Neighbors

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Neighbors

Postby Sabina » Sat Jul 24, 2010 1:28 pm

What got me started on this topic are our own neighbors. The people in our building are great and our experiences in the past 5 years, since we moved here, have been nothing short of wonderful. No, I am not exaggerating.
In the building we lived before we moved here, it was the same, except that we didn't know as many neighbors as we know here, and perhaps we didn't know them as well, as intimately, as we know the people here.

I think sometimes the importance of neighbors is neglected.
The idea behind oneness, that we are all connected, finds a nice illustration in our bonds with our immediate environment.
First whoever we share a roof with, and next, at least physically speaking, are not other family members and close friends, but simply our next-door neighbors.

A glance across famous quotes on any given topic provides us with a pretty good idea of the "world-mindset" on that particular topic. I was curious to see what the mindset is on neighbors...


"A good neighbor is a fellow who smiles at you over the back fence,
but doesn't climb over it"
Arthur Baer

How lovely... be pleasant, but keep your distance, in other words. (...)


"Hate your next-door neighbor, but don't forget to say grace"
Barry McGuire

This does not compute!


"Far better a neighbor that is near than a brother far off."
Bible

Nice.


"This is the sum of all -- righteousness.
In causing pleasure or in giving pain, in doing good or injury to others, a man obtains a proper rule of action by looking at his neighbor as himself."
The Mahabharta

The Golden Rule, nicely worded.


"Love your neighbor, yet pull not down your hedge."
English Proverb

...because if you pull down your hedge the love will be gone? Will be impossible?
The below quote is along the same lines...

"Good fences make good neighbors."
Robert Frost



"Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain,
and your neighbor's loss as your own loss."
Tai Shang Kan Ying P'Ien

Another way of expressing the universal Golden Rule.


"The supreme satisfaction is to be able to despise one's neighbor and this fact goes far to account for religious intolerance. It is evidently consoling to reflect that the people next door are headed for hell."
Aleister Crowley

I have heard variations of this "wisdom" (too) many times...


"To love our neighbor as ourselves is such a truth for regulating human society, that by that alone one might determine all the cases in social morality."
John Locke



"How much time he saves who does not look to see what his neighbor says or does or thinks."
Marcus Aurelius

This is more about gossip than neighbors, isn't it?


"I will govern my life and thoughts as if the whole world were to see the one and read the other, for what does it signify to make anything a secret to my neighbor, when to God, who is the searcher of our hearts, all our privacies are open?"
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Very important, very true...


"Love thy neighbor - and if he happens to be tall, debonair and devastating, it will be that much easier."
Mae West

I thought I'd include this as well, as a sort of comic relief.


"You can be a good neighbor only if you have good neighbors."
Howard Koch

Stupid quote... then where does it start??


"If you want to annoy your neighbors, tell the truth about them."
Pietro Aretino

Such quotes are annoying... they imply that neighbors, and in turn humans, are bad by nature, or if not that, then that there is enough negativity around, so there is no need to lie nor invent anything. Simply tell the truth and it will hurt... a dark thought.


"The correlative to loving our neighbors as ourselves
is hating ourselves as we hate our neighbors."
Francis Bacon

This may be the essence of the problem for some? How can you love anyone if you don't love yourself? If hate is all that is at your disposal, then that is all you can share.
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Re: Neighbors

Postby Daywhite » Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:12 pm

Very nice topic; no surprise you post something thought provoking =0/

I think the quote from Arthur Baer would also fit in with the one by Robert Frost and the English proverb. To truly care for a neighbor or any friend, it is always nice to find the things you may share, the things in common, but to remember to respect one's personal space, as well.

The Howard Koch quote, "You can be a good neighbor only if you have good neighbors," could possibly be along the same line of thought as we see others only as we see ourselves, as in the final quote from Bacon.

It's not really defining whether one's neighbors are good or bad, but how does one see his neighbors. The world reflects what each individual puts into it, so if one sees one's neighbors as good, then one is more likely to act as a good neighbor in return. Yes, I can see where one may say, 'My neighbors aren't nice, but perhaps if I'm nice, then they will be in return.' But, even in that, it would seem one would need to see some good in his neighbor that could be revealed, thereby seeing his neighbor as good from the beginning. I can't say exactly what Koch may have meant, but simply offer this as one possible interpretation.

Perhaps it is simply the romantic in me, the Polly-Anna "All is well" school of thought, but simply as a possible interpretation of Pietro Aretino's "If you want to annoy your neighbors, tell the truth about them," people will often see themselves as being not as good as they are. Rather than having a too kind view or insight on and of themselves, they view themselves as not being good enough. Point being, many times, complimenting a neighbor with what you see as true may actually annoy them. Yes, I know it may seem a reach, not likely true, but I do know so many who view themselves this way.

Also, one could ask how is the truth defined in this instance? To annoy someone, what truth is being told, their truth as you see it, or what may be seen as some overall truth? Yes, again, I know this may seem a reach, but, if one never reaches, how will he ever grasp?
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Re: Neighbors

Postby Sabina » Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:42 pm

Daywhite wrote:...Point being, many times, complimenting a neighbor with what you see as true may actually annoy them. Yes, I know it may seem a reach, not likely true, but I do know so many who view themselves this way.

Nevermind whether it's a reach or not, reaching is ok. What was interesting for me about this particular statement you made was the idea that a compliment may be annoying or possibly even hurtful (now I may be "reaching").
If something is not only meant as a compliment, but also expressed as such, then how could it possibly be interpreted as anything other than that?
Can you perhaps give me an example?

Daywhite wrote:Also, one could ask how is the truth defined in this instance? To annoy someone, what truth is being told, their truth as you see it, or what may be seen as some overall truth? Yes, again, I know this may seem a reach, but, if one never reaches, how will he ever grasp?

Hmm.... ok, but that only works with interpretations, and not with facts, although I know that people sometimes refer to their own interpretations as facts.

Could it be that all negative quotes about neighbors are simply a result of negative thoughts of oneself, as in Bacon's quote?
"The correlative to loving our neighbors as ourselves
is hating ourselves as we hate our neighbors."

Could it be that if you truly love yourself you genuinely approach other people with love, and as that is all they see in you (because that is really all there is), they respond in the same manner? Can it be that simple? Could it be that simple?
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Re: Neighbors

Postby Daywhite » Sat Jul 24, 2010 3:31 pm

Sabina wrote:
If something is not only meant as a compliment, but also expressed as such, then how could it possibly be interpreted as anything other than that?
Can you perhaps give me an example?


The immediate example that popped in my head was in complimenting a woman on how lovely she looks. If she feels that is all people see of her, her physical beauty, she may have reached a point where comments, although intended well, as a compliment, about her physical appearance have come to be seen as a negative. It will have nothing to do with the intent of the one who offers the compliment but simply with a learned interpretation by the receiver.

There are some who have such a negative view of themselves, such low self-esteem, that anytime anyone says something nice to them, they will view it as a lie, almost asking themselves, "Why is this person lying to me? Can't they see I'm ugly and worthless?"

As Sabina says,
"...that only works with interpretations, and not with facts, although I know that people sometimes refer to their own interpretations as facts."


I think that is the key, at least as I see it. So many things seen as simple, accepted fact by one can be seen as nothing but opinion or interpretation by another. Even in things seen as concrete and accepted as Math equations, 2+2=4, or whatever, if explored in minute detail can be "proven" to be false.

Could it be that all negative quotes about neighbors are simply a result of negative thoughts of oneself, as in Bacon's quote?


In simplest terms, I would say, yes. I really do believe that quite often it really is that simple. The problem is often that when one hears simple, he thinks easy. That is far from true here, I believe. It is almost like climbing a mountain. Is it simple? Sure. One foot in front of the other. Is it easy? Extremely doubtful.

Could it be that if you truly love yourself you genuinely approach other people with love, and as that is all they see in you (because that is really all there is), they respond in the same manner? Can it be that simple? Could it be that simple?


Yes, my Dearest Dear, I really feel it is.
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Re: Neighbors

Postby Ryan » Sat Jul 24, 2010 3:35 pm

... Hmmm... I'm not 100% sure what to say here... I start thinking about it all and I come to the point where I am considering what exactly is a "neighbor"? As I see it we are all "neighbors" in some form or fashion. Your immediate neighbor in the building, or the neighboring building, neighboring town, state, country, continent, planet, solar system, galaxy... each consisting of all those inhabiting that "neighboring" place...

So... I tend to approach and treat all the same... That's not to say if I find a particular neighbor offensive, unnerving, or otherwise intolerable I wouldn't find some means to build some sort of metaphorical "fence". But I find it more interesting to see that some tend to generalize "neighbors" and assume that all are the same... I am certain that it is based upon their own experiences in life, but the conundrum is... would things have been different for them if they had a different approach because they did not generalize "neighbors" in the first place??
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Re: Neighbors

Postby Sabina » Sat Jul 24, 2010 3:54 pm

Ryan wrote:...But I find it more interesting to see that some tend to generalize "neighbors" and assume that all are the same... I am certain that it is based upon their own experiences in life, but the conundrum is... would things have been different for them if they had a different approach because they did not generalize "neighbors" in the first place??

I am not sure if I understand what you mean. How would (or could) things be different for them by not generalizing the term?
Didn't you, in a way, also generalize the term by expanding it to the point of it being all and everything?
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Re: Neighbors

Postby Ryan » Sat Jul 24, 2010 7:27 pm

You are correct that I generalized in the sense we are all in essence "neighbors", but I was referring to some of the quotes that spoke about neighbors as being someone that is always negative... like...


Robert Frost wrote:
"Good fences make good neighbors."


... you know?
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Re: Neighbors

Postby mirjana » Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:11 pm

It is very interesting topic. Talking about neighbors is actually talking about our relationship with other people. My thoughts go along with quotes from Bible, Tai Shang Kan Ying P'Ien and John Locke.
Old traditions teach that wherever we move there is a plant close to the place which is the plant we just need in that time and which is best for our health. My thought is that our personal energy attracts the same way people we need for our personal growth and well being.
What we put in the pot we get a good or a bad meal according to ingredients. It is the same with relationships, including those with our neighbors. What we give, we get more or less the same in return.
I remember the time back when we have just moved to Vienna and I used to have some prejudices toward German language, it has influenced my whole relations with my surrounding sabotaging my learning of German and my communication in German language. With time and by leaving those prejudices there have been more people in our life and more interesting and nice experiences of that kind. Unfortunately at the same time when I started feeling well and at home in Vienna, we moved to France.
In France, my relation was open and optimistic and in spite of all stories that we had heard about French people being rude and closed our experience has been magical. We have got life friends and the whole 5 years we spent in France turned to be one of the most beautiful from the point of relationships.
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Re: Neighbors

Postby dermot » Sat Jul 24, 2010 10:26 pm

When i read this topic initially, i thought it really does'nt apply to me......as in i have hardly ever lived in close proximity to others.

Then today i was sitting in the car, people watching outside a big supermarket. Its truly amazing what you can see in peoples faces, especially when they are out of their comfort zone and in public.

Mostly what i saw was fear, people afraid to make eye contact or smile, almost hoping they could get to where they were going without being either seen, or without making a spectacle of themselves. Ok, they are not technically neighbours, but they are somebody else's neighbours.

Speaking for myself, and its maybe one of the reasons i'm here....i find it difficult to find people open enough to engage fully with. Most will give you a sixty percent access pass, the other forty they guard with suspicion. I really dont have anything to hide, and a will to meet open people...most of the time thats a frustrating experience.

So for Neighbours.......maybe we could substitute People?
....the heart only whispers, be still and listen....
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Re: Neighbors

Postby Sabina » Sun Jul 25, 2010 12:30 pm

dermot wrote:So for Neighbours.......maybe we could substitute People?

Sure! [El]
Maybe to specify a bit though and say people, as in strangers, so how we approach and deal with "the unknown".

dermot wrote:...people afraid to make eye contact or smile, almost hoping they could get to where they were going without being either seen...

How not to be seen... Monty Python demonstrated it.
Yes Dermot, I have observed the same phenomenon numerous times, but surprising even these people is sometimes more welcome than you would think.
Let's give them something to talk about... ;0)

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