Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Wisdom from All Corners

As this is a blog about philosophical Taoism, it should surprise no one that most of the verses, passages and quotes used as discussion starters come from ancient texts and other books about...Taoism. But true wisdom cannot be bound up in any one culture, country, society, region or belief system.

To this end, I found a neat website that, among other things, features proverbs from around the world. I thought I would share some as food for thought.
Africa: Indecision is like a stepchild. If he does not wash his hands, he is called dirty. If he does, he is wasting water.

Arab: A friend is one to whom one can pour out all the contents of one’s heart chaff and grain together knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it keeping what is worth keeping and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.

Assyrian: I need not fear my enemies because the most they can do is attack me. I need not fear my friends because the most they can do is betray me. But I have much to fear from people who are indifferent.

Danish: A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.

German: It’s not that age brings childhood back again. Age merely shows what children we remain.

Greek: A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.

Japanese: Vision without action is a daydream. Action with without vision is a nightmare.

Persian: He who wants a rose must respect the thorn.

Romanian: Under a ragged coat lies wisdom.

Swedish: The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.

Turkish: No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, turn back.
Does one of these speak to you more than the others? Do you have a proverb to share?


  1. Nice collection. I especially like the Assyrian bit about indifference, one of the biggest problems we face today.

  2. I like the Assyrian one too, but my favorite of the ones listed comes from the Greek -- it would be a good banner for the enviro movement.


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