Sunday, April 27, 2008

The wound that bleedeth inwardly is most dangerous

This can be taken as straight forward medical advice but like all proverbs has several layers of meaning.

A sensitive individual suffering a slight can brood silently on the perceived insult and fall to plotting revenge. The sad cases of gunmen opening up on fellow students could be an example of this. To allow perceived slights and wrongs to fester and grow poisonous is not good for the balance of the mind.

People need to be able to express their sense of grievance and find a solution. Good, open, honest debate is a useful method of identifying problems and enables corrective action to be taken. The trouble is, most people leave things too late and by then it has become critical. The boil must be lanced. It is useful to remember: A trouble shared is a trouble halved.

The pain of lost love can "bleed inwardly" but what is done is done. It is OK to mope a bit whilst readjusting your thoughts and emotions but that can't go on for ever. Write a sad poem, share the sorrow with friends, they have probably been there, or play a sad song -- then get on with life. There will be better times ahead.

Humor is also a good way of diffusing tension: a timely joke, or helping the over serious to learn to laugh at themselves, is psychologically very healthy. As the say: Laughter is the best medicine.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Work won't kill but worry will

Stress, high blood pressure, ulcers, heart attacks, nervous breakdowns can all be linked to stress. The stressed individual has difficulty sleeping, leading to tiredness, making it difficult to cope, causing more stress -- the classic vicious circle. Where you have genuine problems then positive worrying, i.e. thinking out how to deal with them, is good. Stay constructive and seek advice. Proverbs such as: Where there's a will there's a way; Trial and error constitute a waste of time, try thinking first and It is always darkest before the dawn, can help you to get perspective.

The thing to avoid is worrying about stuff you can't do anything about. Letting little niggles prey on your mind and blowing the problem out of all proportion, should be avoided. Why worry, you'll die if you do and you'll die if you don't? a cheerful optimist once told me. Ask yourself: will what you are currently worrying about matter in a week's time or a month or two? Chances are you will have totally forgotten about it by then.

Work of the wrong sort probably can kill, so, if you are in a totally unsuitable job perhaps you should worry about it -- and then take remedial action.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The worth of a thing is best known by the want

This is a generalisation of the more specific and well known: You never miss the water till the well runs dry. We normally take a lot of things for granted: parental affection, partner's faithfulness, job, bus service, etc. and its true importance is only felt when something goes wrong. It is then that we realise just how relevant and important the missing factor is to our lives and well-being.

This idea also touches upon the basic economic law of supply and demand. Scarcity pushes up prices and increasing supply lowers them. Some of the strange and unexpected behaviour of the stock and commodity markets can be explained by this simple law.

The word "want" has two meanings: "a lack of" or "a desire for", and the originator of the saying is using a play on words plus alliteration to emphasise the point.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

They say so" is half a lie

This saying appears to be referring to the use of quotations where you might back up an argument by referring to the wit or wisdom of someone who is regarded as an authority. But it may more precisely be referring to the habit we have of remembering something heard or read and using it to excuse, qualify or back up a statement. "They" being the collective wisdom of everybody and anybody who has expressed an opinion.

When we are trying to persuade someone to a course of action we might say: "Well they say it is a good thing." We perhaps doubt our own wisdom and are relying on the authority of others. However, in our heart of hearts we might not agree with "They" but are willing to deploy their opinions as a means of convincing the other party or of winning an argument.

From a defensive point of view you should ask who exactly are "they" and why, when and where did they say what they said. Your antagonist will probably be left floundering trying to remember just where they came across the opinion, if they really did.