([identity profile] wrote in [community profile] learn_russian2014-12-23 10:56 am

Searching for a saying or aphorism

Dear all,

I think I heard a good aphorism in Russian once that meant, essentially "Don't worry about trying to transform society, but just take care of your own personal situation and society will improve" -- maybe something about one's own огород or двор, but I'm not sure.  Is there any aphorism or krylatoe vyrazhenie that means something like this?

Happy Holidays.

[identity profile] 2014-12-23 04:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Perhaps, "Спасись сам, и тысячи вокруг тебя спасутся" by St. Seraphim of Sarov.

[identity profile] 2014-12-23 04:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Не пытайся изменить мир – это невозможно. Измени себя, и мир изменится.

This expression, varying, is widespread along the internet, quoted by people of different beliefs, so it's hard to establish its origin.
Edited 2014-12-23 16:14 (UTC)
ext_613079: Default userpic (Бритый небритый)

[identity profile] 2014-12-23 04:21 pm (UTC)(link)
I think you will not find one. Russian folklore does not encourage changing the society :-)

[identity profile] 2014-12-23 04:28 pm (UTC)(link)
St. Seraphim is specifically Russian ;-)

[identity profile] 2014-12-23 04:42 pm (UTC)(link)
But still it's not a proverb technically.

[identity profile] 2014-12-23 04:55 pm (UTC)(link)
Right. The only problem is, there seems to be no such proverb.

[identity profile] 2014-12-23 04:42 pm (UTC)(link)
Precision of the quote above was discussed (, "Стяжи дух мирен, и тысячи вокруг тебя спасутся" seems to be more just, but its meaning looks a bit narrower.


[identity profile] 2014-12-23 04:42 pm (UTC)(link)
I guess that is rather after Confucius: "The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large."

"Хочешь изменить мир? Начни с себя."
"Если ты не можешь изменить мир вокруг, измени хотя бы себя изнутри."

* * *

"Коль полоть, как в своем огороде."


Re: Confucius

[identity profile] 2014-12-23 04:43 pm (UTC)(link)
Wow! I guess,tou've nailed it!

And I've never knew such a proverb exists. This community helps to improve their Russian evenb to native speakers. XD

Re: Confucius

[identity profile] 2014-12-23 05:24 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't think we did.

The first one is not a Russian proveb, but a quotation usually attributed (rather farsely) to Mohandas Gandhi. His actual quotation is "You must be the change you wish to see in the world," which obviously does not make such great Facebook "wise quotation" or Internet "demotivator."

The second one is usually, and again quite falsely, attributed to Kung Fuzi a.k.a. Confucius, although his real saying is again not as meaningless: it is "The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world."

The third one at least looks like a genuine Russian proverb, and is attributed to Vladimir Dahl. Starts to smell Russian, right? However, if we check with the actual Explanatory Dictionary of the Great Russian Language by Dahl, there's only one entry for "полоть", and the example given by Dahl does not quite look like a proverb - it's smply "Поли в своём огороде".

Sorry for that ;-)
Edited 2014-12-23 17:24 (UTC)

Re: Confucius

[identity profile] 2014-12-23 05:34 pm (UTC)(link)
Of course, I've meant only the last one. But I don't see why it doesn't look like a proverb to you. Just because it makes sence literally? So do many proverbs, i'd say.
Especially in the form it was given in the comment. I don't know the whole Dahl dictionary by heart, but the source given seems serious enough not to expect some fake made-up proverbs, ascribed to him. Maybe it was mentioned in a different article?

Anyway, it seems to fit upthera44 description perfectly, so, I guess, that's exectly what (s)he was looking for.

Re: Confucius

[identity profile] 2014-12-23 05:41 pm (UTC)(link)
One does not have to know Dahl by heart, it is easily accessible and searchable online ( ;-)

Re: Confucius

[identity profile] 2014-12-23 05:42 pm (UTC)(link)
And yes, if you can find a different article for полоть in Dahl's, please do so.

Re: Confucius

[identity profile] 2014-12-23 08:03 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't see a need to find anything, since Dahl's "Пословицы русского народа" was quoted above. If you find the link unreliable, well, every over site with this which I could find gives the same text: etc.

[identity profile] 2014-12-23 05:57 pm (UTC)(link)
Хочешь изменить мир - начни с себя.

Do not expect it to actually work, tho.
oryx_and_crake: (Default)

[personal profile] oryx_and_crake 2014-12-23 06:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Did you mean "Надо возделывать свой сад"? In this case, it is Voltaire (specifically, from Candide) and has nothing to do with the depths of the mysterious Russian soul.

[identity profile] 2014-12-23 08:41 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't know a proverb that says exactly what you described, but there are few ones with meaning "start change from yourself" or "look at yourself first":

Чужую кровлю кроет, а своя течет.

Ахал бы дядя, на себя глядя.

В чужом глазу сучок велик, а в своем и бревна не видит.

"Чем кумушек считать трудиться,
Не лучше ль на себя, кума, оборотиться?" (Крылов)

With огород the closest one is probably "не в свой огород не суйся" but it doesn't mean "take care of your own personal situation".

[identity profile] 2014-12-23 10:22 pm (UTC)(link)
Не суйся в чужой огород = mind your own business