Apothegms. Of Concision.

  • A concise sentence and a vapid sentence often have in common their size and form.
    • Many love short sentences but find concise ones distasteful.
      • For ease of reading, most prefer the short over the concise.
      • For the same reason, most dislike reading from someone who takes too many words to get at a thought. “Better not to say it if it takes too long to say.”
        • Most prefer sentences to repeat their own thoughts and not to say anything at all.
  • A short sentence might not be concise.
    • A long sentence might be concise.
    • A concise sentence pregnant with meaning has no certain size.
  • The advent of the meme is the downfall of concision.
    • Concision is not for the sake of the reader’s thinking quickly. Rather, it is for the sake of the reader’s thinking much and clearly.
    • If a meme demanded too much time, as a concise sentence might, it would not become too popular.

A Proverb. Two Loosely Connected Thoughts. Of Virtues and Their Pretenders.

  1. “Reprove a wise man, and he will love you.”* He is wise not because he is beyond reproof but because he knows what to do in response to it.
  2. A free society is characterized by the ability of its members to speak with one another despite difference, difficulty, and even offense. A free society is not necessarily free from these things.

* Proverbs 9.8, English Standard Version

A Quote. Of the Work of Many Words.

. . . plerumque in sermone copiosa est egestas humanæ intellegentiæ, quia plus loquitur inquisitio quam inventio et longior est petitio quam inpetratio et operosior est manus pulsans quam sumens.

For the most part, in a wealth of discourse is a poverty of human understanding, for more talking is done with inquiry than with discovery, and more time is taken in asking than in obtaining, and more work is done by the hand that knocks than by the one that receives.

—Augustine, Confessions XII.i

Five Maxims. Of Laughter.

  • Laughter is a conquest, a seizure of the will. The grip of laughter is strongest when one wills most not to laugh.
  • A rare genius—no, not necessarily a madman—is the one who laughs in solitude.
  • One does not often laugh when alone unless it is believed that another would laugh in the same circumstances. When one does laugh alone, the lordship of the imagination is total, and in that case, it is not fitting to say that one is alone.
  • Laughter is as likely the voice of joy as the mask of wretchedness.
  • Derision and acceptance, disapproval and fellow-feeling—what do these have in common besides laughter?

A Critique of a Maxim. Of Confidence. Of Appearance.

The maxim says, “Competence is better than confidence; and truth, more than the appearance of things.”

What a waste, though, when insight stays inside, when speed runs in circles, when eloquence spends itself on self-deprecation, when good news is hoarded for oneself!

Competence implies confidence and is mere possibility without it. And truth is indeed more than appearances, but what is its glory without its revelation?