Sunday, August 26, 2007

He that is not in the wars is not out of danger.

He that is not in the wars is not out of danger.

You can chose to avoid a conflict but the outcome might affect your interests and safety in any case.

This saying is warning us of the danger of sticking our heads in the sand and ignoring problems we are not immediately connected with. Conflicts have a habit of spreading and engulfing those who do not wish to get involved. Sometimes it is better to "take action against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them" as Shakespeare said.

It is an observation that can be applied to many situations and not just wars. Everyone has problems, disputes and difficulties, and it is sometimes better to tackle them head on rather than waiting for the tide to be lapping at your doorstep before taking action. It is all part of the idea of being prepared and practicing prevention.

The current hot topic is global warming and we are being urged to do something before catastrophe strikes. The natural tendency is not to worry about dangers that seem a long way off, after all we could spend all our time worrying about the many possibilities of disaster that could happen. It is necessary to find out the facts before make a judgment on the strength of potential harm and act accordingly.

Those of a worried disposition are often told: "Cheer up! It might never happen." But what if it does?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Reputation is commonly measured by the acre.

Reputation is commonly measured by the acre.

In the day and age when most wealth was in the form of land ownership this saying would be readily understood.

We all know people whose standing in a community is assessed not on their abilities or achievements but on the wealth that they own. There is an observable tendency for people to hero worship success and ascribe great worth to those who have acquired the things we all tend to envy. Inherited wealth might fall into the hands of a naturally able person who is given a good education by wise parents and this can lead to a flourishing of someone's talents, albeit as a result of privilege. It can also fall into the hands of unsuitable persons who will abuse the luck that fortune has bestowed.

The individual who succeeds on their own merit is not immune to folly either. A singer, for example, might become fabulously wealth by using their God given talent and the masses will wish to follow their styles, clothes, haircuts etc. and regard their every utterance as gospel. But very often they are one-trick ponies and their opinions and activities outside their one area of competence are no better and probably worse than average.

In assessing a person's ability it is important to go on the facts and not judge by appearances or possessions.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

A colt is worth nothing unless he break his cord

A colt is worth nothing unless he break his cord.

A dull, docile horse might have its uses but without a bit of youthful spirit it does not show much promise.

Applied to humans this saying is telling us that a young man who kicks over the traces is not necessarily all bad, just experiencing the difficulties of growth and adaptation that we all must go through. Many young men pass through a tearaway phase in their youth but later mature into fine adults and worthy partners and fathers.

The rites of passage from youth to adulthood are often fraught with conflicts and emotional outbursts as the young person struggles to come to an understanding of themselves and the time that they are a part of. If everyone accepted the status quo in a dull-witted, subservient manner there would never be any progress. A civilization must have the flexibility and strength to be constantly adaptation to new challenges and changing circumstances.

The careers of many successful people often show a time when they were rebels and perhaps helped to establish a new trend. Such people can often refer back to a time when an establishment figure told them they were a waste of space and would amount to nothing in life. Years later they are multimillionaires and their critic is still doing a boring regular job or surviving on a small pension. Some young men are, of course, just a complete pain and need a good telling to put them right, and you can never be sure if it was the wise old voice that set them on the right course, by giving them something to prove, or they would have achieved everything anyway.

A spirited colt, once broken in and trained, makes a fine horse. As another saying has it: Fortune favors the bold.