Aphorisms by Basil Gentleman

Basil Gentleman is an aphorist, classicist and fabulist. He has translated aphorisms by Vauvenargues (Geary’s Guide pp. 141-143), Montesquieu (GG pp. 93-94), and by Christina, Queen of Sweden. He is currently preparing a book of his own aphorisms, from which these have been selected:

 

Fear leaves you at the gate.

 

When the going gets tough, the leaving gets easy.

 

We are careful how we lay the table but not careful what we eat.

 

When a man is at his best, he tells his enemies to do their worst.

More New Aphorisms by Daniel Liebert

Daniel Liebert (Geary’s Guide, pp. 292–293), about whom I blogged back in 2007, 2008 and 2010, sends a sampling of new aphorisms, and a new direction in his aphoristic writing. Inspired by Antonio Porchia (Geary’s Guide, pp. 379-381), Mr. Liebert writes, he has “put aside the wit and word games for a while” and is “wondering if the aphorism can be profoundly serious in my life.” The answer to that is, without a doubt, yes. Read for yourself.

 

My love-life is over; this is my kindness-life.

 

I need a brother because I need a father.

 

Alone, I am neither young nor old—I am alone.

 

A tree is memory: sapling becomes heartwood.

 

I hoarded myself in you, yet you leave with nothing.

 

Here evokes infinite elsewheres.

 

A meditation must exclude that which would end it.

 

What I know becomes what I didn’t do.

 

Not even a hand-hold; a mere breath-hold in this world, is all.

 

Shame can live for years on its own excrement.

 

A grass blade hyphenates earth and sky.

More Aphorisms by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Back in 2010, I blogged about The Bed of Procrustes: Practical and Philosophical Aphorisms by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness. Serendipitous aphorism discoverer Dave Lull recently sent word of new aphorisms by this philosopher of financial markets, which are as ornery as Schopenhauer before his first cup of coffee in the morning. These maxims are aimed squarely at the 1%

 

Never take investment advice from someone who has to work for a living.

 

Never get into a business partnership with a retired lawyer unless he has another hobby.

 

and are almost invariably written as blunt declarative commands (to wit, both of the above aphorisms begin with the word ‘never’ and have an unmistakable tone of scorn and infallibility). But a deep vein of morality, even moralism, runs through them, too, offering a cold, hard look at the human soul’s quarterly performance.

 

Most mistakes get worse when you try to correct them.

 

Never rid anyone of an illusion unless you can replace it in his mind with another illusion.

 

You can almost certainly extract a “yes” from someone who says “no” to you, never from someone who says nothing.

 

It is a sign of weakness to avoid showing signs of weakness.

 

Never trust a journalist unless she’s your mother.

 

You will never know if someone is an asshole until he becomes rich.

 

The only problem with the last laugh is that the winner has to laugh alone.

 

We often benefit from harm done to us by others; almost never from self-inflicted injuries.

 

Real life (vita beata) is when your choices correspond to your duties.

 

There is this prevailing illusion that debt is a renewable resource.

 

The only people who think that real world experience doesn’t matters are those who never had real world experience.

 

Much of the difference between what is heaven and what is hell is branding.

 

Contra the prevailing belief, “success” isn’t being on top of a hierarchy, it is standing outside all hierarchies.