Beavers are builders; humans are too. Similarities do not end there.
Boria Sax tells that among the rodents of greatest folkloric importance is the beaver with its large flat tail, its huge teeth that can gnaw down trees, and its amazing ability to build so well that beavers have often been regarded as the most civilised of creatures.
The beaver was a popular totem and often a bearer of culture for Native American tribes. One man who took refuge during the winter in the beaver house, when he left in the spring, the patriarch of the beaver family gave him a pointed piece of aspen. Using the stick as a weapon, he became the first man ever to kill in war. Another tribe traces its origin to a man who was taught to build by beavers after he had married the daughter of their king.
Early explorers were amazed by the size of beaver lodges in the New World and brought back to Europe fantastic stories of a highly sophisticated beaver society. Beavers were said to build with mortar, use their tails as trowels, and have a system of parliamentary law.
By the seventeenth century, the beaver was regularly mentioned, along with the elephant, ape, dog, and dolphin, as perhaps the most intelligent animal after man. Oliver Goldsmith wrote of America in his History of Animated Nature (1774), "The beavers in those distant solitudes are known to build like architects and rule like citizens." He added that the homes of the beavers "exceed the houses of the human inhabitants of the same country both in neatness and in convenience".
At about the same time that many Europeans were idealising the American beaver, colonial trappers were finding it a lucrative source of fur in an intense competition that often escalated into armed conflict and drove the beavers in North America close to extinction, though.
(Extracts from Boria Sax 2001:29-30)
In this series of articles, the beaver symbolises human libido (id) to ease learning a bit, through what is may be called the art of distance-making. By psychological distance and other forms of distancing, what is mentioned hardly seems very burdensome at first glance, and maybe longer.
In psychoanalytic theory, the term libido is part of the id - understood as a driving force of much behavior, and not just sexual energy. Sigmund Freud posited that id is unconscious, primal energy. The id seeks pleasure and is controlled by what Freud termed the pleasure principle, which is aiming for the greatest amount of pleasure possible. People may not become well aware of many of these urges.
The human ego handles id impulses well or not so well. The ego should rise to be able to harness the id's libidinal energies and have them expressed acceptably through sensible realism, called "the reality principle" by Freud. Good realism helps coping, getting to goals, and mediates between basic demands formed by the libido and superego norms that include ideals and morals imposed on a person. The id pushes the ego to maximize pleasure, the superego pushes it to behave acceptably to superiors, like parents and bosses.
The way libido is expressed depends on the stage of development a person is in. At each stage, the libido is focused on a specific area. When handled successfully, the child moves to the next stage of development and eventually grows into a healthy, successful adult. If not well handled, the person's libidinal energy may remain fixed and the human id development gets more or less harmed. That is where neuroses get an entrance, and a person remains "stuck" in this stage until the conflict is resolved. That's where a therapist or three get an entrance.
Also, Freud suggests that repressing desires and bad happenings, or keeping memories out of conscious awareness, requires very much "psychic energy", or vivacity, and may thwart one's ability to function normally.
There is a good deal to consider in wisdom from previous millenniums, for they represent more basic handling of life - that is, more directly id-related, handling wisdom. There is that chance. And to ease matters, let us talk of beavers as likely suggestions of you and me.
Aiming for Excellence
A long, healthy and happy life is much to be desired. But there are many tricks to handle and traps to steer out of throughout life. It can pay to be carefully geared and allied to id (normal libido development). If not, you may come to realise you have failed in life some way or other as time goes by. So "Watch out that you are not deceived." [Luke 21:5-8]
There are many ways to go along in life. One is as a "groupie", taking a chance that doing as others is the way to go. That conform approach depends heavily on how the others are getting on: heading downward and losing hold without getting aware of it; going on about as before; or going on and up. The last is indeed preferable. Thus, you have to think for yourself, and signposts along the way may be lacking.
To rule out common tricks and tracks that bring on unluck in large measure, humans have taught proverbs to the next generations, with lessons like: "Don't be as stupid as us or many others have been before: Don't make the same old mistakes." If the proverbial counsels are wise and up to date, maybe they can help. If not, they may be annoying or entertaining, depending on lots of factors. If they contain good seeds that fall into good soil, some sunny day such seeds may sprout into actions in a life. Let us hope the actions will be sound and good too. If so, we could increase your chances of getting a happy life. If not, be guarded enough to handle tough goings.
Some proverbs may be helpful and witty; others only witty. Thus, there is a need to gauge proverbs very well to see in their overriding lessons apply in our time, in our conditions, and onwards.
Different traditions have similar proverbs. Such proverbs may relate to how one may fulfill the human id plan (libidinous development) at large. There is that chance.
Fair wisdom is what we may steer along by so as to reduce the risks for floundering, enhance some odds of winning - and should not be dispensed with. It should work well to drop what is too feigned and artificial to improve your lot here or in the future. The value of artificial beautifiers tends to drop in time.
We should let solid "beaver wisdom" (including knowledge of id) enter our hearts. Beaver lore can be wiser than it looks, and wisdom may be stretched to serve us still better. Translating your pertinent observations from the many intricacies of the world around can be suitable to others too.
In these jumbled scratches of changed proverbs, the poignant beaver is a token of features that pertain to the instincts of the id system. The beaver - sound id - should feel brisk. The beaver is also a good symbol of building capacities in man. Maybe those capacities lie dormant.
There could be sides of "beaver" teachings from days gone by that hardly fit in today. All the same, some counsel rooted in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia may help. Some major statements from other times and cultures may unite with our own experiences and in so doing benefit us.
"The Great Babble Is Here"
A collection of ancient proverbs was included in the Old Testament and later known as Solomon's Proverbs. However, a large part of that wisdom was from neighbouring countries, including Egypt and Babylon, where Hebrews had had centuries to absorb the proverbial lessons also.
Thus, there is the wise heritage of Egypt and other neighbouring countries involved in the Bible's Proverbs too, Encyclopaedia Britannica informs and specifies verse passages too. It goes against the missionary zeal or propaganda in some countries, but what matters is to "Make a right judgement." (John 7:24)
Has anyone won insights by fair strides? Then seek to learn from that one, and treat him (her) with respect if you can.
We hardly have to define everything in neat details before we try to draw benefit from a direction of thinking. Yet to sift and arrange sayings may improve their relevance and practical usefulness to a lot persons, but it depends on the quality of the sifting.
The "foundation" of much of your life outlets is of id, psychoanalysis and psychodynamics hold. [Link]
It's no easy job to understand and get lined up to the development of id (libido) and proprium (a term formed by Gordon Allport) - and if we don't look carefully into what able thinkers have gathered in this field, maybe future generations suffer severe pangs and unneeded hardships as they deteriorate for the lack of good and sound counsel in such waters.
We very often understand or seem to understand by interpolating, interpreting and associating (glueing) kernels with own insights and experience.
In general education, exhorting, plain talk may not be as helpful as instructions that are "sneaked in" through fables, good teachings tales, proverbs, and other friendly means that are wide and allow neat widening of mind in time too.
Ideas - good and fit ones too - may be had from fable animals in such as the Panchatantra, fables of Aesop and fairy tales. (Rajan 1995; Handford 1964)
To be "taken into us" through good learning somehow, that is, internalised, many separate items that come our way need to be grouped and arranged - at least to our initial profit. From that vantage poing the layout of the design talks for for many interesting adaptations, some local ones, some individualised.
Quite sensible and id-relevant growth of poignant, sound moral has to begin before the child can compare a lot and well.
There are higher sides of one's being, many levels to reach after or attain, says Daniel Goleman of Harvard in a book. (Cf. Goleman 1975)
What may be called sound and skilled distancing often helps overview.
Poetic and excellent means should be fit for high-reaching children.
Even-tempered instructions may work well. Watch out for all others.
A shallow mind is not good at diving inside, and those who search for pearls of wisdom, have to dive below the surface.
Humans can get hooked on and in turn die from words. Sectarian-forming outlooks may swarm below the surface of what is hailed as wisdom and stunt the moral and intellectual development of formerly bright and good children. One should lay bare the salient tricks of turning humans into herded animals - conformists, that is. It's in part Ulysses' Circe problem we hint at by these words.
You Can Use Sound Humour to Get Better or Whole Again
If being taken advantage of forms some hard, long-standing "group reaction" or similar, the status quo may be set and fixed thereby.
In not a few situations there can be a neat way out.
Watch out if you have much to do. Then your need is to learn to work faster or better.
Do not sleep or you'll grow poor: stay awake and you'll become a maniac instead. [There should be a middle way somewhere in between, or what? - Cf. Prov 20:2 - TM (Transcendental Meditation) may help significantly.
Not everything that is presented as humour is kind or good humour. Not a few fruits can have bitter after-tastes. (Kirkpatrick 1986)
Sound laughter may offset tenseness and nervousness - quite gentle humour and wit.
Arthur Koestler (1967) shows how sanity-assisting humour may arise from two links (frames of references) being fused in some apt ways, helps fairly well.
I should pay to go for better ways in the long art of living than those of wild hunters that regularly despise looking good.
Evil doers turn into evil dreaders and "fear the bear within" accordingly.
A beaver's lot reflects a beaver's dreams, or the other way round. It can work both ways, and both ways can blend. Bad dreams and conflicting dreams may lead to confusion, and confusion to blameworthy living.
From the Brook of Proverbs . . .
The beaver is the human id (libido, zest of life). It goes through marked stages, according to socio-psychodynamic theory. I subscribe to the view. The developmental scheme of Dr Erik H. Erikson is very helpful in large outline. The thrust of the following utterances is from the Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament of the Bible. It is a collection in the name of Solomon, who was not a very wise king - he caused his dynasty to crumble and fall, the Old Testament holds. How wise is that?
The Book of Proverbs includes proverbs from Egypt and other neighbouring countries, so it is not all Hebrew-made either. (EB)
Talk of origins aside, here are some lines that could prove helpful in the right hands, under fit conditions, and if things go well. Otherwise, there lies entertainment in some proverbs too.
Beaver boy, since you never rejected the old pond teachings of not giving up everything, you may be ready for many a best reward.
If you just respond deeply and well to "The foolish get waylaid, even by false companions" - if you just respond deeply enough to wisdom when she calls aloud in the beaver trail, raises her voice in the glittering pond.
Avoid being waylaid. Don't go along with the bandits, don't set paw on their paths. As for many others, they get caught in wicked things. Such is the end of most of those who go after ill-gotten gain.
The waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of silly beavers will destroy them.
Refrain from spreading evil-working nets. Do not spread evil. Play football instead.
Certain balanced forms of deep faith may in the end feed (save) you.
Many a British gentleman is quite like the ardent beaver who holds victory in store for the upright.
Look for insight as for silver treasure – From the mouth of the water bear comes knowledge and understanding.
Someone who delights in doing wrong and rejoices in the perverseness of evil, errs awfully. (Cf Yutang 1963)
Wisdom's ways can be pleasant ways to grace your winning.
Don't forget my teaching, but keep my sweet counsels in your heart.
Preserve sound judgement and discernment – In all your ways try to make your paths straight.
Clever beavers inherit honour, but silly beavers may be held up to shame.
When you lie down, go for sweet sleep as you can.
Hold on to sane instruction, don't let it go. Don't forsake sound learning. Lay hold of truthful words with all your kernel, stick to sweet counsels and you may live far better.
Take only ways that are solid and good if you can.
Maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge.
A loving doe, a graceful deer - may her udders satisfy you always, may you smile in her love.
When you sleep, significant kernels of wisdom may watch over you.
First-class counsels, glue them into your kernel - then you don't have to fasten them anywhere else.
Sweet, delicious counsels could work like lamps and torches, their essential teachings could be bright lights.
You can learn things from most animals through calm observation.
A beaver couple who plots evil with deceit in their hearts, can mar and stir up dissension after a while.
"The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder."
With persuasive words the wrong one may lead you astray; often seducing with smooth talk.
As Americans say, "Advice is something the wise don't need and the fools won't take (Proverb)."
Say to great beaver wisdom, "You're my sister.". – Instruct a wise beaver and he may become wiser still.
If you want to sleep well each night, learn what you can where you go about.
Behind really dear fellowship lies no vows.
"It's good to have two strings to one's bow," said an old archer. "I do possess some knowledge and discretion."
Getting old tends to require a "good flow" of id and its outlets. In this series 'beaver' represents human id.
Hatred can keep you wide awake and alarmed, instead of better things
Don't gloat when your timber tree falls; to show partiality in judging is not good.
Don't love sleep or you'll grow poor; stay awake and you'll become a maniac. [A suitable middling route should be found.]
Better a meal of cabbage where there's lusty, all right love than a fattened calf filled with hatred.
Stupid interpretations fairly often stifle the good flow of instructions
The beaver who leaves the path of beavers before him, could be in dire trouble before the end of the day.
Don't exploit the poor because they're friends of beavers, living in huts and sheds like them.
Stop listening to absolutely stupid instruction and interpolation, or in the end it could damn your fare.
Menial work tends to wear out and not bring best fruits
Don't be satisfied to do menial work; go for great results, rather. Read such messages that bring out something "best" in you, or help you to identify or confirm this and that as tied in to your own deep experiences, if you can. Thus, perceive what you need and favour little apart from it till you are well and safe, at least seemingly.
Near the end of your life, the tongue should be used well!
Let the works of sound beaver wisdom bring lots of praise.
At the end of your life you are likely to groan anyway.
Tricky speech can bewilder. Don't believe crazy jokes. Ask for evidence, rather
The wicked lover hearts harbour deceit though their speech could be charming. Don't believe such ones. Who are they? Hearts can tell.
Do the work you can, embrace work that counts, and ask to be shown the way - try that
Very significant ideas that rise "out of the ocean inside" have to be welcomed, taken care of and nourished. Thereby what emerges from inside can get good chances to manifest in the open, and further.
It could work well to embrace significant understanding and bring it to work in one's life.
Spend what is needed to find truths that count. Here you may learn to compose them too
THE BEAVER who conceals his hatred has not friendly lips.
Even a beaver young is known by his actions; you do well to avoid a beaver who talks too much.
Of fleeting moments, those spent in straight frivolity may count among the best
Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful virgin bride.
A beaver who gains the path of understanding pursues righteousness and finds the good loom also.
Simplicity and frivolity are like cousins, love to find things beautiful too
Decent, all right frivolity is a kindred of learning. What is imagined inside may come to your rescue and bring wisdom from on high.
Your mind soars and imagines things "up there".
To associate with bad ones may ruin your reputation.
Guarding your heart is plenty to do, and wise too
Don't join those beavers who drink too much grape wine or become the food of others.
Guard your heart, for it's the wellspring of life.
A deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
Get favoured in any way you can. Even disgrace may favour sound knowledge, illness too at times - but don't go for negative experiences. It works better to learn on top of mistakes and errors of others. Good schooling is like it
Maintain discretion and preserve knowledge.
The beaver who bluntly refuses and despises his beaver neighbour could get into trouble and disgrace.
First offended, then unyielding for a great long while too - and what comes next is fairly open in general
There should be a decent middle way somewhere.
Guard your heart and keep your channels to its good knowledge open, and balance carefully along. Adhering to main points of the Middle Way of Buddha, is fit for many.
Barker, Charles Edward. "Nerves" and Their Cure. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1960.
EB: Encyclopaedia Britannica. (Online and as yearly DVD suite)
Erikson, Erik H. Childhood and Society. Reissue paperback ed. New York: Norton and Co., 1993.
⸻. Dimensions of a New Identity. Paperback ed. New York: Norton and Co., 1979.
⸻. Identity: Youth and Crisis. Reissue paperback ed. New York: Norton and Co., 1994.
⸻. The Life Cycle Completed (Extended Version). New York: Norton and Co., 1999.
⸻. Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History (Austen Riggs Monograph). Reissue paperback ed. New York: Norton and Co., 1993.
Fenichel, Otto. The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis. Abingdon, UK: Taylor and Francis, 2005 (1946).
Freud, Sigmund. Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego. London: The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psychoanalysis, 1949 (1922).
⸻. On Sexuality: Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality and Other Works. New ed. Paperback. New York: Basic Books, 2000.
Goleman, David. The Varieties of the Meditative Experience. London: Rider, 1975.
Gossop, Michael. Theories of Neurosis. With a Foreword by H. J. Eysenck. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1981.
Handford, S., tr. Fables of Aesop. New ed. London: Penguin, 1964.
Hoare, Carol Hren. Erikson on Development in Adulthood: New Insights from the Unpublished Papers. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
Horney, Karen. Neurosis and Human Growth: The Struggle Toward Self-Realization. New York: Norton and Co., 1950.
Kirkpatrick, A. L. The Complete Public Speaker's Manual: How to Get and Keep Control of an Audience. New ed Wellingborough: Thorsons, 1986.
Koestler, Arthur. The Act of Creation. New York: Dell, 1967.
Rajan, Chandra, tr. Visnu Sarma: The Panchatantra. London: Penguin Classics, 1995.
Roth, Robert. Transcendental Meditation. New York: Plume/Penguin, 1988.
Sax, Boria, The Mythical ZooThe Mythical Zoo: An Encyclopedia of Animals in the World Myth, Legend, and Literature. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2001.
Yogi, Maharishi Mahesh. The Science of Being and Art of Living. New York: Signet/New American Library, 1968.
Yutang, Lin. The Wisdom of China. London: New English Library, 1963.
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