Random Apothegms

There’s only one Wittgenstein (and one Nietzsche, thank God), so in the following formulations I seek only to put abstract knowledge into a useful form, as a good Englishman ought.

The primary focus of English philosophy, from Locke to F. H. Bradley (on whom Eliot wrote his treatise), has been empiricism, i.e. trying to establish whether sensory data could be trusted at all. When one accepts one’s perception of the external world as fairly reliable, one can get on with pints and cricket (though my impolitic brother, Dweebler, would be quick to point out that affirming food as real has done nothing for English cuisine).

As all generalizations fail in proportion to their scope, it would be unjust to hold my little sayings in contempt because of inevitable exceptions. Although I don’t like Emerson (who undermined the true church with his Unitarian ravings), didn’t he say something like “foolish consistencies are the hobgoblins of small minds?”

—Mycroft N. Cramden, Esq., L.L.D., Ph.D., D.D.

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Apothegms and Other Sayings (in No Particular Order)

1) Most people are so dumb I wouldn’t tie my horse to them.

2) The chief problem with this world is that there’s too much me to go around.

3) If you wish to see your m ountain, imagine it from another.

4) Poetry is the distillation of language into its most powerful form.

5) Glorious failure triumphs over modest success.

6) Men have bodies; women are their bodies.

7) A true Christian believes he is already resurrected.

8) When drinking seriously, select an alcoholic beverage you don’t like.

9) Never panic. Never, ever panic.

10) It takes a very smart man to imagine one smarter than himself.

11) The ignorant take themselves as the measure of all things.

12) Though pride be the sin of the devil and moral cowardice the chief sin of man, blindness, especially towards ourselves, causes the most evil in this world. Always suspect yourself first.

13) Having failed at science, Freud invented a religion.

14) To write well, write less.

15) Neither thesis, antithesis, nor synthesis: rather incarnation.

16) What is the one thing people least like to hear, especially about themselves?
The Truth.

17) Plato vs. Aristotle, err…. sirloin or ground sirloin?

18) Love, like water, seeks the lowest place, while resentment flows upward.

19) Given sufficient energy and time, it is usually easier to perform a task than explain it to another.

20) Animals lack self-consciousness, thus are not truly sentient in human terms.

21) A good writer sees what hasn’t been said before.

22) A bad conversationalist talks about himself, a fair conversationalist about things, a good conversationalist about ideas, and a great conversationalist about you.

23) To be free of the influence of others, avoid eye contact when stating your opinions.

24) History proves dead men tell the most tales.

25) History may appear as a wave but is equally composed of particles of individual choice. Lincoln did save the Union, Churchill the Western World.

26) There is no cure for the human condition in this world. Rather than seeking wholeness, accept your woundedness and move on.

27) If the world is upside down, best to walk on your head.

28) The best rest for the mind consists of concrete occupations. As Churchill said (when out of government), “2000 words and 200 bricks a day.”

29) What people don’t say is often of greater import than what they do.

30) Everyone’s a doctor, though only some have degrees. Yet what is free advice worth?

31) If ever in real pain, you will go to a real doctor. For other nagging illnesses any witchdoctor will do, whether a chiroquacktor or paymeopath.

32) Think, work, and pray. If you think when you should be working, or work when you should be praying, or pray when you should be thinking, you are not doing God’s will.

33) Pain is the greatest teacher, suffering its docent.

34) Live for today— it is your only chance to make history.

35) Wisdom means suffering one’s own nature to its end.

36) Bad parents try to form their children. Good parents are formed by their children.

37) In casual relationships it is easiest to give people what they want. So be afraid of policeman, play dumb for lawyers, and genuflect to poets.

38) If I had my life to live over, I wouldn’t have a life.

39) As superstition comforts rationalists, rationalism also justifies superstition.

40) To believe in God is natural, to doubt him natural, but to avoid him, fatal.

41) Love is most itself when least self-conscious.

42) Prophecy is not about the future, rather broadcasting an unpalatable truth.

43) Those capable of being flattered are already self-deceived.

44) Excellence is its own reward, obscurity its punishment.

45) If you run into a wall, turn left.

46) Never apologize unless confronted; easier to assume others more forgiving than you.

47) Act like a king and you will be treated like one.

48) Love man, serve God, forget yourself. Forget yourself, love man, serve God. Serve God, forget yourself, love man.

49) Even a dog occasionally needs privacy.

50) Dog food and dogma: different mixtures, same cans.

51) Believe in yourself while acknowledging your essential fiction.

51) Despite technological progress, the present generation is the most scientifically uninformed in a hundred years.

52) Observation, analysis, hypothesis, experiment, conclusion, refine, repeat: Science.

53) Transmitting a vision: Art.

54) You are the most boring topic you will ever introduce.