“After a half century of teaching and writing and after publishing ten books …,” Manfred Weidhorn writes, ” I entered the stage of life in which such matters dwindle in significance and one looks back rather on the road taken. Drawing on all my experiences and gathering the courage or, if you will, lapsing into the folly of hazarding conclusions about the larger picture, I have therefore in the past two years published three books on the meaning of it all.” One of those books is Landmines of the Mind: 1,500 Original and Impolite Assertions, Surmises, and Questions about Almost Everything, Mr. Weidhorn’s collection of astute and occasionally acerbic aphorisms. In the preface to Landmines, Mr. Weidhorn compares writing (and reading) to connecting the dots or, in the case of aphorisms, to not connecting the dots; instead just skipping “from one impression to another.” ‘Impression’ is definitely the right word here, since aphorisms are like pointillist paintings. Close up they may seem like a random collection of unformed, ill-placed splodges. But step back a bit and consider the whole and a definite pattern emerges. I guess we don’t so much connect the dots as linger long enough and pay enough attention to observe the dots connect themselves. Herewith, a few of Mr. Weidhorn’s points to ponder…
If young people should be seen and not heard, old people should be heard and not seen.
Blessed are the fortunate, for they have inherited the earth.
For people in developed countries, life consists mainly of moving from one room to another.
Some people would not be so wicked if the rest of us were not so stupid.
God spoke to you? He spoke to me too and told me to ignore you.
Actually, what does not kill me, often injures me grievously.