Aphorisms and a short story

I have a collection of aphorisms to present that I’ve been working on. The art of the maxim has gone out of style somewhat, lamentably. The less we say, the more others hear — if we say it well. It is so easy to rant on the Internet or in private with our friends, but more rewarding to first organize our thoughts first and distill what we have to say. Brevity is the soul of wit, they say, but if the brief is unnecessary, the wit is superfluous. Though we are loathe to admit, Twitter has its advantages; constraint demands creativity. By limiting ourselves, the eternal can be reached, through finite means. Isn’t this the whole purpose of art? — to explain the utter chaos of the human condition in dense, honest flavor?

Ok, back to the point. I hail from the tradition of Nietzsche, La Rouchefoucauld, Chamfort, Chateaubriand, Vauvenargues, Heraclitus, the comments section of the NYT, ATCQ, Nasir, squirrels, and the most plump of bumblebees. Below are some of my original aphorisms. Enjoy, if you can. Think, if you enjoy. Scoff, if you think.


The poor who want wealth redistribution will change their mind if they are rich, as will the rich who are against it if they are poor.

Few are nice enough to be your harshest critic.

Those who can’t handle criticism don’t deserve praise.

Price is set high to obscure quality.

To know wants from needs, and adjust expectations accordingly.

The love of money is always unrequited, yet its lovers abound. Fame, too.

Confidence concerns character; arrogance concerns reputation.

Conviction suffocates intellect.

We spend more time convincing others we are happy than being happy; happiness is its own pursuit.

We despise bragging for fear of its accuracy.

We mistrust praise — and yet desire it — because of our insecurity.

We are not afraid of heights, but only afraid of falling.

To know who you envy, who envies you, the cause and effect of both: a rare wisdom.

We are most insecure when we abuse love and love abuse.

The worst type of guilt is feeling guilty for not feeling guilty.

Politicians begin as sophists and end as demagogues.

A politician’s success depends on how well he can fool two parties: the people and himself.

Every god gets the atheists it deserves.

You want to be unique? So does everyone else. Join the crowd!

We hate being misunderstood, unless we are also admired.

The stylish are simply following the trends. And concern with being ‘stylish’ is a trend many follow.

Give unexpectedly without expectations.

High expectations and low patience: quick to marry, quicker to divorce.


finally, a short story on the power of excuses:

Every day, Jerome was stoned to death by his excuses. Yet the very next day, he always got back up, like the little train that could, worshipping at the altar of “Lights, Camera, Inaction!” His excuses gave him great comfort — something had to fluff his pillows at night, putting his fear in words made him feel invincible; as long as his excuses could find no obvious detractors, they were the only eulogists that he would ever need. Besides, excuses were renowned for their jealousy; they forbade other idols and gifted brimstone to those who doubted their omnipotence.


Filed under Philosophy

2 responses to “Aphorisms and a short story

  1. Hannah Spielberg

    I am delayed in reading this but wanted to say thanks for a very thought-provoking post Darius. I am especially struck by: ‘To know wants from needs, and adjust expectations accordingly.’

    • Darius Liddell

      Thanks Hannah! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I’d been working on these aphorisms for a while, and was wondering if it was a lost art or not — but I see there is still an audience for it. It’s just a very different type of reading than the typical stream-of-consciousness or carefully constructed argument blog post, so it may have turned a lot of people away. But anyway, before I digress too much, again thanks for your comment!

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