Hávamál- stanza 22

Recently I was led to the “art of manliness” webpage, and the 80 Viking Wisdom Sayings article. These saying are known as the “Havamal,” or “Sayings of the High One.” It is a basically a huge collection of Norse poems that offers advice. After looking through some, I found verse 22 very interesting to me. It says:

A miserable man,
and ill-conditioned,
sneers at every thing;
one thing he knows not,
which he ought to know,
that he is not free from faults.

I took that saying to mean (in modern English): a rude person who judges and thinks they are above everyone else is foolish. They cannot see that they themselves have faults too.

I like that saying/reminder a lot. Its very important to remember not to criticize other people for things they do or have. Not only does it make a person look bad, but it also makes them seem like they belittle everyone around them. And they also seem to forget that they themselves have just as many faults as those around them. I think that while off to college or having any new experience it is important to remember that advice. Everyone is in the same boat in college, new and (for the most part) having no idea what to do. No one is better than anyone else. If they think they are, then they are probably blind to their faults.

In literature, a connection could be made to Brother Jack in The Invisible Man. He critiques the narrator numerous times, telling him exactly what to do and how to do it. Though Jack seems to be trying to better the narrator, he criticizes him and everything he does. At the same time, Brother Jack is blinded (literally) to his own flaws, as well as the Brotherhoods problems. All that ultimately leads to bigger problems for everyone.

 

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2 thoughts on “Hávamál- stanza 22

  1. While looking through the viking sayings for my blog, I almost did this one because I really liked it, but didn’t :(. But I completely agree with what you had to say, especially the part about college. It’s going to be hard moving to a new environment and not really knowing what you’re doing, but it’ll be okay because no one else really knows either. People can just get so caught up in themselves that they don’t actually see themselves, and it’s annoying for the rest of us because we have to deal with it but I think (hope) that they’ll eventually learn.

    Like

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