Aphorisms

Viva La Vida

Whether your motto is “¡Viva la muerte!” or “¡Viva la vida!”, the next thought will always end up being “¡Abajo la inteligencia!”.

Liberalism and Conservatism

Liberalism and conservatism are, like optimism and pessimism, symmetric vices rather than complementary intelligences.

Neither Embittered Nor Emboldened

If you are neither embittered nor emboldened, avoid writing aphorisms.

Programming’s Joys

A programmer’s satisfaction with himself is measured in the lines of code he has written that worked on the first run. His knowledge of his subject matter is measured in the same way.

Distributive Justice: 46th Street and 6th Avenue

No one who has spent any time at a crosswalk in midtown Manhattan during lunchtime has an excuse for believing that a set of laws can be instituted and enforced by human beings that will satisfy the demands of any theory of distributive justice.

Vacuous Hopes

It is not the constant suffering that the chronically depressed are certain fills the world that is heartrending, but rather the pathetic vacuity of the things in which they find hope.

One-and-a-Half Truths

When this man hears two people repeat a half-truth, it strikes him as a quarter-truth, but when that man hears them, it strikes him as a three-quarters-truth.

Two Cultures

English departments are the last refuge of the wicked.

Guilt

Rare indeed are those moments in which we feel guilt for the things we have done wrong; rarer still are those moments when we feel guilt for what we can still set right. Therefore, do not waste your guilt on trivial offenses.

Secrets

Sharing secrets is almost always a mistake, because those to whom you reveal your secrets will get more pleasure out of revealing them to others than they will suffer from the secrets becoming common knowledge. Honor and loyalty are not the central forces at work; it is simply a matter of dissimilar incentives. Just as […]