Aphorisms

Representative government is like an emotionally disturbed boyfriend and we its citizens are like his girlfriend, whom we find in the bathroom dragging a razor across his arm, telling her, ‘Look what you're making me do!'

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We disparage consensus when it doesn't work. We disparage democracy when it does.

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When one reads a book, one engages with it. What we mean when we say that we read other people is, essentially, that we have saved ourselves from having to engage with them.

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He believed, with sincerity, that history is literature. He already viewed his life as the dash between two dates long before he had the chance to be worthy of an encyclopedia entry.

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I cannot myself abide the final conclusions implied by culture today and the state governing it. Perhaps it is an unfair demand save in the face of the starkest extremist, but I long for the day when a man would tell me honestly with conviction that he will follow his beloved party and its culture to the very end, that he will wade out into the darkness even after the carnage is over, even after the corpses rot in the streets and fall under the soil of ever new and equally tenuous states, that he will swim in the unknown beyond the good and evil of his beloved ideals. In actuality, people deny the destructive element of their views and claim their validity through some fictive proximity to the primordial. Rather than consuming and taking ownership of it, they are consumed by it and it takes ownership of them.

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If I can't laugh at it, I don't trust it. Humor is the only thing I take seriously.

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The politician is the opposite of the Buddha. The Buddha rids himself of the ‘I.' The politician adopts every ‘I' in his reach and then rids himself of all of them at once.

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Culture, like alcohol, is a result of fermentation. Both can only continue to exist to the degree that people are committed to intoxication.

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I only allow myself the distinction of self-pity in order to silence the self-pity of others.

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The man in disguise, when unmasked, does not then ease the minds of his fellows by taking off the rest of his clothing.

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Most political ideologies act as a form of fantasy, not unlike role-playing games. They are avatars for our values. But when one's values are banished strictly to the realm of recreation, their features may be co-opted by establishment political ideologies. This way, different recreational political adherents are offered hope that their favored ideology, which would otherwise take an overturning of the whole world to come to fruition, can be achieved through entirely legal means. Democracy is a cooperative tyranny.

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Does it automatically follow that I don't believe in freedom if I disparage democracy? I simply seek a freedom that is free from the mania of finding itself always at the expense of some opposition.

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I worry more about the secularist's substitute for the devil than his substitute for God.

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When evil is made into a monad, no measure is considered too extreme to destroy it.

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In relation to our politicians, we are like gods coming together to create one being worthy of our infinite love. We, the gods, create men who stop believing in us.

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Information is only one half of truth. Truth is fulfilled by action.

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The left, the right and anarchism are subject to the illusion that their position is the closest approximation to nature. Nature itself must be achieved at the expense of spontaneity.

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More war is waged by those who claim to hate war in word than by those who uphold warlike virtues. Warlike virtues must be turned inward to the degree that those who claim to be peaceful project their values into the world outside, in the form of violence.

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Secularists endorse Buddhism precisely so that they can remain in Maya.

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There is no greater endorsement than censorship.

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The state of emergency in our country is as normal to us as an emergency exit sign in a public building, only we do not have an exit.

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You can be sure that when you feel that you have been brought to boil, you are in fact one bubble and the world is boiling around you.

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Politics are an IOU for reciprocity.

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The doctrine of freedom has been limited thus far: it has not been supposed that people are free to discard it.

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Perhaps censorship is, in the end, a clever ploy to get people out of the house.

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Free speech, if through nothing else, will prevail at the expense of our various avatars.

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The politician, the username, the forum, the party, the movement; we are addicted to avatars!

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Politics are not only a corporeal extension of one's values but ethical crisis as totem.

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Duty is the perversion of invitation.

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A code itself is the result of an original act of violence. That first act of violence fashioned itself the last of something else.

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Few of us are actually cowardly as we knowingly near death. However, very few of us are anything but cowardly in that moment when we ponder the midday of our lives.

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We are told often that life is short. We are seldom reminded how much shorter our vision is.

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He wears his sufferings like many costumes to one persona.

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The ancient Greeks are always bullying us.

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Why do I have such distaste for men and women singing through their tears? A talent for remorse.

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It is the plight of every generation to ask itself, ‘Are there names worth mentioning today?'

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The worst plight of all: to grow accustomed to all pain save one's fear of it.

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In a world growing in the number of refined tastes, the only way anyone will become familiar with what is common will be to visit the fringes.

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When someone makes the claim that a philosopher is merely a writer, it is a means to reconcile his style with his questionable ideas. But if his ideas are responsible for the singularity of his style?

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When vulnerability transcends interpersonal relationships and turns into a sentiment, justice will not suffice on its own. Justice becomes social.

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To take pride in your vote is little better than asking your hired hit-man for a receipt.

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Love does not always equal friendship, though love is best when it does.

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We entitle people to their opinions. We make them earn their wellbeing.

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The numbers that make up a statistic, while giving the illusion of having been acquired by tilling the masses, are only ever the result of a much smaller scale tilling of a very small group of people whose every member, walking into the inquiry, fancies himself an aberration.

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Where do statistics belong in the theological vocation of science? ‘You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.' What freedom does science have to offer? Freedom from the statistic, and thus, from science itself.

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The blood of ten thousand aberrations dripped from the alter of the science experiment so that we could arrive at our statistic.

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Our culture would have it that the aberration would so tip the scale that it would be on an equal footing with the rule. Of course culture will not do away with the scale once the weights even out! The things we've placed on them look too peculiar paired together for us to ever look away.

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You call it praise. I call it an invitation to plagiarize your virtues with the promise that I won't be sued.

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Statistics: a means of frightening the many by making them believe they belong to the few.

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Statistics: partiality as science.

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The artist reads the words of his ancestors. The statesman makes houses out of their crypts.

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Most reconciliations are the result of clumsy directions. One party takes three left turns, the other takes three right.

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The only way to assure a man of my age is to wait for him to offer a number and tell him it is none of his business.

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A State of the Union Address is like a public execution. The longer it goes on, the less is said.

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I had a dream that I sat listening to a senator as he tried to explain to me just how the United States Constitution, the President and the mainstream media were all one entity and yet three distinct persons. He told me never to fear when the President left after the State of the Union Address, for the mainstream media would come as a teacher and would remind us of all the things that the President taught us.

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I had a dream that everyone traded guns for knives. Battles grew fewer and so did the number of men who fought them. Soon, strict rules were set on how and when the opponent should be killed, so as not to ruin or corrupt the meat. A true utilitarian war.

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They tell me with terrible wonder in their eyes how there live people in the east who think that their leader created the world and controls the weather. I say, so what? The west believes it is still creating the world.

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How much more vulgar our common, over-used sentiments are when they pass over the lips of our statesmen and spread throughout the whole public sector as though it was some new mandate to start using them. Just imagine what a disaster it'll be when they get a hold of the word ‘love.' But then, democracy rescues them from having to be so frank.

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Civilization is always asked to carry through ritualistically with the husk of an ideal, all while knowing that it is a husk. The illusion is in their promise that the husk will always be far more costly to clean up.

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We stopped believing in poets when we started believing in the academy.

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The conceit of modern music is that what once took an entire opera now takes three minutes.

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The shrewd recluse: he lets just enough people in so that they may warn others to stay away.

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People only speak at least as well as they think and rarely that.

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Once people learn the origins of a thing, they distrust it so much that you'd think they were jealous of whatever they did not themselves create.

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As I listen to music, I seek desperately to think thoughts and find nothing in my mind but music. As I read a book, I seek desperately to follow the words but hear only my own thoughts.

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Wars compare with nothing better than our least sophisticated conversations.

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It is more unfortunate for an autodidact to go to university than it is for a prophet to go to seminary.

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Bless the man who dies alone. Curse the plague that died with him.

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The private man has mysteries. The candid man has secrets.

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‘What of it if I have tunnel-vision when I stand so much higher than the world around me?' A note from Polyphemus.

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Artists use their future failures to punish their present successes and their past successes to excuse their future failures.

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Reincarnation for the Left and Right wing: I chose to be born this way.

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For the man bored to death: there are as many remedies for boredom as there are ways to risk death.

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A dying man is only as honest as he is unafraid.

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Leisure is born of labor. Idleness is born of creation.

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He prided himself on his social awkwardness and was ashamed to have accidentally become popular.

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He lived every day as though it was his last. He spent every day saying goodbye to everyone.

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An illiterate man is not beckoned toward something because of his lack of knowledge. It is precisely what little knowledge he possesses which is being appealed to by the state, the media, and the various mediums vying for his vote, his dollar and his labor. He is seduced by every comfort they have to offer in exchange for whatever he sees within himself to part with. The literate man is more often fooled by what he doesn't know, for he is the one who is more likely to suffer from the error of misunderstanding his own ignorance.

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Why is it that the ‘real world' is always counted as that which lies outside of our preparation for it? Much of the function of life mimics a sort of preparation for something greater. Some experience depression over the fact that the exit from this preparation and the final moment that one may enter ‘real life' never does come. The noblest souls overcome this depression and march on forward, as if raising their blade to a battle they know they will not win but which they must fight with honor. Such was the way of Goethe, forever a student in preparation of his new self and a master of his old self in one.

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There can only exist so much acceptable radicality at once in society. Most ‘radical opinions' are, in fact, lamb's blood on a door.

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History only reaches as far back as the academic's coffee keeps him awake.

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Some artists work in the public squares in order to demystify the process. They find the quiet too distracting.

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It seems inevitable that, given enough time, the aphorist will forget what he wrote and simply reword his old aphorisms.

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