As a part of my Torrey Honors Institute education, I was assigned a short writing assignment for every text we read, called a “Pull Question.” The idea was simple: pull together various concepts from a class session, and spend some more time writing or thinking about them. The professor would give a question or two at the end of each class, and you’ve have the semester to write about it (usually). Since old texts are important, and my study of them should not cease, we are starting a new series here at Evangelical Outpost. From time to time, we’ll post some of the Pull Questions we answered in our undergrad years. They’ll be edited, some context will be added, and they may be otherwise tweaked. The idea here is simple: our educations have changed us, and we believe they can change others as well. So without further non-pull-question writing, here is the first entry in the series:
Pull Question: Write 5 of your own proverbs. Write a brief reflection on the process of writing them.
1. Nobility never accomplished anything alone.
I formulated this proverb from a comment someone made recently: “That person’s attitude is very ‘noble.'” I concluded that nobility, while important, does not accomplish anything on its own. There is a double meaning, of course, which might refer to ancient power structures of nobility relying on the work of their peasants.
2. Action does not require reliance on a guaranteed reaction.
This actually stems from reading Hume, who argued that knowledge itself was extremely limited. We could not know that if we dropped a pen, it would fall, even though we’d observed it thousands of times. Observation could only tell us about the past; you cannot observe the future. My thought with this proverb is simply this: our actions need not depend on knowing the outcome.
3. Do not ignore the color of the car when seeking to purchase it.
We’ve been taught certain details are insignificant when making decisions: look at the function, not the form, to make a good decision. Does the car of air conditioning? Is it a manual or automatic transmission? Oh, right. I guess color matters too. Don’t think only on colors, but ignoring it completely seems foolish as well.
4. A rich man can choose to work or to not work after he has acquired his riches. A tired man is not capable of working.
I’ll be honest, I wrote this proverb because I was really tired.
5. Worry does nothing for anyone, except express deep care and concern.
The question I was wrestling with as I wrote this proverb is this: is a worrisome attitude always sinful, or is it sometimes beneficial for those who you worry for? Obviously worrying usually accomplishes little or nothing, but if my concern, my worry, demonstrates to another that I care, is there not some benefit?
Writing proverbs is tricky, of course, but considering how long ago I wrote this, I don’t think most of them are half bad. Give it a try, yourselves.