Jun 3, 2022
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The meaning of the proverb “The well-fed does not understand the hungry”

The meaning of the proverb

When one is happy and full of energy, while the other is grumbling in the stomach from hunger, it is difficult to wait for mutual understanding. Of course, the proverb about full and hungry applies not only to food. What else? Let’s think together.

The meaning of the proverb

Expression “The well-fed does not understand the hungry” means that a person who has one or another of life’s blessings will never fully understand the one who is deprived of them. It’s not even about worldly indifference, but about the different “starting level” of both.

The poor are forced to solve problems related to physical survival, and those who have crossed this threshold have the opportunity to think about “high matters”: self-development, networking, organizing their own business.

Having chosen one of the paths, a person spends time and energy on achieving new goals, and it does not occur to him to look back into hopeless need. That is why, according to the deep conviction of the common people, the rich do not care about the poor.

But it is not always the case. The bridge between the well-fed and the hungry can be mercy and social responsibility according to the principle: get out yourself – help others get out. For example, the creation of a new enterprise will provide jobs for a large number of unemployed people, and cooperation with a charitable foundation will help cure tens and hundreds of children.

In Mark Twain’s book The Prince and the Pauper, it is said that only those who have been in the shoes of the poor can understand the difficulties of a “low start”.

Origin of expression

The appearance of the proverb about the full and the hungry reflects social inequality, the roots of which in Russia are very deep. The gradual class stratification of society led to a huge gap between the peasantry and the aristocracy.

This contradiction is reflected in folk tales, proverbs, labor songs, it sounds like the leitmotif of all social-democratic literature. The class conflict was built on it, which became the driving force of the October Revolution.

Rare exceptions in the form of merchant charity did not cover the needs of the common people. To achieve independence, the workers and peasants needed civil liberties. Representatives of the cultural elite experienced this conflict in different ways. For example, the movement called “Tolstoyism” was aimed at “simplifying” the life of the nobles and the transfer of land to the peasants.

However, life has shown that the “satiated” could not fully understand the “hungry”, as well as the “hungry” – “satiated”.

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There are many proverbs about how difficult it is for a rich person to feel participation in the needs of the poor. Here is some of them:

  • With satiety, remember hunger, and with wealth, squalor;
  • The satiated is not a friend to the hungry;
  • Well-fed and shod does not grieve.

Unfortunately, the last statement cannot be called obsolete. For the sake of a piece of bread and a peaceful life, people are ready to give up the truth, to betray their own convictions. Some lose everything, others build country villas. Mankind remains true to its best and worst principles.

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