Author Topic: "A wise man changes himself"  (Read 3293 times)

Offline PickelledEggs (OP)

"A wise man changes himself"
« on: April 10, 2014, 05:08:09 PM »
The quote is something to the effect of:

Quote
A smart man will try to change the world. A wise man will change himself.

I don't remember who it was that said this, or the exact quote despite looking and googling, but,

the question is:
Is this model of thinking necessarily good? Surely changing yourself to adapt to the world around you is good, but is giving up on changing the world for the better a good thing to do?


I kind of feel sometimes that we can do it  and move the world forward positively and more quickly if people didn't give up hope so easily. A lot of time when I bring up issues about human rights and education, people say to me, "Why do you care? It doesn't affect you" When it obviously does, if not, indirectly or to the people around me or even around the world.

Obviously just because a quote is old, doesn't make it valid (bible for instance) but I still feel a bit conflicted about this one. IDK. Maybe it's because I'm still young I just don't understand...
"Tell Pilate to release the files!!!" - Bill Hicks
"I have an open mind, but not so open that my brains will fall out" -James Randi
"One who truly hates himself cannot love, he cannot place his trust in another." - NGE

Offline Casparov

Re: "A wise man changes himself"
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2014, 01:29:16 AM »
Great quote.

If it said something like, "Idiots try to change the world, and smart men try to change themselves," I wouldn't think it was so great. But instead, it says that those who merely try to change the world are "smart" and those who try to change themselves are "wise". This I believe whole heartedly. The greatest step one can take towards changing the world is first to change the self.

It's the old Gandhi thing, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." It is the most effective way to spur forward Evolution.
“The Fanatical Atheists are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who—in their grudge against traditional religion as the "opium of the masses"—cannot hear the music of other spheres.” - Albert Einstein

Offline PickelledEggs (OP)

Re: "A wise man changes himself"
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2014, 01:50:54 AM »
Great quote.

If it said something like, "Idiots try to change the world, and smart men try to change themselves," I wouldn't think it was so great. But instead, it says that those who merely try to change the world are "smart" and those who try to change themselves are "wise". This I believe whole heartedly. The greatest step one can take towards changing the world is first to change the self.

It's the old Gandhi thing, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." It is the most effective way to spur forward Evolution.
True. I believe that you should be the change you want to see in the world too, and you should change yourself for the better.

Does that mean you should totally discount the idea of trying to change the rest of the world though? That's the main thing I'm asking.

Sent via your mom

"Tell Pilate to release the files!!!" - Bill Hicks
"I have an open mind, but not so open that my brains will fall out" -James Randi
"One who truly hates himself cannot love, he cannot place his trust in another." - NGE

Offline SGOS

Re: "A wise man changes himself"
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2014, 08:51:35 AM »
There is a happy medium between the two.  During my mid 20s, I was in a "change myself, not the world" mode.  I thought it was the only thing that made sense.  In my late 20s I got a job working at a University in the Department of Residential Life.  My boss was gay and a woman.  She was immersed in groups that were capable of introspective change from within, but 90% of their energies were directed at changing "the world".  They were activists, and now, 40 years later gays are getting married, women have more equality if they choose it, and the world is accepting it.

So I look at this way.  Changing yourself is important if you are not going to do anything else, but there is nothing wrong with be a powerful agent of change in your environment.  Ideally, you would hone both skills.

Re: "A wise man changes himself"
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2014, 11:04:24 PM »
I think it has less with changing ones self to match the world, but more to do with leading by example. For example: If I wanted the world to maintain a healthy weight, I should be leading by example and maintaining a healthy weight. The "theory" behind this is that others will see that I lead a happier life being healthy, and will therefore want to get some of that happiness for themselves, and begin to grow to a healthier weight. It would start small(within my circle of friends) but over time it could end up changing the way the world manages their weight. Thus "changing" the world.

Or people could just see that my way involves actually going to the gym and doing stuff(not just going there) and decide that it takes too much effort and head home, stopping off at mcdonalds on the way... of course.
Science doesn't give a damn about religions, because "damns" are not measurable units and therefore have no place in research. As soon as it's possible to detect damns, we'll quantize perdition and number all the levels of hell. Until then, science doesn't care.

Offline Casparov

Re: "A wise man changes himself"
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2014, 12:54:25 AM »
I think it has less with changing ones self to match the world, but more to do with leading by example. For example: If I wanted the world to maintain a healthy weight, I should be leading by example and maintaining a healthy weight. The "theory" behind this is that others will see that I lead a happier life being healthy, and will therefore want to get some of that happiness for themselves, and begin to grow to a healthier weight. It would start small(within my circle of friends) but over time it could end up changing the way the world manages their weight. Thus "changing" the world.

I second this^^
“The Fanatical Atheists are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who—in their grudge against traditional religion as the "opium of the masses"—cannot hear the music of other spheres.” - Albert Einstein

Offline aitm

Re: "A wise man changes himself"
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2014, 08:45:20 AM »
A wise man will know when there is no need to change oneself and instead concentrate on changing the world.
A humans desire to live is exceeded only by their willingness to die for another. Even god cannot equal this magnificent sacrifice. No god has the right to judge them.-first tenant of the Panotheust

Re: "A wise man changes himself"
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2014, 12:59:31 PM »
A wise man changes his underpants.

I am not a wise man.


Seriously, though. I've recently dealt with a couple people unfortunately close to me that were struggling with chemical addiction. What I've notice from this experience, beside an increase in the attractiveness of suicide, is that both of them would make excuses where the blame was shifted to others instead of looking at themselves and how fucked up they are.

So, I don't take the part about changing the world in the sense of overthrowing a nazi regime, but on a smaller, more personal level. Where people, in an attempt to improve their lives will try to get others to change for them. Basically, attempting to control things they cannot control and really have no fucking business trying to. You cannot control others. But you can, theoretically, control yourself. Start there if you want to see change.

Offline SGOS

Re: "A wise man changes himself"
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2014, 01:53:21 PM »
I don't take the part about changing the world in the sense of overthrowing a nazi regime, but on a smaller, more personal level. Where people, in an attempt to improve their lives will try to get others to change for them. Basically, attempting to control things they cannot control and really have no fucking business trying to. You cannot control others. But you can, theoretically, control yourself. Start there if you want to see change.

I agree that if the only skill you have (or think you have) is in changing others, you're not going to see much personal growth in yourself.  It's absolutely most important to know how to take care of your own house first.

As far as being an agent of change, which I see as a strength, it's not quite the same as the domineering behavior, that I see as a weakness, which I think you are talking about.  And make no mistake about it.  My activist lesbian boss was very good a sorting out her own shit.  I don't think she could have been as effective as an agent of change if she were not able to keep track of her own issues so well.

In my older life, I still see changing myself (I usually refer to it as understanding myself) as of first importance.  That's how I derive happiness.  As far as changing others, at his point in the game, I have neither the interest or the energy to try to do that.  Now, I kind of hate to admit to my attitude toward others, sometimes.  I don't really care what they do, and I like that in myself.  If they want to be stupid assholes, then fuck em.  I just avoid them.  I don't want them around.  If they are trying to control me, I don't want them around either.  If they are trying to push my buttons, I'll ask them to leave.

Fortunately, many people aren't that bad so there are still good friends to be had.

Re: "A wise man changes himself"
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2014, 10:46:57 PM »
To quote my first grade teacher "you have two ears, one mouth, do the math"

Offline PickelledEggs (OP)

Re: "A wise man changes himself"
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2014, 10:52:31 PM »
To quote my first grade teacher "you have two ears, one mouth, do the math"
I had a teacher that said that too.
Does that have to do with the "A wise man changes himself" quote? or is that something different? I don't follow.
"Tell Pilate to release the files!!!" - Bill Hicks
"I have an open mind, but not so open that my brains will fall out" -James Randi
"One who truly hates himself cannot love, he cannot place his trust in another." - NGE

Re: "A wise man changes himself"
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2014, 10:54:59 PM »
Yeah I'm responding to the OP

Re: "A wise man changes himself"
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2014, 04:13:11 AM »
To quote my first grade teacher "you have two ears, one mouth, do the math"

I've got two hands and one cock.   Does the same principle apply?
Winner of WitchSabrinas Best Advice Award 2012


We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real
tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. -Plato

Re: "A wise man changes himself"
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2014, 01:08:24 PM »
I like it.  I'm sure it can mean many things depending on the reader but I can relate. 

It sort of hits the nail on the head from people here that grew up in a religious environment and the changes it takes internally to get past it.

I also like the quote "You don't change as a person, you slowly become who you are." 
Please don't take anything I say seriously.

Re: "A wise man changes himself"
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2014, 01:16:50 PM »
Great quote.

If it said something like, "Idiots try to change the world, and smart men try to change themselves," I wouldn't think it was so great. But instead, it says that those who merely try to change the world are "smart" and those who try to change themselves are "wise". This I believe whole heartedly. The greatest step one can take towards changing the world is first to change the self.

It's the old Gandhi thing, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." It is the most effective way to spur forward Evolution.

He also got thousands of followers killed with his philosophy. He was brave, but I have a hard time taking a grown man walking around in diapers seriously. Oh wait! That's what I do. Solitary
There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.