We sons and daughters of Puritanism and the Protestant Ethic seem particularly taken with the aphorism (a genre Ben Franklin defined as ‘moral sentences, prudent maxims, and wise sayings’). We salt our speeches and homilies with them. We collect them in our desk drawers. We hang them on the walls of our kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and offices. We send greeting cards inscribed with them. We introduce books and chapters with them. We weave them into songs and anthems. We wear T-shirts emblazoned with them. We append them at the end of our e-mails.
One notable figure of history once upon a time included them in his popular Almanacks.
This talk uses a potpourri of ‘moral sentences, prudent Maxims, and wise sayings’ from Food 4 Thought to stimulate introspection and discourse on a wide range of subjects. A few examples:
If puffballs were to choose the most beautiful puffball of all, would they choose one round and fat, or one lean and tall?
Women who fail with men seek the counsel of psychotherapists. Men who fail with women become psychotherapists.
What if, instead of saying “We have nothing to fear but fear itself,” FDR had said, “I never had sexual relations with that woman…Eleanor Roosevelt.”
Humility is the last lesson learned, the first forgot.
If pleasure has no meaning in the absence of its opposite, and vice versa, what are we to make of eternal bliss?