Wednesday, December 14, 2011

20 Aphorisms - December 2011

Aphorist Friedrich Nietzsche
noticing his four-litre
supply of moustache wax
is almost empty
20 new aphorisms on writing, celebrity, pedantry, conversation and more, fresh from my Twitter feed:
  1. One can be a 'big reader' without being a good reader - like a chatterbox who likes talk, but does not listen.
  2. The ambiguity of silence: for some, a chance to think; for others, a chance to keep on talking. Sometimes the two are mutually exclusive.
  3. One can loathe parties precisely because of one's sociability: because they impede good conversation.
  4. Dear dogmatists: certainty is not truth. Truth often requires hesitation and doubt.
  5. Some invent rules for good reasons, but keep following the rules after the reasons have gone. A longing for certainty above all else.
  6. Good writing is sometimes the achievement of alienation from one's own prose. "Did I write this?"
  7. The hierarchy of dissatisfaction: 'criticism' from above, 'complaint' from below.
  8. The distinctive beauty of an athletic body derives partly from what it suggests about character: discipline, restraint, passion, endurance.
  9. Some friends are for nodding company, not bleak honesty, and vice versa - it can be a tragedy to confuse the two.
  10. Instead of reading horoscopes every day, read a novel. It's a more truthful fiction.
  11. Everyday eternity: the seemingly timeless pause between uncapping one's pen and putting nib to paper.
  12. One unnoticed success of the 20th century: recognising the craft of acting. One unnoticed failure: ignoring this in favour of celebrity.
  13. People who describe their disembodied souls often use embodied metaphors. Life without this flesh is literally unimaginable.
  14. In the future, everybody will have 15 minutes of silence. But not consecutively.
  15. Some conversations merit awkwardness. Deceit only replaces public with private discomfort.
  16. New Age spirituality is often the worst of both worlds: philosophical abstraction without clarity, religious faith without morality.
  17. Sometimes we are drawn to a friend because of their possibility, not their actuality. From then on, they are our bolstering disappointment.
  18. Prudence is the difference between fictional ideals and ordinary virtue.
  19. We lack a word for the odd pleasure that petty individuals enjoy when chastising strangers for trivial errors.
  20. Some are furious when actors or comedians are smart, well-informed - as if one may have a few good qualities, but not too many.


martine said...

Hi, thanks for this, really enjoyed number 19 and found it very apt. I am a post lady and a man came out the other day just to tell me off for failing to shut his gate properly.
Was Nietzsche merely an aphorist?
thanks for sharing

Damon Young said...

Thanks, Martine. Yes, Nietzsche was more than an aphorist. But he certainly made the aphorism a vital part of his writing.

Denis Wright said...

I am certain of one thing. Neitzsche would have got a huge number of followers had he been on Twitter!

Damon Young said...

"What? You search? You would multiply yourself by ten, by a hundred? You seek followers? Seek zeros!" - Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols

Greg Linster said...

I really like #16.