Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, October 03, 2021

What elevates a mere quotation to the rarified plane of the aphorism? To plug his new book, “Geary’s Guide to the World’s Great Aphorists”, James Geary sheds some light on NPR:

Geary tells Robert Siegel that he has five laws: “It must be brief. It must be definitive. It must be personal — that’s the difference between an aphorism and a proverb. It must be philosophical — that’s the difference between an aphorism and a platitude, which is not philosophical,” he says. “And the fifth law is it must have a twist. And that can be either a linguistic twist or a psychological twist or even a twist in logic that somehow flips the reader into a totally unexpected place.”

A fair bit of linguistic acrobatics, sounds like. Some definitive examples:

Wieslaw Brudzinski: “The lesser evil usually lasts longer.”

Desmond Tutu: “To be impartial is to have taken sides already with the status quo.”

Karol Bunsch: “Honest conceit is better than false modesty.”

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/03/2021 11:29:40 PM
Category: Publishing, Wordsmithing | Permalink |

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