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Wednesday, December 10, 2003

An aphorism's plain falsity doesn't necessarily discredit its truth. But it does about fifty percent of the time .

2 Blowhards posts a piece by Nikos A. Salingaros discussing and translating some of the aphorisms of Spanish philosopher Nicolas Gomez-Davila (1913-1994). On the aesthetic and philosophical fronts most of the them are a bit too reactionary for my taste:
  • Truths do not contradict each other except when they become disordered.

  • The modernist object does not possess inner life; only internal conflicts.

  • Contrary to the modernist prejudice, the perfect adaptation of an object to its use has to always be paid for by the absence of style.

But I do like some of his sociopolitical aphorisms:
  • The criterion of "progress" between two cultures or two eras consists of a greater capacity to kill.

  • In augmenting its power, humanity is multiplying its own servitudes.

  • The modern machine gets more complicated each day, and the modern man becomes every day more elementary.
Even though 90% of them serve views I have little sympathy for, they're pleasurable to read as fine instances of aphorism. They made me nostalgic for the ingenious brilliance of Oscar Wilde's. Isn't it odd that one the chief delights of the aphorism is the snippy arrogance with which it flaunts oversimplification?
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