Spring, and the soil exhales like a pot whose lid has been lifted. The air itself has greened: sound is blurrier and slower, blossoms send out waves of intoxicants. Faith is a kind of doubt…of everything else. And doubt…. My resentment is a child who needs attention. We should be reasonable is a feeling. Feeling is more genuine than thinking is a thought.
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They are our friends, or they slump next to us on the subway, or they are close-ups on the news: the sufferers. Next to them, we feel like innocents. Only a little higher and water boils, molecules break, life becomes impossible. The universe is a cold place. Good thing!
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In heaven we will be known to the core and loved for exactly who we are. How messy and wrecked the house has gotten, I think, and start Spring Cleaning. Evolution provided physical pain to keep us from damaging ourselves, sympathetic pain to keep us from damaging others. Readers: January: in Latin, as you know, Januraius, after Janus, god of beginnings and by necessity endings and transitions; the….
Readers — Welcome to Issue 22 of Plume. What luck the incoming U. James Richardson: Vectors. Author: Plume. Plume: Issue 37 July By the same author.
After the human genome was sequenced in , it was determined that 98 percent of chromosomal material consisted of noncoding DNA, assumed to serve no function. Then, in , several research groups discovered that so-called junk DNA actually contained genetic switches essential to the function of the organism; 80 percent of all chromosomal material was then believed by many scientists to be biochemically active. Two years later, after further studies, that amount was amended to 8. Final judgment is pending.
The physician must not only be prepared to do what is right himself, but also to make the patient, the attendants, and externals cooperate. By the seventeenth century, the definition had grown to include witticisms. Pascal called his Thoughts ; Rochefoucauld called his Maxims. Even today no one seems to know just what to call them. Nor is there an agreed-on definition. James Geary, in his best-selling The World in a Phrase, gives a five-part definition of the form.
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It must be brief. It must be definitive. It must be personal. And it must have a twist. An inferior maxim is merely a rule of conduct. A quotation is just something somebody said. A sound bite is just something some politician said.
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A quip has a shelf life of about 15 minutes. An aphorism is immortal. Still, the proliferation of new names does not seem to be slowing. Inside an aphorism, it is minds that collide and the new matter that spins out at the speed of thought is that elusive thing we call wisdom. Without losing ourselves in a wilderness of definitions, we can all agree that the most obvious characteristic of an aphorism, apart from its brevity, is that it is a generalization.
I agree with the first and the third points. A poem, too, takes time. One-liners must be in the middle of that spectrum. A fair number of aphorisms seek to justify or explain the form itself. But, for all I know, philosophers might describe them as thoughts without all the philosophy getting in the way. And sometimes there is just accumulation.
Or is it the smuggest, the most self-regarding? It is rumored that JPJ is Canadian. A friend of a friend of mine has had some direct communication with him, but his anonymity remains intact; this is already more than I want to know.
To my knowledge, JPJ did nothing to publicize the book; I heard about it from a friend who stumbled across it online. Editing an anthology is a thankless task. No collection will ever be hailed as sufficiently thorough; every one of them will be faulted for, even defined by, its omissions.
The women in the book who wrote actual stand-alone aphorisms are almost all French nobility. There are a couple of Germans, one Romanian by marriage, and one Japanese, the eleventh-century Sei Shonagon, who is also a rare non-Western writer in this bunch.
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It is unsurprising that, before the Industrial Revolution, women with the leisure and education to write anything, let alone aphorisms, were primarily of royal or noble birth. What does surprise me is that there have been so few female aphorists since then. I have always loved concision. The aphorism is small. I write to fill that small form, not as practice for someday filling larger forms. Despite its redundancy, it will outsell most other books published this year. In an age of compulsive shortness and shortening, of simplification and shrinking attention spans, of Twitter and opinions about Twitter, the aphorism may seem inessential, or worse; enough brevity already.