Shoes and wisdom

shoes-109x100There is wisdom in shoes:

“Once I was sad because I had no shoes. Then I met a man who had no feet.” Your problems are not as bad as they could be.

“Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes.” Knowing the other’s context puts you in a better position to judge him.

Interesting that those shoe quotations involve keeping one’s cognitive feet on the ground, so to speak. As does this one from Carl Jung:

“The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.” Life is individual, so exercise particularized judgment.

funky-boots-100x106On the integrity of substance and style: “Show me your shoes and I will tell you who you are.” You are what you wear gets about 413,000 hits on Google. Which makes me wonder who would match the items at right.

Then there are the comic take-offs:

“I was sad because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet. So I said, ‘Got any shoes you’re not using?'” (Steven Wright)

“Once I was sad because I had no shoes. Then I met a man who had no feet. So I took his shoes. I mean, it’s not like he needed them.” (Also Steven Wright?)

“Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you do criticize him, you’ll be a mile away and have his shoes.” (Steve Martin?)

I always knew Steves have the best sense of humor.

But we must acknowledge these serious objections:

According to Zeno, it is impossible to walk a step (let alone a whole mile) in another man’s shoes.

Worse, as we learn from Heraclitus: You cannot step into the same shoes twice.

Descartes on a health kick: I walk, therefore I am.

And this from Nietzsche’s weird cousin: Live shoelessly.


Update: My friend Mike asks whether the sole really exists. What a heel.

3 thoughts on “Shoes and wisdom

  • October 6, 2009 at 10:56 am

    How’s this for an important philosophical text:

    “Her leg, sculptured by the tight sheen of the stocking, its long line running straight, over an arched instep, to the tip of a foot in a high-heeled pump, had a feminine elegance that seemed out of place in the dusty train car and oddly incongruous with the rest of her.”

  • January 4, 2012 at 2:17 am

    If you walk a mile in another man’s shoes, are they still his shoes?

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