Blog #11 The Arrogance of Aphorisms

It has been seen, by disappointing experience, that aphorisms (albeit confidant) are useless and, at times harmful, guides for human behavior and decisional choices. These adages are construed without knowledge of the specific context and motivation of   the individual and the situational facts, objective and subjective, nor the motivation of the unknown person for whom this recipe has been traditionally baked.

Worse still is the fact that for every  such example of such arrogant foolishness,  there appears to be an opposite  admonition, viz.,” look before you leap” compared to, ” he who hesitates is lost” ,among the many contradicted examples handed down over time , too numerous and known  to require present recitation .

One admonition more currently concocted, by those who should know better, appears to be, “Live in the moment”, this obscure aphorism appears to be widespread. Many professional advisors instruct that it is a recipe for the good life and an antidote to anxiety. This prescription targeted to all who will fill it. By the way, what is the “moment” referred to in this bromide? The moments seem to change rapidly and may be impossible of discernment

The rationalization for these useless formulas may be seen by some as needed since, “one cannot know the future”, “Now” is yesterday’s future.  How long is it still now (the moment)? When does future begin? The only ones who seem to know are the sellers of financial plans and squirrels, the latter who bury nuts for later (“live in the future” or in the moment? Ask your local rodent.)

Those who feel that they simply must know the future waste a lot of “now” consulting horoscopes and often, wasting money to charlatans, palmists other phonies .On the subject of horoscopes, for example, the “theory” is that the arrangement of the planets and stars at the time of one’s birth, is indicative of one’s  personality and destiny. It is ancient history which tells us that the signs of the zodiac were construed at a time when man knew little, if anything, about the planets, their location and orbits. Even if there were some cosmic influence of such heavenly bodies at the moment of birth (which is sheer lunacy to suppose) the signs of the zodiac are purely arbitrary. Life proceeds by accident, by unforeseeable and unpredictable events. Making the best choices should not be hampered by the irrational

It might be said that “now” is yesterdays “future.


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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

2 thoughts on “Blog #11 The Arrogance of Aphorisms”

  1. PS: interestingly when learning a new language, I find understanding the jokes and the aphorisms to be the most (culturally) complex.


    1. Apart from studying new folkways
      and an unfamiliar culture; these pre-cooked solutions to human problems can be misleading and harmful. People and problems are unique and prepackaged solutions often misleading. We should exercise our own freason own reason


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