By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tweeking an Old Saying

The old saying is: "A penny saved is a penny earned." It suits our money-obsessed American culture by masking avarice with the admired practical virtue of thrift--a typical cultural substitution of means for an end.

I have a better saying: "Personal honor saved is happiness earned." (In Latin, "Pudor salvatus, Felicitas merita.")

My saying turns the scale of values upside down: honor comes first, money is far down the list.

By honor, I mean personal dignity and a sense of shame. In both Spanish and Latin, this type of honor is called "pudor."

This sharp comparison tells us the difference between the two sayings:

Take away someone's tax deduction or even just scratch their car in a parking lot, and they will howl in indignation.

But, say, take away the honor or pudor of their daughter or sister; and no one notices. Not even a whimper.

(Image in public domain)