Friday, March 06, 2009

proverbs and "common sense"

"Patience is a virtue."
It's been 50 years and the Tibetans still don't have their country back.

"It's Easier Said Than Done."
 Below is a picture of the mural I've been working on. I put a few more hours into it last night. Murals are hard work! I've never painted this big before! And the last time I drew trees on a wall I think I was five years old.

can you see the crows?

"practice makes perfect"

here is another watercolor
of that holy tree near my house
"A picture is worth a thousand words."
pro-verbs? By definition they are cliché, overused, and yet also brilliant truisms, profound wisdom teachings, no doubt. They point to truths, but what is most interesting is that each person interprets proverbs differently, with their own experiences to validate their own right interpretation. 

Check out these English proverbs I've collected.  Please pick one and tell us what you think it means, or how profound it is, (also, apply it to an everyday experience, or current event, or to the issues of same-sex marriage, if you can.)

Live and let live.
It takes one to know one.
Two heads are better than one.
Patience is a virtue.
Time will tell.
Better late than never.
All things in moderation.
The Devil is in the details.
Practice what you preach.
God helps those who help themselves.
Different strokes for different folks.
Never say never.
It's easier said than done.
Don't judge a book by its cover.
Beauty is in the eye (I) of the beholder.
Birds of a feather flock together.
Great minds think alike.
Strength in numbers.
Home is where the heart is.
If you want a friend, be a friend.
You reap what you sow.
You sow what you reap.
Stop beating the dead horse.
It's always darkest before dawn.
Kindness is contagious.
Practice makes perfect.
The Kingdom of Heaven is within.
The grass is always greener on the other side
When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Silence is Golden.
Ladies First.
Better safe than sorry.
Where there's smoke, there's fire.
The magician never tells.

Here are some Japanese proverbs I like.

Ten People, Ten Colors.
Chase two rabbits, catch neither.
The base of the lighthouse is always the darkest.
Every meeting is a once-in-a-lifetime chance.
Poor person, no free time.
Fall seven times, rise eight times
Not-speaking is a flower.

pick one.

afterward: It is fascinating how the interior of the collective (our cultural dimension) is filled with proverbs, isn't it? And since we are all plugged into the collective, our own interior is also filled with the same proverbs! There are huge rivers down there! However, as I said before, the meanings of those common proverbs are uniquely one's own, which is what I'd like to demonstrate with your comments, if you please. What's also fascinating is that the global interior (spatially AND the one right inside of you) is likewise filled with common proverbs, in all sorts of different languages. I'm surprised at how many proverbs are cross cultural. However, I'm interested in how different our proverbs are, even though they are supposed to point to a "common sense." Proverbs can actually point to powerful differences between the way cultures think. We are one, we are many. Which brings me to the forigner living in another motherland insight...

"Common sense"
(or common consciousness) is often culturally relative, which is sometimes hard to swallow. For example, in Japan it is "common sense" to take off your shoes when entering a home. In America, just the opposite (although, you better wipe your feet!) But we can understand if they look at us like we're idiots, "without any common sense," for walking around in our homes with our shoes on! I probably looked at Satoru in a similar way when he tracked mud into the house. He didn't know to wipe his feet. The proverb "Always wipe your feet" was replaced with the Japanese, "Always take off your shoes," I bet.

Maybe that's not very interesting. But what is is that consciousness has many different types, many different flavors, rainbows within rainbows of shimmering diversity, and thank god. It's no wonder (and totally wonderful) Nobody Thinks Alike. I hope you comment with your proverb and provide another window into the unfolding depth of our collective interior. If you please.

powerlinerflyers from wes johnson on Vimeo.


Briohny said...

Proverbs of Hell - William Blake

In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.
Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead.
The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.
Prudence is a rich ugly old maid courted by Incapacity.
He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence.
The cut worm forgives the plow.
Dip him in the river who loves water.
A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star.
Eternity is in love with the productions of time.
The busy bee has no time for sorrow.
The hours of folly are measur'd by the clock, but of wisdom: no clock can measure.
All wholsom food is caught without a net or a trap.
Bring out number weight & measure in a year of dearth.
No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings.
A dead body revenges not injuries.
The most sublime act is to set another before you.
If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.
Folly is the cloke of knavery.
Shame is Prides cloke.

Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of Religion.
The pride of the peacock is the glory of God.
The lust of the goat is the bounty of God.
The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God.
The nakedness of woman is the work of God.
Excess of sorrow laughs. Excess of joy weeps.
The roaring of lions, the howling of wolves, the raging of the stormy sea, and the destructive sword, are portions of eternity too great for the eye of man.
The fox condemns the trap, not himself.
Joys impregnate. Sorrows bring forth.
Let man wear the fell of the lion. woman the fleece of the sheep.
The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.
The selfish smiling fool, & the sullen frowning fool shall be both thought wise, that they may be a rod.
What is now proved was once only imagin'd.
The rat, the mouse, the fox, the rabbet; watch the roots; the lion, the tyger, the horse, the elephant, watch the fruits.
The cistern contains: the fountain overflows.
One thought fills immensity.
Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base man will avoid you.
Every thing possible to be believ'd is an image of truth.
The eagle never lost so much time, as when he submitted to learn of the crow.

The fox provides for himself. but God provides for the lion.
Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.
He who has suffer'd you to impose on him knows you.
As the plow follows words, so God rewards prayers.
The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.
Expect poison from the standing water.
You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.
Listen to the fools reproach! it is a kingly title!
The eyes of fire, the nostrils of air, the mouth of water, the beard of earth.
The weak in courage is strong in cunning.
The apple tree never asks the beech how he shall grow; nor the lion, the horse, how he shall take his prey.
The thankful reciever bears a plentiful harvest.
If others bad not been foolish, we should be so.
The soul of sweet delight can never be defil'd.
When thou seest an Eagle, thou seest a portion of Genius. lift up thy head!
As the catterpiller chooses the fairest leaves to lay her eggs, so the priest lays his curse on the fairest joys.
To create a little flower is the labour of ages.
Damn braces: Bless relaxes.
The best wine is the oldest, the best water the newest.
Prayers plow not! Praises reap not!
Joys laugh not! Sorrows weep not!

Sorry to spam you up!

Anonymous said...

Poor William Blake. Poor Briohny.

Anonymous said...

Some my friend told me "Art is in your heART".
Well, your friend is rude, when come into houses he must wipe his shoes!!
Yes it is my bad!
Also, I guess many Japanese have each motto.
We call it "zayuu no mei(座右の銘)".
If you were interested in them, you should ask someone!

Terri said...

pro-verbs. stimulators of positive action?

i'll think on this and get back to you. nice work on the mural, by the way. it looks incandescent.

leighbird said...

how about:
"if not now, when?"
seriously! let's be here now!

Rod said...

"It takes one to know one.
The Devil is in the details."

Both of these are very relevant to picking wild mushrooms.

"It's always darkest before the dawn"

This one has no truth to it on any level.

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