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Monday, March 11, 2013


An ur-proverb would be a proverb that underlies many others. It would be the most abstract formulation of an idea found in many other proverbs.

Pathei mathos: Learning comes from suffering. (La letra, con la sangre entra.)

The ideology of proverbs is cynical conservatism. Powerful people will exercise their power. You will be judged by the company you keep. Older people know more than younger people do. You will suffer if you don't follow the customs of people where you are. Friends are likely to betray you. Any part of this folk wisdom will be an ur-proverb.

1 comment:

Professor Zero said...

Gracián's aphorisms are conservative and that would be why I find them to be a great guide to the university.

Here is a motivational trick:

204. Lo fácil se ha de emprender como dificultoso, y lo dificultoso como fácil. Allí porque la confianza no descuide, aquí porque la desconfianza no desmaye. No es menester más para que no se haga la cosa que darla por hecha; y, al contrario, la diligencia allana la imposibilidad. Los grandes empeños aun no se han de pensar, basta ofrecerse, porque la dificultad, advertida, no ocasione el reparo.