Sunday, August 14, 2011

Contradictory Proverbs: Exposing hypocrisy of our Elders quotes

Remember your school days and when the teacher told you the story of the "Hare & the Tortoise" and used to end with the proverb "Slow and steady wins the race." Then when you reached back home and you were idling on the sofa watching TV arguing with your mother there is plenty of time for you to do the homework she would lecture you saying "Time and tide waits for no man."

I know its for two different situations but have you ever thought that both these age old sayings are telling you two contradictory things? One is telling you being slow and steady will get success and the other tells you to hurry as Time doesn't wait for anyone. "All good things come to those who wait." is another proverb that contradicts the saying "Time and tide waits for no man". Like I said I know both apply to two different situations but if you really think about it, the quotes that our elders and even their elders liked to quote so much to us are contradicting to each other.

Silence is golden. BUT The squeaky wheel gets the grease. / Crying child gets the milk.

"Silence is golden" I have never understood this statement, how can silence = gold?(or silver?) I never got a chance to ask this as whenever I was quoted the above statement it was for me to become silent (and asking questions is not silence!). But then as the other proverb puts it unless you make noise things won't get done. Only if a baby cries does the child's mother know he/she is hungry and gives the child food.

Birds of a feather flock together. BUT Opposites attract.

A magnetic north pole attracts the south pole, "Opposites attract" is a oft used phrase to explain why two very different people become a couple. but consider this, you always tend to be in company of people like you, majority of your friends will have some similarity with you. Yet again here we have two sayings that are exactly opposite to each other.

Practice makes perfect. BUT All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

"Practice makes perfect" how many times have you heard this, to make you do things repeatedly this is a very often used proverb. Practice again and again till you get achieve perfection. But practice = work right? but all work and no play makes jack a dull boy, remember? (I don't remember any elders telling me this proverb and sending me to play. Hypocrites!!!)

Look before you leap. BUT Strike while the iron is hot.

Attack the iron while its coming out of the furnace, tackle the problem when you come to face to it not 10 days later when the problem has morphed into 20 more problems, absolutely agree to that. But what is this "Look before you leap", Isn't that telling me to consider the problems from 15 different angles and then to tackle it? Spending my time looking at it from different angles, isn't that letting the problem go cold before I get around to tackle it??

To quote some more

The pen is mightier than the sword. BUT Actions speak louder than words.

Wise men think alike. BUT Fools seldom differ.

The best things in life are free things. BUT There's no such thing as a free lunch. 

Do it well, or not at all. BUT Half a loaf is better than none. / Something is better than nothing

Don't cross your bridges before you come to them. BUT Forewarned is forearmed.

Doubt is the beginning of wisdom. BUT Faith will move mountains.

Great starts make great finishes. BUT It ain't over 'till it's over.

You're never too old to learn. BUT You can't teach an old dog new tricks

What's good for the goose is good for the gander. BUT One man's food is another man's poison.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. BUT Out of sight, out of mind.

Too many cooks spoil the broth. BUT Many hands make light work.

So what do we take from this, that our elders and their elders didn't know what they are saying, or being human actually make them hypocrites, making and using saying / proverbs as and when it fits them? Well actually I don't know. But what I know is that even I will be using these sayings as and when situations suits me (which makes me also a hypocrite, doesn't it?)

I am going to end this post by saying :-

Hold fast to the words of your ancestors. BUT Wise men make proverbs and fools repeat them.