Glenn Morison's Blog – 4th mo. 2017 Archive (12)

Never say die

A great host of aphorisms call us to persistence. Don't give up this ship; don't halt before you are lame; hang in there; the darkest hour is just before dawn; while there is life, there is hope; always give people more than they expect; the expectations of life depend on diligence are but a few of many. This expression manages to convey the idea in three short…

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Added by Glenn Morison on 4th mo. 30, 2017 at 1:19am — 9 Comments

Death

Quakers are encouraged to “contemplate death . . . both their own and the death of those they are closest to.”[i] Death is to be seen as a “fact”[ii] and such an understanding is meant to set us free from fear and avoidance. Mourning and grief are not to be hidden and Quakers are led to embrace those who mourn.…

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Added by Glenn Morison on 4th mo. 27, 2017 at 11:00am — 6 Comments

Two heads are better than one

In 1390, John Gower wrote an extended work on the seven deadly sins, Confessio Amantis, which contains the phrase, "and tuo han more wit then on." I believe in the truth of this phrase and put that belief into practice. Not only was this book formally edited, I shared my early drafts with anyone who would read them.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-11

Two are better…

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Added by Glenn Morison on 4th mo. 24, 2017 at 11:42am — 4 Comments

It takes two to tango

While there would be universal acceptance of the notion that some things require a partnership of sorts, marriage and boxing for example, these words appear in the 1952 song by the same name, which has since covered by many. The song, first made famous by Pearl Bailey, pretends to exhaust the many things one can do on one’s own but saves “the dance of love” as the…

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Added by Glenn Morison on 4th mo. 22, 2017 at 12:00pm — No Comments

One good turn deserves another

This is a restating of the Latin phrase, quid pro quo, which means, “two things exchanged for equal value” and is often used in criminal court when explaining a plea bargain where both sides truly give something up and both sides truly gain something. This phrase describes what is rather than what ought to be. In contrast, by using the word “deserves” in the proverb, it…

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Added by Glenn Morison on 4th mo. 19, 2017 at 9:14am — 3 Comments

Paddle your own canoe

These words come from a popular 19th Century Celtic song. The song cautions against trust and risk ending with the couplet: “And I have no wife to bother me life, no lover to prove untrue, the whole day long I laugh with the song and paddle me own canoe.” Such wisdom is contradicted by phrases like, “there is strength in numbers.” Winnipeg has a relatively small population of people with African descent. And while a few African gangs were kept apart from each other, the correctional…

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Added by Glenn Morison on 4th mo. 18, 2017 at 9:30am — 19 Comments

Look for the similarities rather than differences

In a BBC interview, when speaking of her move to San Francisco, author Isabel Allende said “I have traveled all over the world and one thing that amazes me is that I can communicate with people. My story may be different but emotionally we are all the same. I tend to see the similarities in people and not the differences.” I can only imagine such a straightforward piece of…

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Added by Glenn Morison on 4th mo. 15, 2017 at 10:11am — No Comments

If you can't beat them, join them

Although these words are commonly spoken in political contexts, they are hard to apply in some settings. You can't really put on the other team's uniform during halftime at a football game. A superstar athlete can, however, forgo the best contract available to sign for less money with the team he thinks can win a championship. This idea of joining the opposition can describe…

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Added by Glenn Morison on 4th mo. 13, 2017 at 9:12am — 2 Comments

No man is an island

John Donne's Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, and several steps in my Sickness contains both the phrases “no man is an illand” and “for whom the bell tolls.” The 1623 spelling may be unfamiliar to many. Unlike many of the quotations I chose for this book, where true origins are unknown or debatable, there is universal agreement that this is Donne's image.…

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Added by Glenn Morison on 4th mo. 9, 2017 at 11:00am — 7 Comments

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link

Often this phrase refers to a person in a group or team and this meaning was reinforced with the popular TV show, The Weakest Link that had tremendous, albeit brief, popularity in 2001.  The aphorism originated in the 19th century. It referred to the links in an argument, suggesting that even the strongest of logical propositions lose their validity based on their…

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Added by Glenn Morison on 4th mo. 7, 2017 at 11:13am — 3 Comments

Don’t go it alone

As advice for climbing a tall and wobbly ladder, this aphorism speaks of the value of partnerships and mutual support. Extended, it could be taken as proclaiming the value of communal collectives such as food-purchasing clubs or cooperative housing. Note the use of the word “don’t” which implies we actually have the choice to “go it alone” - a suggestion some would counter…

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Added by Glenn Morison on 4th mo. 4, 2017 at 11:39am — 3 Comments

Too many cooks spoil the broth

These words could be read as the opposite of “it takes a village [to raise a child]” or “many hands make light work,” and is also akin to the anachronistic “too many chiefs and not enough Indians.” Rather than argue for universality of any one stance, suffice to say that some situations call for teamwork, and others for the concentration and oversight of only one, or maybe a…

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Added by Glenn Morison on 4th mo. 2, 2017 at 3:42pm — No Comments

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