Proverbial Thursday – Global words 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.


The proverb this week comes presumably as far back as Viking times when woman used to wear their keys on belts around their waist.

Not all keys hang from one girdle –

Norwegian  Proverb

and a quote from  Henry David Thoreau, ( American essayist, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, and historian)

Bananas, Ballina, Beach, Bangalow and The Big Scrub

“Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that is it not fish they are after.”

Comment: Thoreau appears to be thumbing his nose at those who appear blind in the metaphorical sense. Is he referring to those who bury themselves in work only to lament their all too brief time with family, upon their death bed or in infirmed retirement?

What is your interpretation of his words?

Henry David Thoreau anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history, two sources of modern-day environmentalism. His literary style interweaves close observation of nature, personal experience, pointed rhetoric, symbolic meanings, and historical lore, while displaying a poetic sensibility, philosophical austerity, and Yankee attention to practical detail.  He was also deeply interested in the idea of survival in the face of hostile elements, historical change, and natural decay; at the same time he advocated abandoning waste and illusion in order to discover life’s true essential needs.[Source:Wikipedia] and his sympathies for anarchy are summed up with his words:

“That government is best which governs not at all; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.”

I doubt that this sort of government appears likely or even practical as there needs to be some leadership, some central entity. I don’t feel that anarchy is even desirable. Every ship needs a captain. In Australian politics, one government leader attempted to  govern by consensus, which whilst admirable in terms of equity, did not serve the country nor the people well in practice.

What do you make of the proverb? And Thoreau’s warning on society and life? Is anarchy a tenable option in any way?


Something to Ponder About