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A Fool's Wisdom: III
The following collection of aphorisms is the third installment. The previous installment can be found here.
In the spirit of what follows, I’ll try to keep this short. I’ve compiled here a hundred aphorisms of mine in no specific order. For those who don’t know, aphorisms, most simply, are words which convey concisely. To put it another way, it is to take a big idea and place it in a small package, and the big idea fits in the small package because it has been carefully condensed. Let me illustrate this further. Say you have a package about the width of your palm and along with it you have two objects which you hope to place in it: a ball of lead which is also about palm-width and a ball of yarn which is about the size of your head. Which one of these objects will fit in the package? Well the ball of lead, of course, as it is much smaller and able to just fit. But even though the ball of lead is much smaller in appearance, it carries more weight. So it is with aphorisms—they are dense by design. As the writer Mike Bull once put it, their power is their ability “to pack gravity into a grain of sand.”1
Perhaps the best and most well-known example of a proper aphorism is in the Proverbs of Solomon. But aphorisms ultimately are not relegated to the Holy Scriptures, they crop up in all kinds of people who, in a moment of especial clarity, express it with their words. You don’t have to be a Marcus Aurelius or a William Shakespeare to drop a few truth bombs; your grandparents, no doubt, have dropped a few themselves, whether or not they (or you) knew it.
In terms of what to expect here, I’ll say this: Some may not make sense to you—and that’s sometimes the point. This is partly because aphorisms trade nuance for conciseness, and just like any trade, there’s value on both sides. Aphorisms are valuable in that they can not only provide you with a nugget of wisdom, but more so with an exercise in thought. Some are shorter while others are longer. Some are more prosaic while others are more poetic. Some are more straightforward while others are more cryptic. And some are more light-hearted in their subject matter while others are much more deep. Also, it is not my intention to preach to you in any way, but only to share with you that which I have preached to myself.
Finally, a note on how to generally approach aphorisms. Just as I would not recommend reading the Proverbs of Solomon in a single sitting, I would not recommend the same here. Matthew Henry, in his famous commentary on the whole Bible, once said that the Proverbs are like “a chest of gold rings, not a chain of gold links.”2 So reading straight through a lengthy narrative of Moses in Scripture, for instance, is an easier and more sensical thing than reading through a large number of Solomon’s proverbs all at once because, in the narrative, each thought follows the next—like a linked chain—whereas the proverbs (for the most part) are designed to stand alone—like individual gold rings. Aphorisms are designed not only to stand alone, but often to stand alone while being veiled in ambiguity. That is to say, they’re designed to give you pause and to make you think. So I recommend that you choose, either in order or at random, a single aphorism to carefully consider for a moment before moving on to the next.
I hope you enjoy, and I hope there is some wisdom to be gleaned from the words of another fool like me.
Another post with a hundred more aphorisms is planned for the future. Subscribe to never miss a new post and to support my work.
The numbering is purely for navigational means and does not reflect a specific order or any kind of ranking.
A forgiven man ought to be a forgiving man.
Children are not to be thought of as costly expenditures but as priceless blessings.
A king of the world has nothing on a slave of Christ.
To be a Christian is to perform for an audience of one.
Only when you understand the holiness of God will you then understand the sinfulness of man.
A witness in a court gets up on the stand and swears by God to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; but God is the judge of every court who swears by Himself because He is the truth.
We are ready to be exalted when we are content in being nothing.
Loving your enemies is a lovely idea until you have enemies to love.
*This collection is currently in-progress as it has not hit that hundred mark as of yet. More aphorisms will be added as I write them until it is complete. The early publishing of this can be thought of as a “soft opening” of sorts, similar to that of a store’s soft opening only to have the grand opening at a later date; not everything here is quite in order yet, but it seems to me better to open the doors early than to leave the people waiting (not that anyone’s actually waiting)—and, to be honest, I’d rather not wait myself to share my thoughts! The reason I feel more than comfortable in the early publishing of this is because while although the collection is incomplete as a whole, each individual aphorism here is already complete on its own. Also, while aphorisms may be relatively short in length and quick to write, I don’t really sit down to work on them in the same way as I do with my other writing, so compiling a hundred of them can take some time which is another reason why I’d rather just “open the doors” now rather than later. Because, ultimately, while I do write for the sake of writing, I write also for the sake of being read. And the fact is, they can’t be read hidden away nor can they do any good buried in the dirt. Putting them out there, hopefully, is putting them to work.
If you enjoy nuggets of wisdom like these, then you might enjoy my other Twitter account, @parrotedwords, where I seek to share quotes that will stir your mind and feed your soul. Feel free to check it out below and follow along if you like.
Bull, Michael. Birds of the Air. Page 6.
Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible. Psalm 119.