Aphorisms

There are some friends who are handy to keep around for the sole fact that they perfectly embody what the masses think.

What is worse than the idea that everyone is entitled to an opinion? That no one is entitled to no opinion.

As the clawless cat acts as pet, the disarmed man is entertained.

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The book which requires no other book to be read after it.

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I once asked a man how he would react to seeing a ghost in his home and he said, ‘Same as I would a burglar.' That we could make so much sense of fear!

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The statistic is to the politician what the fetish is to a pimp.

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His life was long because he anticipated death.

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The only thing that can quell the nerves that come with ambition is the solace that some day in the future ambition could suddenly vanish.

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If I suspected that I had enlightened a man, I would quickly grow jealous of him.

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To always veer right or always veer left in politics yields the same result it does when one takes up this practice in a car. One merely circles the block.

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The ballroom of chaos is surrounded by guards.

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I have often wished, when discussing something with a peer, that he had a button on his shirt that I could touch which read ‘unfollow.'

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My greatest thoughts occur on the toilet. A physical catharsis doesn't far preclude an intellectual one.

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When I want to know what the masses think, I go to a standup comedy show. The risk that I might be seduced into finding a popular notion radical and marginal is worth my time if I accidentally happen to laugh.

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There are those who don't wade around in social media in fear that they might come down with an opinion.

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We resent our most favorite authors for being inimitable. The world they depict is so singular in respect to them that they incite us to do the embarrassing work of invention.

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Literature of old was marked by the absolute necessity that one read it twice to ascertain its full meaning. Literature today requires two first equally incomplete readings.

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People proclaim the death of an art form when they can no longer make money from it.

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To be debunked after you've died is the highest form of flattery.

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Property is an expensive addiction.

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Shall I describe my political position as auto-reactionary? I even revolt against myself.

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It is considered suspicious today to be frank. There is always the suspicion that, if someone is too honest, something is hidden in that very honesty.

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There are those who get a special thrill out of wallowing in filth and remaining unbathed for extended periods of time. For an even smaller number of people, the very struggles and discomforts of life produce a similar thrill.

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To treat people on whom we've eavesdropped in the same manner that we treat celebrities.

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There are moments when I have just awoken from a deep sleep that everything in life seems clearest to me and unhindered by precepts, prejudices and abstractions-Clarity's proximity to dreaming.

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Every time I stop reading a book, a feeling of pride over having defeated it swells within me.

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Borders which enclose broad regions are an assault on man's indifference.

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Landfills are littered with masterpieces.

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What constitutes as satire today was yesterday's propaganda.

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Writers who possess intelligence wear it awkwardly. Like many artists who have some level of talent, writers are excused for not being the most erudite. It has, historically, been expected that writers be obsessive, thinking night and day about their few hallowed subjects; experts on minutia, ever watching the fabric burn at the corners of the world. There are far too many writers today who write as though they are auditioning for an entirely different vocation: their books are resumés with a professional, perfunctory nod toward every piece of knowledge in their grasps.

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The internet has turned intelligence itself into a series of memorized lists.

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The second sigh after a grave disappointment is the sigh of relief.

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How a Reader Not Majoring in Philosophy Should Read Philosophy: Know that most revolutions in philosophy are merely grammatical. It took years for language to find its means of articulating commonly-held intuitions, along with suspicions one dared not mention in polite society. Most philosophy apologizes for absolutely every philosophy that came before it. If you're not going for a degree, start with recent works and read backward through history. The alienness of the past will then look charming.

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The banality of the syllabus has caused more than one weary student to sever his connection with the past forever.

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Social media insists, not only to draw out the exhibitionist in each of us, but to incite those who do not want to be seen to hide in broad daylight.

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He was relieved to lose all ground, all friends and all his bearing. A second chance.

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Self help books cater to businessmen and office workers. Tired absolutes are renewed for corporate systems and appropriated into mantras, plans, models and markets. Psychoanalysis has been refined as a means to band-aid insubordination; to reintegrate heterogeneous pupils back into a functioning, working society. All practices and ideas which have been cut into the shape of a gear for a machine were born from a much larger whole whose history lies on the outside of repetition. Every disparate part of this whole culture contains the trace of a culture destroyed.

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I'm not perturbed by that thinker who has uttered some thought which I shared and which I felt made me singular in respect to it. I sigh with relief at not having to write it for the first time. But if a friend were to speak the same thought?

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Originality is a conglomerate.

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The presence of that unread book in your bag which causes you to delay by reading ten others

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It is best to distance yourself from the past now and again with travel, and if possible, by living abroad for a time. One should be accustomed to associating the passage of time with culture shock and cultural integration. The world changes so much that each country is, after a while, no longer itself.

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The words we would speak if we were granted only a set amount of them at birth.

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I worried, when I was a child, that the words I spoke would be molded somewhere inside of my throat for any doctor with a microscope to read. What freedom I then felt when I realized this childish fear was only a delusion! In my celebration, I failed to realize that the words I'd spoken had traveled upward and molded themselves into my face.

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Happiness finds us in uncanny places precisely when we've given up on it.

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Freedom is not enjoyed until it is smelt.

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Political correctness kills entire cultures long before any foreseeable genocide.

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The memories of happiness that make one melancholy.

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To watch the window like a television screen.

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There are people to whom it is hardly worth the effort of being dishonest.

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He didn't write because he had too much to say. He was modest about his indiscrimination.

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Political correctness is a game of reversals. The reversals lead to maladjustments. Even that which might have qualified as a danger appears in a skewed form. There rests, underneath these discomforts, the very root of a taboo not unlike those of old, by which our ancestors made gestures which acted in an equation whose sum was society itself. Though these are comparable, oddly, political correctness creates imbalance through an amplification of discomfort. It says, at all times, ‘guilt before action.' Guilt as the very basis of ethics.

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I feel a sense of loss for that small corner of the leisure class which saw wit as a serious vocation-the acquiring of a singular, exemplary sense of style as a distinctive goal, worth cultivating and on which one's livelihood depended. Today we pay for our wit.

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If a writer wishes to kill his literary father, he need not outdo him. He need only let a great deal of time elapse and then reread him.

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There are those for whom politics is immediate and emotional. It is important for them to act without a moment's hesitation in the name of justice. They have made their leap of faith a long time ago and see any slowness to move as cowardice. To be always busy, never restful in any idea for fear of complacency, to show impartiality to every thread of thought no matter how neurotic, in order to hotwire a utopia through the sheer force of rhetoric-this is the vehicle of our modern ethics.

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To expect your distinction to be recognized from the outside is like eating your own stomach when you're hungry.

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We search our surroundings for someone to recognize us, for someone to blame the prominent narrative from which we pull our most devoted ideas. There is always some persecutor around every corner-a stranger wishing to humiliate us. What surprise we feel when the day of persecution comes and we find we have been caught off guard with an accusation we didn't expect.

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Reportage on the internet is largely a dismissal of history. As each memory is a memory of the last recollection, so internet reportage is often reportage of reportage of a distant event. As time goes on and as the mountain of information rises, the reports become more removed, all of them tinged with modern sentiments and sensibilities, until history itself is remade, until each event is undone and retied in an impenetrable knot. Slogans agitate us for they force us to realize how quickly this process takes place with each year-just how frequently and with what little hesitation we cling to completely new, contradictory absolutes. The event evaporates in its own explanation. The unseen events are now part of the fabric of these knots of history.

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An author once said that the covers and bindings to his books were artificial distinctions and that his books were all, in fact, one book. Likewise I would like to extend the borders of literature beyond the mere act of writing. Is one in the act of writing only when the pen moves? It would be an absurdity not to consider also the moments when one is sitting there with the blank page and the pen resting next to it, thinking. Many have counted walks and long drives as means in the creative process, if not the act. And then life itself? What is its relationship to the act of writing? And if the work done the day before is thrown out in a week? One need not worry over the time spent on a work or what constitutes true productivity. The completion of a work is the confession of an inability to measure by space, time, or activity. Everything else is simply life.

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His writer's block is only ever succeeded by a final sentence.

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To have an immensity of pride and to be ashamed of nothing but it.

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Every aphorism is a variation of one that has been written time and time again. Nevertheless, the aphorist goes looking for the first one to make sure that he is original. To be consistent he would have to go to the cave paintings to make sure his school drawings were also original.

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Youth is spent nurturing an image of future greatness whilst tearing down every mediator along the way. Maturity is spent identifying with that image of greatness. Actual greatness is fleeting without mediators and impossible to trust with them.

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One often realizes in writing what takes decades to put into practice.

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Why disparage the city over the forest? One who has spent enough time in the city will take it with him into nature.

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His insatiable appetite for books consumes him. He reads with an excitement of such libidinizing potency that you would think a history book or a philosophy book was a piece of erotica. Reading a book he never wanted to pick up in the first place then acts as a cold shower.

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A pejorative as a description of a culture. We create categories of people because we need enemies.

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Culture is now in such a state that we police ourselves through social media. Algorithms are set in place, not so that which stands out becomes popular, but so that which is likely to flatter prejudices which already favor crowds are brought to the surface. Standing out, being different, is then seen simply as bad marketing, and bad marketing is always suggestive, in corporate language, of a sort of timidity-a form of cowardice.

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He writes all day. He flatters himself that he produces as much as his favorite writers. He despairs over the quality of his work. He rewrites. He is forever haunted by a ghost of his younger self, imposing standards which have yielded only a series of personal successes. How bad the hours are for measuring his productivity!

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Novels of erudition did not anticipate a readership acquainted with an infinite library. Their authors wished only to hint at that library and forever solidify some praise paid to them for being key-holders to a great number of subjects. How disappointed readers were when the doors to that library were kicked down and they discovered those previous novels of erudition for what they were: lists with a narrative.

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His love of humanity is a form of anxiety. He hates every distinction.

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The artist whose life is in constant disarray. Nothing matters but his work. All relationships, opportunities, housing situations and financial gains and losses are experiments with more at stake than canvas, film or tools. He doesn't know if the praise offered him is genuine or a mere mistake in contrast.

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The artist with a day job is pressed by a great many psychological constraints. Because he is only allotted small bits of time in which to work, a continuity which favors easy recollection is important to him. The repetition of his job may cause him to look shrilly at the growing production of his own work. His project gathers little by little while his job operates in a steady line which doesn't seem to have had a beginning, nor does it seem to have an end. His freedom is then released in great bursts, due to those very constraints. A sort of appendage energy works constantly in his favor, and soon, he must dislocate his art from his job, so as to measure the spatiality of the two in a way that is complimentary to his productivity. He has worked more on a remedy for his guilt over producing so little than he has on his actual art.

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Most essays are collections of ideas already written down by others. Any time the ideas are pushed further by a new writer, they must always first confront the void.

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To always take up an affirmative attitude to life is as pointlessly intemperate as another's constant resignation of everything in the face of death. One overcomes great obstacles through the former and one maintains pretensions to dignity in the other.  Affirmation may rely on one's meditating on transcendence or immanence while resignation relies on the truth that all things are fleeting in the face of death. Both sentiments are bankrupt. What is it to me if some value is here after I'm gone? Likewise, what changes about this very moment if the materials responsible for it will one day vanish with me? One turns to the sun and is blinded, forced into the prison of an eternal present. I want to keep variables which exist entirely in themselves, even if a lifelong quest is necessary to find them, even if they can only be discovered when passed over in time and memory. Even if life is only meant for a single moment, I should like to lie in wait for it. I should like to see it pass, to tell others that I saw it, and I would like to watch as it recedes from me and disappears over the horizon. If death is only the vanishing point of that recession, it is better than viewing the future as a destination.

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To the young, humiliation is betrayal. To those advanced in years, betrayal itself is one of the few humiliations.

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My fears are not of getting old, but of having had ample time to find loyal peers and failing.

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I find my most authentic self, not at some point in my past or in one moment in which I was pressed and tried against the extreme, but in the quiet moments when I tell myself things about me.

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The individual comes to resent his peers, for they constantly remind him that he is different even if they don't have the sense to join him. Once they do, he resents them for inhibiting his separateness.

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Shiva obliterates himself in his own enthusiasm for destruction.

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How often today books are written which require a lifetime to understand! Instead, we wade into many and only understand a little of each. And even if I were to pick up only one and devote the time it requires of me, possibly a lifetime, how do I know that when I put it down I will not have wasted my time? Creating one's own canon has its casualties.

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