What's your favourite proverb and how long do you think it has been in use?

15 answers

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ANSWER #1 of 15

My favourite is "never assume, as you make an arse out of you and me". Not sure how long, been we all been saying the proverb since primary school.


ANSWER #2 of 15

Hey! Many years ago, I thought I was the first with the 'never assume' bit of this - but your version has been international for a while. It demonstrates how clever phrases go viral, even without the internet...



ANSWER #3 of 15

It's not in english, but basically the translation is 'if you dont have expectations you wont be disappointed'. I have no idea how long its been in use.


ANSWER #4 of 15

well, idk if this is my favorite, but i like the one that says "a man's riches may ransom his life, but a poor man hears no threat." i like it cuz it reminds me that money isnt all worth it. youre more at risk bcuz of your money, yanno? someone could take you since you have a ton of money but if youre poor, the same person who would take the rich you wont take you cuz they wouldnt get any ransom. not very well knows, but its been around for a couple thousand years, lol :P



ANSWER #5 of 15

yeah, thats a good one


ANSWER #6 of 15

"Let he who would move the world, first move himself."
-Socrates



ANSWER #7 of 15

Nice. Sounds Chinese. There's a more recent twist to this one - 'if you don't ask, you don't get.' which I use to help shy people become a tad more assertive.


ANSWER #8 of 15

Proverbs 13:8, this one. Kinda reinforces Timothy 6:10: 'money is the root of all evil' - yet we (taking over the early Christian tradition and work ethic, actually) built a global economy based on it - bananas! The planet needs an alternative to money I think. The scene with JC and the money-changers is usually interpreted as a gross violation of the temple precincts, and hence His rare display of aggression - I think he was acting out Timothy 6:10 and the precincts interpretation is a tradition based on original spin by those contemporaries who couldn't accept an attack on the profit motive. Think about how people today react to loan sharks and the interest rates on loans to cover you til pay-day. I doubt that the 'money-changers' were simply bureaux-de-change, they were loan sharks located in the place that much the whole local population would have had to visit. I wd guess that every shark in the city wd have competed for a pitch at that location, so JC made an example to all of them. Despite His action, the message got lost, so they remain big businesses today, yet JC's aggressive action suggests they are highly sinful - naturally, because they parasitise the poor, and JC was always the champion of the poor at a time when (spparently) no-one else was. If He'd pushed this one harder, we might have had a fairer system by now, perhaps. It certainly freaked the Venetian Medici, who institutionalised sharking, and they laundered their wealth by sponsoring vast amounts of religious art and church-building....



ANSWER #9 of 15

"Dont cry because it's over, smile because it happened"
I dont know how long it's been in use but its a great one and its inspiring.


ANSWER #10 of 15

So true...Having said that, every country must have their own in-house specialised proverbs... ---- --- --- Encourage your people to be committed to a project rather than just involved in it. You know the difference between involvement and commitment don't you? In a meal of bacon and eggs, the chicken is involved, the pig is committed.----- ---- ---- This proverb was by one of the Australian billionaire Richard Pratt, I don't even understand what it means even when I hear it over and over.


ANSWER #11 of 15

Good one. I think this is a version of 'it's no use crying over spilt milk' (with a silent implication to learn from the event). European, probably earlier than 1650, but in agricultural cultures where milk was a common product. Another twist in a culture where milk was not a resonant metaphor is the Swahili 'Don't celebrate the war, cry for peace.' but I have no date. As our African ancestors migrated up into the ancient Middle East, they may have taken oral proverbs with them which were not written down until Mesopotamian times, which is where many Bible and Talmud proverbs were first written down, e.g. the Talmud's 'The wise do not moan about lost things, about the dead and about events of the past.' and 'Fools, however, cry over things that are not worth crying over, and thereby they increase their grief, privation and misery.'. These also tend to come from older Babylonian sources, but were later Christianised and revived to aid that culture's survival. Humans have the same issues in most cultures, so parallel learnings are discovered and transmitted in several cultures at the same time. Before writing was invented, proverbs were a simple way of transmitting simple learnings orally because they summarise the issue in a neat and memorable way. This condensation of ideas into fewer and fewer words continues in our modern language today, particularly as we now need to express ourselves quickly to make the most of our time.


ANSWER #12 of 15

Hard to say since there are so many good ones.

The first one that springs to my mind is:

When the power of love overcomes to love of power the world will know peace.
--Jimi Hendrix


ANSWER #13 of 15

The interesting thing about proverbs is that they capture the way we used to live by the words they use. Bacon and eggs gives you a fix on a certain culture at a certain time. Something like 'There is strife where servants are, slander where anointers anoint.' (1600BCE) speaks to a certain elite class with experience of both servants and priests, for example, while 'Words are like spears: Once they leave your lips they can never come back.' (Benin, Nigeria pre-10th century CE, possibly ancient) is the language of a hunting tribe. The corporate ones are mostly internal marketing and motivational, but again give clues to the culture a particular CEO was trying to engender. Pratt's I think makes the distinction between putting your whole being into a job (involvement) in a completely self-sacrificing way ('putting your ass on the line'), or simply providing the same thing every day. You need both of course, but it's a metaphor for focus level - the primary quality of the entrepreneur is focus. He sounds like the sort of guy who'd pave a road with the skulls of his enemies and failed employees!


ANSWER #14 of 15

WOW, you really did a good job summing the proverb. I do understand the correlation between "involvement" and "self sacrificing"....Richard Pratts based on his biography is a self made billionaire, very clever but also very hmmm, colourful. :-)


ANSWER #15 of 15

It's in an indian language, I dont speak Chinese :)


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