The Art of Aphorism

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references A Theory of the Aphorism on 8/21/2019, 3:46:25 PM

excerpt We don’t absorb aphorisms as esoteric wisdom; we test them against our own experience. The empirical test of the aphorism takes the form first of laughter and then of longevity, and its confidential tone makes it candid, not cynical. Aphorisms live because they contain human truth, as Mill saw, and reach across barriers of class and era. on 8/21/2019, 3:49:01 PM

quote In the mountains the shortest way is from peak to peak: but for that one must have long legs. Aphorisms should be peaks—and those who are addressed, tall and lofty.” As with Greek temples, so with philosophies: the fascination of the fragment, seen up close, leads to the pathos of the ruin, seen from a distance. on 8/21/2019, 3:49:01 PM