Category Archives: Apophthegmata

Simple Things

“All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honour; duty; mercy; hope.” – Churchill

Gracián

Every so often one is asked: If you could assemble a dinner party with anyone who ever lived, whom would you invite? For me, the list would have to include Baltasar Gracián y Morales, a Jesuit writer, philosopher, and courtier who lived in seventeenth-century Spain. He’s hardly a household name, but he has always struck […]

Spring

George Santayana said: Repetition is the only form of permanence that nature can achieve. We, however, are exempt — and nature reminds us every spring that while she is cyclical, we are linear. For us, spring, and winter, come but once.

Triage

The perfect should never be the enemy of the good, but we should always let the good be the enemy of the merely convenient.

Fail

The central inconsistency of multiculturalism: the belief that a culture that believes all cultures are of equal value is a superior culture.

Rear View

Living is walking backwards. All we can see is where we’ve already been.

High Road

“In the mountains the shortest route is from peak to peak, but for that you must have long legs.” – Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Golden Mean

If you look at any vigorous society in its prime, you see a healthy balance between rights and privileges. When either grows too much at the expense of the other, a nation declines: on the one hand toward impotent mediocrity, on the other into tyranny.

Synesthesia

What’s your favorite color? Mine are the darker blues and greens; best of all are the deep and aqueous tones in between. The blues and greens are horizontal, and patient, and extended in time, like the sea and the sky and forest; the reds and yellows and oranges are vertical, and call us to the […]

Knot

An unconfirmable truth: the unexamined life is not worth living.

Maybe A Little

This afternoon, a commenter on our previous post asked me: Malcolm, are you cynical? Meanwhile, an old friend wrote me today to quote something I had, apparently, said to him when I was about 17 or 18. I don’t remember saying it, but here it is anyway: Everyone needs a pack of lies to live […]

Chain Of Fools

A brain is only as strong as its weakest think.

Could Be Worse

Life is hard, but at least it’s short.

Just Asking

Perhaps the most important question of all is: what is the most important question of all?

Intermission

There is an agreeable interval between childhood and marriage during which a man may eat what he pleases.