Aphorisms

Morality’s Perversity

Few acts are considered more despicable than refusing to join your fellow countrymen in a war against an essentially innocent people.

The Limits of Love

There is a limit to the amount of love we can feel. If one person already receives all of it, the rest of the world will receive almost none. A question we ask too rarely about potential partners: does this person have any love left to offer?

Freedom and Fatalism

Freedom begins with the faith that our lives do not have to be the way they are now. Perhaps that is even the entirety of freedom — a state of mind, rather than a state of being.

Understanding and Forgiveness

We are much better off if the proverb, “to understand all is to forgive all,” is not true for us. Insofar as it is true, we are likely to try to insure that we do not understand — because we know full well that we do not want to forgive. Once again, the perfect is […]

Unfamiliar Vices

People often act as if disgust and surprise were intrinsically linked, but there is no reason why familiar vices should trouble us less than unfamiliar ones. At least the unfamiliar have the charm of novelty in their favor.

Ambition and Ruthlessness

Ambition and ruthlessness are so often found in the same persons that they are frequently confused, but, in truth, ruthlessness is generally a sign of personal weaknesses that impose natural limits on the fruition of one’s ambitions. The man willing to do anything to get ahead generally can do nothing very well — and thus […]

Evading Gratitude

We refuse to accept any gifts from those we dislike, for fear that gratitude will change our opinion of them.

The Accounting of Offenses

The sloppiest book we keep is the one in which we record the wrongs done by others.

Myopia

The shallowness of a mind that sees only one layer of causes: a dog biting the rock that was thrown at it.

Their First Hammer

The problem with only giving students hammers is that the world contains more skulls than nails.