One cannot step twice into the same river . . .#91
(which actually I’ve done several times, so I’m not sure what he’s going on about). He had a few more that were not so famous, but equally memorable and aphoristic,
The way up and down is one in the same. #60
Very Zen. How about this one that left me fairly discouraged, but I’m nothing if not willing to recognize that, ‘If the shoe fits I need to face the music (wait, is that an aphorism too?)–Heraclitus writes,
Eyes and ears are bad witnesses for people who have barbarian souls. #107
Yawp! That hurt.
Now, no one could whip up a good aphorism like Herr Nietzsche the Mustached Man from Basal. Like this gem,
The worst readers are those who proceed like plundering soldiers: they pick up a few things they can use, soil and confuse the rest, and blaspheme the whole. #137. p. 155
Those thinkers in whom all stars move in cyclic orbits are not the most profound: whoever looks into himself as into vast space and carries galaxies in himself also knows how irregular all galaxies are; they lead into the chaos and labyrinth of existence. #322 from The Gay Science p. 175.
Whoa, deep. If that doesn’t deserve to be a Primary song I don’t know what does.
There have been a few attempts to write in the key of aphorisms in our time, like Nassim Nicholas Taleb,
The worst damage has been caused by competent people trying to do good, the best improvements have been brought by incompetent ones not trying to do good. p. 89
Bad-mouthing is the only genuine, never faked, expression of admiration. p. 99
If you find any reason why you and someone are friends, you are not friends.
I like that. It’s true. If you have to list the reasons you are friends with someone you are likely not.
I could spit out aphorisms all day. It’s one of my favorite genres.
There have been many notable ones and you can find entire books devoted to the craft. But what about Mormon aphorisms? We’ve had some real gems like,
No other success can compensate for failure in the home. David O. McKay
As man now is, God once was; as God is now man may be.” Lorenzo Snow
or even as recent at this conference,
“First doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith” Dieter F. Uchtdorf
But we need more. So in the spirit of BCC finest traditions, I hereby announce the ‘First Annual New LDS Aphorism Contest.” Take your stab at creating this century’s most quotable aphorism. Make it pithy. Make it wise. Humorous. Whatever. Just make it.
Here are a few off the top of my head:
Said with a Sigh:
“Better a crying baby in the foyer than a High Councilman’s talk.”
“You can’t squeeze content from the lesson manual alone.”
“Nothing proves the reality of the Fall like Scouting.”
“When the going gets tough, the tough get the Relief Society.”
“When you see a single set of footprints in the sand, remember, God is on your back.”
“Never forget that that deacon/beehive may one day be your son-in-law/daughter-in-law.”
So have at it. The winner, who will be chosen by a small unbiased committee of BCC permas consisting of Karen H, Tracy M, and Cynthia L, will receive a copy of my new poetry book, Incorrect Astronomy!
So get busy. If you are not feeling creative, go ahead an share your favorite aphorism. Let the games begin!
The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. 2010 Random House.
The Basic Writings of Nietzsche, 1992. The Modern Library, New York.
Heraclitus: Translation and Analysis. Dennis Sweet. 1995. University Press of America. New York.