Clichés define a culture


The best way to understand a culture, its hidden determinants, is to study what is held to be “common sense:” its clichés. So, I am making up two lists:

1. What is common sense and automatically held to be true in the existing culture;

2. And the same for the culture we need to create if we want human survival.

Here is a listing, in random order at the moment. This is the first stage in a process of brainstorming. That’s listing options, however silly, without critique and censoring.

Existing New
Caveat Emtpor (let the buyer beware).

Not in my backyard!

Human nature being what it is… (meaning it’s selfish and nasty).

There is a sucker born every day.

I’ve worked hard for what I’ve got, and have a right to keep it.

Stranger danger.

It’s only common sense to have insurance, lock your house and car.

There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Some people are just evil.

Criminal acts/bad deeds need to be punished.

It’s OK if I can get away with it (lying, stealing, not declaring income…).

Someone else’s problem.

In times of scarcity, I have the right to keep what will keep me alive, even if you starve.

If something is good, more of it is better, without limit.

Life is a contest.

Nature, red in tooth and claw.

Carpe diem – seize the day [Dorothy]

You get what you pay for [Deb]

Easy come, easy go [Deb]

No pain, no gain [Deb]

Above all, do no harm.

Only two things matter in life: what you take with you when you die, and what you leave behind in the hearts of others.

An act of kindness carries its own reward.

Love is the strongest force in the universe.

Too much is as bad as too little.

I am a caretaker for the planet.

Who, doesn’t matter. How well, that’s another matter.

The way to contentment is nonattachment.

Do your best and don’t worry about outcome.

I can survive anything, even death.

Act according to your principles, regardless of thoughts, urges, imaginings, fears and the like.

You are perfect. Some of the things you do are excellent. Most of the things you do are OK. The rest are the growing opportunities: There is no such thing as a fault, defect or mistake.

In times of scarcity, we share. It’s better to starve together than to fight for food.

All cruelty is due to ignorance.

Those who do evil need my compassion the most.

Birth without violence [Andrew Gaines]

Abundant frugality [Andrew Gaines]

Love when its easy is good. Love when its hard is great. [Stephanie Black]

The one who forgives first is the strongest [Chris]

and also…….it’s ok to cry [Chris]

Mitakuye Oyasin (All Are Related) is a phrase from the Lakota language. It reflects the world view of Interconnectedness held by the Lakota people. [Pendantry]

You are invited to add to these lists. When we are ready, we’ll order them, eliminate duplication, and attempt to make them into coherent descriptions of culture.

Everyone who contributes qualifies for a free short story, as long as your email address is accessible to me.

The choice is:

Falling: the joy of skydiving. 100 words.

Expert Assessment: Grandmother on trial. 100 words.

New: Thanks to “depleted uranium” munitions, a new Messiah is born. 400 words.

Biological Pest Control: How Earth was saved from destruction. 530 words.

Angel of Life The adults tried to protect George from the truth about his mother’s cancer. A planned addition for the revised version of Through Other Eyes. 1000 words.

The man from New South Wales: Sometimes tragedy can lead to good things. 3500 words.

The Meaning of Life and Death: All Dale wanted was to die, but Sheila had other ideas. The fictional lead chapter to Cancer: A personal challenge. 4800 words.

About Dr Bob Rich

I am a professional grandfather. My main motivation is to transform society to create a sustainable world in which my grandchildren and their grandchildren in perpetuity can have a life, and a life worth living. This means reversing environmental idiocy that's now threatening us with extinction, and replacing culture of greed and conflict with one of compassion and cooperation.
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16 Responses to Clichés define a culture

  1. pendantry says:

    The phrase that keeps intruding on me (in a most welcome fashion) at the moment is ‘Mitakuye Oyasin‘. I nearly didn’t offer it as I’m not entirely sure it qualifies as a cliché, and then when I found myself getting sidetracked on the question of which culture is under discussion — I reread the terms of reference for your list (ie ‘brainstorming: listing options, however silly, without critique and censoring’).

    I’ve offered a link for explanation as it may not be familiar (includes me: I keep forgetting how to spell it!)


  2. Chris says:

    The one who forgives first is the strongest and also…….it’s ok to cry


  3. Carla Moora says:

    I realy was moved by your story “New”.


  4. Carla Moora says:

    From a Dutch quote:”He who burns his bottom, must sit on the blisters!” In our country we would say:
    We are all responsible for our own actions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bobrich18 says:

      When I had my hip chop op, the entry was from the back of the leg. I thought I’d have that problem but it was OK. But no, you are not allowed to see the scar.


  5. Here’s a new one that’s been relevant to my observations lately: “Love when its easy is good. Love when its hard is great.”


  6. Deb says:

    Thanks Bob,
    Could I see Expert Assessment please?


  7. Deb says:

    1. You get what you pay for.

    2. Easy come, easy go.

    3. No pain, no gain.


  8. Dorothy says:

    Carpe diem – seize the day

    Liked by 1 person

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