Sunday, February 28, 2010

He is a fool that is not melancholy once a day

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Gurus abound with good advice on staying positive, banishing negative thoughts and promising everlasting happiness.

So why did the sage who coined this saying think being sad was a good thing?

It raises the question what is sadness, and what is it for?

A spell of melancholy is a time for reflection on the bad things in your life. You could simply try to ignore them, suppressing all thoughts. You could pretend they don't exist. At worst you could be taking pills in an attempt to blot them out.

This sage is encouraging us to face up to our difficulties and attempt to deal with them. After the thunder and rain we get the sunshine and it is them we can enjoy the benefits of a positive attitude.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Prettiness dies first

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"Beauty is but skin deep" is also said but anyone who has known true love is aware that a meeting of minds, if not souls, is the greatest part. We tend to recognise our natural matching type by sight but it is in exploring the deeper self that we fathom the depths of one of life's greatest mysteries: love.

As a lady ages, her prettiness begins to fade but the beauty of her soul and spirit continues to mature and grow. To see an aged couple, grey of hair and feeble of limb, who profess to love each other as much as when they were sweet sixteen is an inspiring sight.

To marry on the basis of looks alone is a short term outlook.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Virtue, if she could be seen, would move great love

Here we have a philosopher, Plato, visualizing Virtue as a beautiful lady.

What is virtue and why should we love her personification? Moral excellence, goodness, conformity with morality or duty especially chastity in women is the nature of virtue. It appears to involve the discipline of the mind over the basic passions of the body.

This was something that through the ages had strong appeal as the consequence of unbridled lust was disease, pregnancy and bloody quarrels. A man valued a woman who would bear only his children and not lower him in the eyes of his fellows and force him into unnecessary conflicts. The invention of modern medicines and contraceptives removed many of these fears but humans are more than body and sensation-seeking minds.

Is it possible that the disregard for the former values of virtue leaves us not more satisfied but less?

A proper balance in all things is the usual conclusion of philosophers - a time to reap and a time to sow. Love has many aspects, and joy is to those who find her in due proportions and harmonies.
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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Game is cheaper in the market than in the fields and woods

Unless you are a professional hunter with a good territory you will likely spend so much of your time trying to hunt down your dinner that it would be better to buy it with the returns of your everyday job. This saying might also have been coined at a time when poaching was a serious offense with hapless Brits sent to Botany Bay.

Applied to today's conditions the underlying truth is telling us that using professionals can be cheaper in the long run. If you are not too good at home decorating you might be better getting an experienced person rather than ending up with a botched job.

When you need to save money you should weigh up the options carefully and don't be mislead by false economies.

For anyone interested in limericks you can vote on the Hallmark Cards UK Twitter competition here http://twtpoll/74v6v

I have added a page of Global limerick competitions

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The coat makes the man

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What others think of us is important. Only the very wealthy and the hermit can afford to ignore public opinion.

In the hurly burly of life it is often not possible to get to know someone in the time available so we make snap judgments. This is often influenced by their way of dressing.

The most obvious case of this is a person in uniform: we regard a man in a sailor's suit to be a sailor; a lady in a police uniform to be an officer of the law, etc.. Business people who wish to convey to others their serious intent usually dress in a sober suited manner whereas a show business host might be more flamboyant.

Not only does the dress convey a message it also helps the wearer to "get into the role" and adopt a mindset appropriate to the occasion.

This saying can be used contemptuous, implying the individual is not worthy of their office and only command respect because of their uniform or position.