Reading, thinking ... changing?

Reading, thinking ... changing?

I found myself drawn down an interesting path the other night while doing some reading on the past relationships of Germany and the United States … coming across a quote that sent me fully into a micro burst review of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Most may know him for his poetic drama, Faust. Born 1749 in Frankfurt, Germany I found him, in my quick overview, to be a prolific writer and thinker, a lover of both art and science and quite the romantic (see The Sorrows of Young Werther)

Anyway … here are a few notable quotes from within his large library of words and thoughts that seemed poignant. Not just in their application to our world today … but so too in reminding us that while much changes … much stays the same. 


"Divide and rule, the politician cries; unite and lead, is watchword of the wise."

For those of us in the US … wake up please. Our government should not be about parties and they should not be about dividing us up and having us fight against each other while the outcome is a win for them no matter how things turn out for us. There SHOULD BE NO us and them … the GOVERNMENT IS US!! You cannot talk of tolerance and diversity when we cannot accept that we are different than each other and understand that the idea is not to make us all think and act the same but to find the value in each of our differences and move forward together.

"A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart."

The fear and anger and hate we blame others for having is ours too. Know that is true. It WILL change you!

"The decline of literature indicates the decline of a nation."

Not much to say here. Some of us have become a nation of lazy headline readers. Searching only for the content that supports our beliefs. Knowing this our “media”, who has all too often shown themselves to be only bloggers looking to earn a paycheck by clicks, has given up journalism to take advantage of our laziness. Fight back. Take responsibility for your mind and your thoughts.

"Doubt grows with knowledge."

As, I think, it should! Question everything. Then question yourself and your understanding of what you think you know. Purposefully seek out and LISTEN to alternative ideas. Do more than provide lip service to the knowledge of the value of diversity of thought!!

"The way you see people is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is what they become."

We do have influence on those around us. A lot of wise people have said this in other ways. Treat people as you wish to be treated by them. Trust is given easily, but almost impossible to regain once lost. Too many of us, without personal knowledge of someone, have labeled them as something because others have called them as such. Take responsibility for your own assessment.

"The best government is that which teaches us to govern ourselves."

We only need our government to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. All the rest falls into place if they do that. Instead today we have asked them/allowed them to govern the very nuances of our very personal lives, and in doing so have become weak, afraid and dependent on them. The Government is not responsible for our happiness nor our day to day safety. That is our job. Time to remind them of that. Time to own our lives and take full responsibility for them.

"The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything."

Relax. The world is a chaotic place when it is working correctly. Quit looking to find logic in a world that is anything but logical!! Lighten up a bit.

"We usually lose today, because there has been a yesterday, and tomorrow is coming."

Now is all that truly matters. If you use NOW wisely tomorrow will be fine and your yesterday’s nothing but the past. Regrets are built on that which we did not do, far more often than on that which we did.

"What is not started today is never finished tomorrow."

Today. Now. (See the quote before this one)

And I saved this one for last …

"A person hears only what they understand."

When you wonder why no one seems to understand the perfectly obvious … when you think to blame them for being, stupid, or ignorant or any other names you might want to label them with … I challenge you to put the onus on yourself … for having failed to communicate your message in a manner that your audience can understand. This is a particular weakness of my own …when I find myself thinking “how can THEY be so … blind or weak or stupid”.

Thanks for reading … interested in thoughts and other quotes that show our continuing struggles seem to change little even while we have traveled so far together.

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Milos Djukic 21/11/2016 · #9

I like this one a lot @Paul Frank Gilbert. If I write "carefully", I will also reduce the chance that my words are misunderstood, misused or taken out of context by someone. If I follow my intuition in writing, I will not be better to everyone, but certainly to myself and also to some precious self-similar people. If I manage to stay true to myself in writing, I will become a bit clearer and much closer to some people, while simultaneously I will dissociate from some people. An integral part of “Writing is a Joy” concept is to control own vanity and overblown self-regard. The power of the present moment is massively underrated. Ultimately, time is only an illusion (particles of light already knows everything), but somehow everything rather than nothing is possible if we start to understand the secrets of a personal time management. The natural growth of chaos in a free society is also a source of the most precious creativity and a possible upcoming Renaissance......
I have written this in 3015. And that is good. "Stupid is as stupid does". I have no problem to be stupid, ever :)

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Phil Friedman 17/11/2016 · #8

@Paul Frank Gilbert > "... understand that the idea is not to make us all think and act the same but to find the value in each of our differences and move forward together."

--- Goethe (and PFG) on the difference between being like-minded and finding affinity.

Excellent piece, with an undertone of wit and humor. Kudos. And cheers!

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Wayne Yoshida 17/11/2016 · #7

Thanks Paul. I was about to add to your title -- learning. Because this is what happens as we think for ourselves and not necessarily have someone else plug in thoughts for us to accept or believe. Great post for making us think.

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Pascal Derrien 🐝 17/11/2016 · #6

some good quotes :-) most of the paragraphs and topics could form dedicated articles in their own right :-) "A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart." I would say that a man needs to see the world to understand what he carries in his heart but that's for another day :-)

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Paul Frank Gilbert 17/11/2016 · #5

#4 I write with my boots on ... never quite sure where my mind will wander and what I might "step in"/learn along the way. Thanks for the honor ...

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Jim Murray 17/11/2016 · #4

OK ....1. Outstanding post. 2. I am reposting it in my hive The Beezers Hive. 3 This makes you a Beezer. 4. The downside of that (should you choose to let it affect you adversely), is that someone, or perhaps even a few people will label you part of that rag tag group of 'elitist" writers, here on beBee. The rest of us 'elitists' have gotten used to that. The reason certain people will feel that way is contained in the substance of your post, especially "A person Only hears what they understand". The Beezers write to be always aiming to elevate their craft. In so doing you will lose some folks along the way due to their inability to accept content that doesn't necessarily support their beliefs. So this was a rather long winded away of saying that you nailed a lot of stuff in this post. So thanks for that, @Paul Frank Gilbert

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debasish majumder 17/11/2016 · #3

nice insight @Paul Frank Gilbert! enjoyed read. thank you very much for sharing the post.

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Aurorasa Sima 17/11/2016 · #2

Thank you for this post.

"The word is the coat in which the meaning waits silently for its undressing"

Probably poorly translated by .... me.

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