Aphorisms by Peter Schmidt

Thanks to Jim Finnegan, proprietor of the ursprache blog and author of the aphoristically amazing Tramp Freighter, I read Peter Schmidt’s The Thoughts Behind the Thoughts, just published by Mindmade Books. The German-English artist Schmidt co-authored the enigmatic aphorisms of Oblique Strategies (Geary’s Guide, p. 233) with Brian Eno. According to Mindmade’s Guy Bennett, “In 1970 Peter Schmidt created this mixed-media work by combining extant prints from his studio and aphoristic writings mined from his journals. Sets of 55 ‘thoughts’ were assembled onto thick card stock, boxed, and given away to friends, family, and colleagues, such as Jasia Reichardt, Robert Wyatt, and Brian Eno. In exploring the pathways leading to the creative process, they constitute a sort of ante-ars poetica, and in so doing strongly prefigure the Oblique Strategies, which Schmidt later created in collaboration with Brian Eno.” Schmidt’s Thoughts are a bit more ethereal than Oblique Strategies but have the same kind of surreal practicality, as applicable to daily life as to artistic dilemmas. A sampling is below. Order the chapbook here.


You don’t save time
by going faster

Depression is a form
of cowardice

The scales are good
if you know how they err

Avoid misplaced hungers

You cant keep stopping
all the time just to be