(Horace, Satires 2.2.38
Rarely does a hungry stomach turn away ordinary food.
(pron = Yay-yoo-noos rah-roh stoh-mah-khoos wool-gah-ree-ah kohn-tem-nit)
Comment: Just previous to this line, Horace has questioned why the reader/hearer
of this satire might have strong dislike for wolves. He notes that nature has
its way with them (and implicitly with us all?): that the hungry stomach rarely
turns away any sort of food.
As with yesterday’s proverb, this one probably gives us different pause after
the devastation of hurricane Katrina. What many of us might dismiss as common
in the way of food, clothing and housing we can now take a second look at, even
if only through the eyes of those who have no choice.
Everywhere organizations are moving into action to collect needed items for
victims of the hurricane. It is a time for us as human beings to act out of
the best of our nature. So it was with some disappointment that I have seen
some schools rally their students into response by turning the collection of
goods into contests with prizes for the classes who bring in the most for the
hurricane victims—pizza parties, or candy, or some other enticement. Some
teachers are so accustomed to manipulating student behavior like this, that
these contests were put in place without thought. While I understand the
desire to collect as many goods as possible, I also think that we fail young
people or any people when we do not allow them the full human response to human
crisis. It is natural for human beings to take care of those who suffer—no
prize required. What is by definition “inhuman” is refusing to respond to
How good can goodness be if its only motive is a prize? So, despite this
blunder that some educators have made in turning human kindness into another
contest, students will respond, and the prizes will have little to do with it.
Students can imagine the empty stomach, the ruined clothes, and the lost homes.
They can imagine parents searching for lost children, and children for lost
parents. They will respond. No prize required.
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.