78. Only by forcefully expressing the current zeitgeist can artists and philosophers initiate change.
77. There are sham empathizers. They
really feel the pain, but it’s always their own.
people most likely to change the world for the better are those with idealistic
hearts and practical brains..
75. The entry fees paid by bad poets are what subsidize poetry
contests and their prizes.
74. If you use more words than necessary
to relate something, they’d better be very good words.
73. The only way to avoid becoming an old
fool is to die young.
72. Never before in history have humans
had so many choices, most of them pointless. If you doubt that, try counting
the many varieties of potato chips in a supermarket.
71. Many people who have had near-death
experiences consider their survival to be evidence of their moral superiority and personal worth. Yeah,
70. Nearly all organizations eventually
exist only to maintain their survival rather than to fulfill the purpose for
which they were created.
69. Within each of us there’s a race going
on between Death and Dementia. We all hope that Death doesn’t come in second
68. There’s a huge difference between
inviting a disastrous outcome and deserving it.
67. The most destructive invasive species
on Earth is the motorized vehicle.
66. Acquisitiveness as an addiction is
right up there with smoking and gambling.
65. There are times when an ad hominem
argument is appropriate; it’s not the words or ideas that are wrong, but the
person expressing them.
There are people who think that the way to show support in a time of need is by
offering unasked-for and unwanted advice.
63. You can’t change anyone else; you can
barely change yourself.
62. Police work is the only profession in
which lying is considered a legitimate tool to achieve socially desired ends.
61. The ruthless persistence of life is
what finally kills us.
60. Why is it that, to some, painful
memories are more likely to come to mind than happy memories?
59. People who insist you can be whatever
you want or can accomplish anything you want are only trying to convince
58. Name-calling is the favorite tactic of
someone on the losing side of an argument.
57. Libertarians warn us about the Law of
Unintended Consequences when we tinker with what they consider to be the
natural order of things. Fair enough, but guess what – not all unintended
consequences are bad.
56. Political middle-of-the-roaders have no core beliefs, only a timid desire to maintain a set distance
from the beliefs of everyone else.
Giant corporations come into existence for two reasons: 1, to eliminate competition; and 2, to create huge salaries for top management.
When most people talk to you, they are in reality talking to themselves.
There are fairy tales, but there are no fairies.
If Thomas Edison had never been born, someone else would eventually have invented the light bulb, but only George Gershwin could have composed “Rhapsody in Blue” and only Mark Twain could have written “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”
51. One problem with believing in God is that you start to think that God believes in you.
50. What is it with these people who accept being ripped off by the wealthy but become angry when some lowly soul gets tossed a bone?
49. What's all this business about a stiff upper lip? The principal lip muscle is orbicular, and if you stiffen the upper half you also stiffen the lower; yet you never hear of a stiff lower lip.
48. I wish someone could explain to me how, in ordinary parlance as it is invariably used, an exception can prove a rule.
47. When Thomas Kuhn coined the term “paradigm shift” in 1962 it had a very specific and useful meaning. Unfortunately pseudo-scientists and other sloppy thinkers have corrupted the phrase and driven it out of currency among careful writers.
46. As the capacity for empathy lessens, politically conservative attitudes increase.
45. Large amounts of money attract large numbers of crooks. As long as there are huge concentrations of wealth, we will be plagued by ruthless gangs of thieves.
44. There is no way gracefully to fall on your ass.
43. The architect Daniel Burnham is quoted as saying, “make no little plans.” This is bad advice. Big plans eventually own their creators, whereas little plans decorate one’s life.
42. The reason no one likes getting gratuitous advice is because it necessarily implies criticism.
41. Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” Perhaps, if you’re under 50.
39. Trying their best to explain perceived anomalies in quantum mechanics, physicists have posited the existence of an infinity of parallel universes – a notion that appears to be the scientific equivalent of religious claptrap.
40. Many people mistake their personal prejudices for ideology.
37. The level of chaos tolerated by any social organization is in inverse proportion to the level of predictability demanded by its leaders.
38. Fill a convention hall with liberals from every country in the world, and the meeting will end with invitations to visit. Fill the hall with their conservative counterparts, and someone's going to die.
36. A woman should assume, until it is proven otherwise, that any man she meets is a shit. Similarly, a man should assume, until it is proven otherwise, that any woman he meets is crazy.
35. During the entire history of the world there has not been one verifiable occurrence of a supernatural event.
34. Wisdom is knowing when to start and when to stop.
33. A compulsive need for immortality is the driving force in the universe.
32. Incompatible anxieties are at the root of most romantic dissolutions.
31. Self-righteous liberals picket, sign petitions, and call names; self-righteous conservatives picket, sign petitions, call names, and shoot to kill.
30. The question, “Are you sure?” is really one of two statements depending on the circumstances – “Thank you” or “I don’t believe you.”
29. A good aphorism is one that can serve as the topic sentence for an essay.
28. A tiny number of today’s crackpot ideas will become tomorrow’s political realities.
27. Liberals around the world practice universalism and celebrate cultural diversity; conservatives, constrained by tribalism, sneer at other cultures.
26. Coincidence is the second and subsequent random collision of two particles. The larger the universe, the greater the coincidence.
25. The land of nod is the land of grotesque unreality, terrifying, illogical, incongruous, and nonsensical. The insane among us are those who cannot distinguish between the dream world and the waking world.
24. Corruption, thievery, and dishonesty are integral parts of a free market.
23. Artists and scientists love surprises. Dictators hate them.
22. The top executives of financial institutions are gangsters who don’t have the guts to rob banks with guns.
21. Do we ever abandon the hope that somewhere within us there is a yet-to-be-discovered hidden talent?
19. You aren't defined by the way you earn money or even by the amount; it's how you spend money that tells people who you are.
20. Real life does not resemble the explanations in psychology textbooks. This is demonstrably true: textbooks change every year; life does not.
18. Everyone has the right to set limits on relationships no matter how painful that might be to other parties.
17. Predestinarians are the ultimate egotists. How else to explain their belief in the inevitability of their existence?
16. Myths are derived from misinterpretations of natural phenomena, poetic explanations of the meaning of life, and out-and-out lies.
15. All systems tend to grow in complexity. This is as true for a brick as a universe.
14. In one of his short stories John Buchan has a character longing for truths as opposed to facts. Facts, after all, have to be proven whereas truths require only belief.
13. All improved military armaments inevitably fall into the hands of the enemy.
12. You can relax. You’re the only person who knows – or even cares about – all the stupid things you’ve done in life.
11. Any activity that requires you to wear a helmet is probably not something you should be doing.
10. Who could have more pretentions to wisdom than the aphorist? Answer: the adagist, the epigrammatist, the maximist, and the proverbialist.
9. "The devil you know," goes the old Irish saying, "is better than the devil you don't." But is this really true? Or is it a fiction whispered by devils who want to keep their jobs? I'll take my chances with a new devil any day.
8. To say there are two sides to every argument is misleading because it implies that both sides have equal validity, and this is seldom the case; nearly always one side is right and the other is wrong.
7. People say a picture is worth a thousand words. I’d like to see a wordless illustration that succinctly expresses that claim.
6. When anyone says, it’s not you, it’s me – it’s you.
5. Ingratitude is a survival mechanism for children. If boys and girls were fully aware of the massive efforts made on their behalf they would be driven crazy with guilt.
4. An expert is someone who can accurately reconstruct the past, describe the present, and foretell the future.
3. Primitive people are just as ignorant and irrational as those of us who consider ourselves civilized.
2. Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in G Minor has a greater variety of notes, by whatever measure you choose, than all country music put together.
Gods exist and have power only to the degree they are believed in by humans.