Coffee Mug Pollution

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on August 31, 2011

The morning feature at chamblee54 tuesday was Can You Trust Your Coffee Mug?. (We are going to conduct this lesson without using an eight letter word for waste product of a male cow.) In addition to polluting coffee mugs, these words of wit adorn bumper stickers, note pads, buttons, t shirts and signs. They go by names like aphorism, epigram, bon mot, maxim, proverb, saying and motto. These are not complete lists, and cover only english. (There is a french phrase in there, but english has never been picky about borrowing expressions from other languages.)

One of the stops on yesterday’s journey was All Aphorisms, All The Time. Maybe the best plan is to focus today’s output on aphorisms. Dictionary dot com says aphorism means “a terse saying embodying a general truth, or astute observation, as “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton). ” Above this is a header ad for Go to Bermuda dot com. Below it is this message: “Jesus Loves You. Here is a Prayer That Can Change Your Life ” The no profanity pledge gets tougher by the minute.

Aphorisms Galore! is the top google result. It is sponsored by AFLAC, and hopefully does not feature the wit and wisdom of the AFLAC duck. If you create a user profile, you can get an email subscription to the Aphorism of the day, and you will see fewer ads.

Most of the facilities listed by Mr. Google are lists of aphorisms. These have their place in the world, and will be looted in the second part of this feature. An exception is Aphorisms By Hippocrates . This is a complete work, written in Greek around 400 BC. It begins:
“Life is short, and Art long; the crisis fleeting; experience perilous, and decision difficult. The physician must not only be prepared to do what is right himself, but also to make the patient, the attendants, and externals cooperate.”
Erik Max Francis has a list of 280 “Pithy little things I’ve written.”
“Here are a bunch of quotes I’ve written over the years. I’m sure some of them have been said before, but as far as I know, what’s shown here is original (if you know otherwise, let me know). And no, just because something appears here does not mean it is part of my personal philosophy. (Apparently that needed to be explicitly spelled out.) “ This list begins with “They say that every species has an inherent need for play. “ and devolves down to “Just say no to incoherent unit systems. “
It should be noted that these words to live by were written by mortal men. Just because someone said something lofty and inspiring does not mean that he practiced it in life. Maybe it is because this person did not really think the thought, but was parroting the words of someone else. Credit often does not go to the proper person, especially when royalties are involved.

Another “word to the wise” is about the difference between truth and a clever arrangement of words. Just because something makes you smile, or has a pleasing play of english verbs and nouns, that does not mean that it is to be believed. (The middle three letters of believe are lie.) The phrase “more truth than poetry” should be taken to heart.

The second part of this feature is a list of aphorisms. They will be copied from the source ( Timeless Aphorisms) which creates the least work in formatting. Epigrams will enter, proverbs will proliferate, maxims will max out, and bon mots will go back to France, where they belong. Chamblee54 is not a purist blog. The pictures today are Union soldiers from the War Between the States. They are from The Library of Congress .

We tend to do the things we know how to do, instead of trying to do the things we ought to do.(R. Anshen; Science and man) A likely impossibility is always preferable to an unconvincing possibility. (Aristotle; Poetics) Writing makes an exact man. (Francis Bacon) Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. (Francis Bacon; Essays) God never wrought miracle to convince atheism, because his ordinary work convince it. (Francis Bacon; Essays) It is venturesome to suggest that a co-ordination of words can resemble the universe very much. (Jorge Luis Borges) In the Lawrence family bible, opposite Genesis I, was pencilled firmly the date of creation: March 2, 4004. (Catherine Drinker Bowen; Yankee from Olympus) The pleasure of criticizing robs us of the pleasure of being moved by some very fine things. (Jean de la Bruyère; Les caractères) All real living is meeting. (Martin Buber; I and Thou) Probability is the guide of life. (Bishop Butler) A hen is only an egg’s way of making another egg. (Samuel Butler) Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises. (Samuel Butler; Note-books) The short words are best and the old words are best of all. (Winston Churchill) It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations. (Winston Churchill; Roving commission, My early life) The authority of those who teach is very often a hindrance to those who wish to learn, (Cicero; De natura deorum) Do you know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed? (A. Count Oxenstierna; Letter to his son, 1648) I cannot think that the world as we see it is the result of chance; and yet I cannot look at each separate thing as the result of Design… I am, and shall ever remain, in a hopeless muddle. (Charles Darwin; Letter to Asa Grey) I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance. Not that this notion at all satisfies me. I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. (Charles Darwin; Letter to Asa Grey) I remember well the time when the thought of the eye made me cold all over. (Charles Darwin; Letter to Asa Grey) What is strange, what is marvelous, is not that God really exists, the marvel is that such an idea, the idea of the necessity of God, could have entered the head of such a savage and vicious beast as man; so holy it is, so moving, so wise, and such a great honour it does to man. (Fedor Dostojevsky; The brothers Karamazov) The world, I have come to believe, is a very queer place, but we have been part of this queerness for so long that we tend to take it for granted. (Loren Eiseley; The immense journey) One does not hold science in contempt without holding reason in contempt; one does not hold reason in contempt without holding Man in contempt. And one does not hold Man in contempt without insulting God. (Anatole France; L’Orme du mail) Chance is perhaps the pseudonym of God when he did not want to sign. (Anatole France; Le jardin d’Epicure) Treason does never prosper, for if it does prosper, none dare call it treason. (Jim Garrison in ‘JFK’) It is in self-limitation that the master shows himself. (J.W. von Goethe) It is opposition that makes us productive. (J.W. von Goethe) Your poetic sense should always accompany you but never lead you. (J.W. von Goethe) Just when ideas fail, a word comes in to save the situation. (J.W. von Goethe; Faust) Man errs as long as he strives. (J.W. von Goethe; Faust) If the world were good for nothing else, it is a fine subject for speculation. (William Hazlitt; Characteristis) A hidden connexion is stronger than an obvious one. (Heraclitus) When I struggle to be terse, I end by being obscure. (Horace; Ars poetica) When the matter is ready the words will follow. (Horace; Ars poetica) Our highly organized Universe could not have emerged from the big bang which has no more order than a wet jellyfish. (Fred Hoyle) ’Tis one thing to know virtue, and another to conform the will to it. (David Hume; A Treatise of Human Nature) The older one gets, the more unutterably mysterious, unlikely and totally implausible one’s own life and the universe at large steadily becomes. For practical purposes, one tries to make a little sense of it all; for non-practical purposes one opens oneself up receptively to the mysterium tremendum et fascinans within and without. (Aldous Huxley) Two things fill my mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe, the more often and the more intensely the mind of thought is drawn to them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me. (Immanuel Kant; Kritik der praktischen Vernunft) What could an entirely rational being speak of with another entirely rational being? (Emmanuel Levinas; Totality and Infinity) The man who says that the world is a machine has really advanced no further than to say that he is so well satisfied with the analogy that he is through with searching any further. (Walter Lippmann; Preface to morals) A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than for other people. (Thomas Mann) Trust in Allah, but tie your camel. (Moslem proverb) Criticism is the art by which a critic tries to take part in the fame of the artist. (G.J. Nathan) The last thing one discovers in writing a book is what to put first. (Blaise Pascal; Pensées) I cannot forgive Descartes. He would gratefully have left God out of his whole philosophy. But he could not help making him give one flip with His thumb to set the world in motion. After that he had no more use for God. (Blaise Pascal; Pensées) The eternal silence of those infinite spaces strikes me with terror. (Blaise Pascal; Pensées) When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars which Thou has ordained; what is man, that Thou are mindful of him? (Psalm 8) The fundamental rule of style is to think only of the thought one wants to inculcate, and consequently to have a thought. (E. Renan; Souvenirs d’enfance et de jeunesse) One of the symptoms of approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important. If I were a medical man, I should prescribe a holiday to any patient who considered his work important. (Bertrand Russell; The conquest of happiness) To be brief is almost a condition of being inspired. (George Santayana; Little essays) If you cannot – in the long run – tell everone what you have been doing, your doing has been worthless (Erwin Schrödinger; Science and humanism) [on looking at an expensive shop] How many things I can do without! (Socrates; Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Eminent Philosophers) Quotation is a servicable substitute for wit. (W. Somerset Maugham) The more that, which one says, is great and difficult, the more is it necessary to be simple and without pretensions in style. (Stendhal) Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Don’t miss small details, keep your eyes open and be modest in everything except your aims. (Albert Szent-Györgyi) The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win you are still a rat. (Lily Tomlin) Evolution is a hypothesis which hardened into dogma before it had been thoroughly analysed. (E.W.F. Tomlin; Fallacies of evolutionary theory) The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say. (Mark Twain) The secret of being tiresome is in telling everything. (François-Marie Arouet de Voltaire) This paper of yours is so lightly written that you must have sweated terribly. (George Wald) Selah.

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  1. […] was a post at this facility recently about aphorisms. As it turns out, there are a lot of expressions in english for a clever combination of words. A […]

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