? I think there are some similarities with each generation of youth, no matter what the era, but prosperity and peacetime and a desire to give one’s children a better life has seemingly led to a strange and at times impudent sense of entitlement. I am entitled to a good life, to gaining a successful well paid job with good working conditions, that I will be happy and content and have loads of leisure time to spend as I see fit. The world does not operate like this, in reality, and there seems to be fewer and fewer young people able to cope outside their comfort zone, physically or mentally! Such a concern in the long term. But then, maybe we are getting old and too comparative in our judgements?
      I feel sorry for the couple you mentioned, desperately trying to save face over their unwise decision. It sounds like it is well overdue for them to cut their losses – they gave it a good go, but now they need to face the cruel facts of reality. Let us hope they do, for both of their sakes.

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