Friday, April 25, 2014

Contradictory Proverbs - Again?

I had a few other contradictory proverbs handed to me on a platter in the comments to my previous posts. On in-depth analysis (Yes! I know! You think I am incapable of even thinking, leave alone in-depth analysis, but that is your opinion and you know where you can stuff it), most of them actually do not stand the test of contradictoriness, if I may coin such a word.

Take for example, "All good things come to those who wait". If you did not think deeply about it, you may assume that "Time and Tide wait for none" contradicts it. Not so! After all, it only means that Time and Tide are NOT good things, since they do not wait for those who wait. (Yeah!Yeah! I know! Someone also said that "All things - that others do not want - come to those who wait". But, in that case, you would assume that Time and Tide are wanted by others and, presto, the contradiction vanishes. And, if you rid yourself of the foolish notion that what others want is, by definition, a good thing, then it does not even contradict the original version).

Let me prove it the other way. Tide, most certainly, a great majority of the people - who are not sailors - do not want anyway. And, poor sailors like me, positively puke at the very idea of a tide. As for time, I have heard 'I do not know what to do with my time' from more people than those who said the other thing, except when someone else - spouse or office - dictates what needs to be done with it (Make that presentation, I want it yesterday! When are you going to mow that lawn! etc. etc.) And, in the latter case, it is more a question of knowing what you do NOT want to do with your time - whatever you are being told to do, of course - rather than what you WANT to do with it.

So, if you have something but do not know what to do with it, it is useless, isn't it, and how can a useless thing be considered a good thing? (Now, do not throw all that footwear that you bought, but never used, at me - that does not count as a legitimate use of the footwear.) Ergo - Time and Tide are NOT good things and, thus, 'All good things come to those who wait' does not get contradicted. I offer, further, in proof that they also say 'Haste makes Waste' which further reinforces the idea that blissful idleness is best for the soul. And, what about "Don't count your chickens before they are hatched"? That, too, says wait to do things since you may end up doing far more counting than necessary - and who wants to do any more math than is forced on you? - if you started too early.

Bill, as usual, is a pain-in-the-neck. He says, "There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune". One could, of course, assume that you need to just go with the flow, and not be rushing around hither and yon doing things, in which case this one admirably suits the 'waiting' principle and I will have to retract my harsh words about Bill. I think, though, that Bill intended one to BE rushing hither and yon. I hold to my 'waiting' principle still - and offer as proof the fact that this piece of idiocy was uttered by Brutus, and we all know what happened to him at the end of the war with Octavian and Anthony. So much for taking the tide at the flood - and getting drowned in it.

In sum, "All that glitters is not gold" (Bill - again! Though, in this case, he merely popularized it!) OR, in other words, 'All that appears contradictory does not contradict".

P.S: I owe almost all this post to Moonstone and Titli for their comments. The (mis)interpretations are all mine.

20 comments:

  1. Some more of the madness. Just this morning, my husband and I mulled over these proverbs in Hindi -- "Khaaya piya kuch nahin, gilaas toda barah aane" and "Naach na jaane aangan tedha." Hardly makes sense these days.

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    1. Hmm - I heard that one as "Na khaya na piya na gilaas toda par dena hai baraah aana" :)

      Looks like I have set people off mulling proverbs :)

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  2. In this context can I use this gem of a line :) - "pazhamozhi sonna anubavikanum aaraaya koodadhu" :) :) -- escape.... :)

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  3. Great again! I'm loving this series of yours on proverbs with wonderful research...

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  4. I have done mail subscription to your blog but all posts dont come, i dont know why. Now whenever i hear that time n tide proverb i am going to be reminded of this post :)

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    1. Hmm! Zephyr had the same complaint too. Do not know what is going wrong.

      Hahaha! You agree? Time and Tide are not good things :P

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  5. Another 'unputdownable ' post on proverbs :-D

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    1. I will become a proverbial person for proverbs this way :P

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  6. only proves that for every proverb there is an equal and opposite proverb that will shred it to pieces! :)

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    1. It all depends on which proverb you pick :)

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  7. First you start off showing meaninglessness of proverbs, then you try to show the contradictory nature and now you try to prove they are not really contradictory. The way you are going, you must put up a notice on your blog regarding your posts like what Mark Twain has put in Tom Sawyer - "Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot." "

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    1. That's a problem I normally encounter with people :) I say some proverbs are meaningless; some are contradictory; some appear so but are not - and you talk of it as though I am applying every comment to every proverb :P

      Anyway, is it necessary for me to do that? I thought that, by now, it must be amply clear to people that all that applies to my blog :)

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  8. Hahah. English is a funny language!
    One of my favourite excuses to procrastinate is the contradictory proverb to "early bird gets the worm", that is "the second mouse gets the cheese!" And well, cheese is yummier.
    Great article, as always!

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    1. Hahaha! Certainly, when compared to a worm, cheese is yummier :)

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  9. Enjoyed reading another gem in this series, Suresh. :)

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  10. So lovely that you are giving people their credit, Sureshjui :)
    In this world, people get "inspired" & not even acknowledge any source :)

    Totally agree with you. I strictly follow the line "They also serve those who stand & wait".
    I find that I am the one waiting for the most time!!!!

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    1. I normally do, Anita! I have,, unfortunately, been raised to be honest :)

      Ah! I wait too but mainly to be served :) Never had this urge to serve :P

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