Thursday, 13 February 2014


Wisdom of the Orient?
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.' (Old Chinese proverb, allegedly)
This well known fake Chinese aphorism has done sterling service on behalf of Conductive Education over the years, notwithstanding having apparently originated from the pen of Anne Isabella Ritchie,late-nineteenth-century writer of romantic fiction.

Anyone feeling the need for some replacement Oriental wisdom of the same sort might care to browse amongst the following brief selection –
After dinner is over, who cares about spoon?
Alas, mouse cannot cast shadow like elephant.
Always danger where men are evil, but knowledge best weapon for protection.
Always someone about to stick fly in ointment.
Begin at best place – beginning.
Biggest mistakes in history made by people who didn't think.
Can cut off monkey's tail, but he is still monkey. 
Cannot tell where path lead until reach end of road.
Cat who tries to catch two mice at one time, goes without supper.
Cold omelet, like fish out of sea, does not improve with age.
Confucius has said, 'A wise man question himself, a fool others'. 
Confucius say, 'Luck happy combination of foolish accidents.'
Fear is cruel padlock.
Front seldom tell truth. To know occupants of house, always look in back yard.
Good tools shorten labor.
Hasty conclusion easy to make, like hole in water.
Hasty deduction, like ancient egg, look good from outside.
Hours are happiest when hands are busiest.
Ideas planted too soon often like seeds on winter ground - quickly die.
Mind, like parachute, only function when open.
No one knows less about servants than their master.
Owner of face cannot always see nose.
Silence best answer when uncertain.
Sometimes muddy waters, when stirred sufficiently, bring strange things to surface.
Spider does not spin web for single fly.
Strange events permit themselves the luxury of occurring in strange places.
Suspicion often father of truth.
The impossible sometimes permits itself the luxury of occurring.
To speak without thinking is to shoot without aiming.
Truth cannot be insult.
Under strong general there are no weak soldiers.
Unhappy news sometimes correct self next day.
Very difficult to estimate depth of well by size of bucket.
Would much prefer to wait a few moments more to soar with eagle rather than rush to fly with fledgling sparrow.
Surely some useful Oriental wisdom there to lend authority to the next PowerPoint on Conducive Education. And you can find a lot more like this on line
The word 'parachute' should have sounded a warning bell. The above Chinese sayings are all fakes. Go on the Internet and search for “fake chinese proverbs”. There are plenty of lists to chose from, hundreds and hundreds of sayings, old saws and proverbs. Some of them are sage, some funny, and others downright rude.
The above selection was selected from a list of nearly five hundred sayings of the fictional detective Charlie Chan who featured in a long series of Hollywood B-movies in the 1940s and 1940s:
The following are kosher, the real Macao

Some people in the West, especially so in Conductive Education, do like a pinch of Oriental philosophy to spice their thinking. Here is something fairly fundamental for Conductive Education, from Lao Tzu (Laozi)
道生萬物. 萬物歸一
In English. this means something like
The Tao [the way, the path, the principle, the underlying natural order of the universe] generates everything, and everything comes back to one thing.
Or put it another way –
All is one and all things are connected.
For myself I rather like this one (same source) –
The Way takes no action, but leaves nothing undone.
Here is another that I like, also from Lao Tsu. I had wanted to use this one at the 8th World Conductive Education Congress last year, but that presentation was not accepted) –
No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.
If you are concerned with the battle to establish and defend CE around he world, the Art of War by Sun Tzu (Sunzi) is an aphoristic goldmine –
Foreknowledge cannot be found by consulting the spirits...
And there is always Confucius...

Happy hunting!

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