What do you think of this Russian proverb: “The tallest blade of grass is the first to be cut by the scythe.”?

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11 Answers

  • That’s a proverb that envokes terror the first time I hear it. For what I interpret it to be is that those who have reached for greatness above everyone else, will be cut down so that their talent doesn’t make others feel insignificant. In other words, the system wants to keep people in line so that no one is better than the rest. What a cruel system!

    However, I now look at it from a less sinister perspective. If you are the tallest blade of grass, it means you are in the lead and have reached an untouchable height that others haven’t reached before. Since you are in new frontiers, your triumphs or failures are to be set first for others to follow. Hence, the scythe refers to the unknown that lies beyond what others have faced. It cuts the first brave individual down because that individual is the forerunner of change and progress.

    An example is Martin Luther King. He was the catalyst for social change in black/white relations in America. He was “cut down” because he led the way for others to follow. Another example is Galileo. He was ridiculed by many of his ᴘᴇᴇrs and the church because his ideas ran counter to knowledge of his day. These forerunners faced the first cut of the scythe which always faces those who lead the way.

  • A ‘common thread’ argument for conformity and safety in mediocrity.

    Chinese: “The tallest tree is the first cut down”

    Like proverbs? Try this one:

    “The early bird may get the worm,

    but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese”.

  • Along the same lines as “VII Human” I think that it means that to stand out can be dangerous.

    It makes sense to me that it would be a Russian proverb; it causes me to think of the Russian masses when people were calling each other “comrade,” and it was dangerous to try and differentiate oneself.

    In a more general sense, you are more likely to face criticism, failure, and other hardship when you stand out. That’s the risk you face for having an elevated point of view.

  • What an interesting proverb, when i read it I see that to me it means the first one to be different, or to make a difference will be ridiculed and maybe even destroyed in some circumstances but it will not be the last, some people who stands for change has been sacrificed toward there ideals.

  • That proverb rings very true for me. I have always asserted myself, so someone tries to knock me down a peg every once in a while.

  • G Pioneers get killed more quickly than others. The real intent, though, is to indictrinate the peasants to be servile and survive.

  • Unchecked independence in Russia represented a threat to authority in what was allowed to succeed and what was not.

  • Similar to this

    “Those people, who stick out their head from the crowd, will get their head cut off”

    “To conform, or else …”

  • i think this is the equivilent to our “the bigger you are the harder you fall”

    in other words just because you are great and big doesnt mean you can be cut down by misfortune

  • I think it’s a shame that this world is like that, but it must be worth it for that blade of grass.

    I also think: Typical Russia…

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