Friday, October 16, 2020

The Black Book of Bob's Aphorisms, Epigrams, Gags, Zingers, Precepts, Gnomes & Oracles

Yes, it exists. It's sitting right here in my lap.  I guess I began compiling these nuggets of joy around the time the world ended last March.  In one sense the effort was inspired by Dávila, but I began recording these thoughtlets long before ever running into him.  Most of them are located in books, except I must have 10,000 or more books in my library, meaning they are quite dispersed.  

For example, let me grab a random book that I read, say, 30 or 40 years ago and haven't looked at since.  If it was a decent or at least thought-provoking book, it is liable to contain notes to myself.  These notes aren't usually something from the book per se, but something that was triggered by the book in my own noggin.  A spark from the fire, so to speak.  Plagiarism once removed.  

Bear in mind that 35 years ago I was still an idiot, more or less, so many if not most of the early aphorisms are likely to be false, stupid, obvious, or rendered null & void by subsequent discoveries.   But I am particularly interested in any bobservation that points to or hints at my present outlook -- as if I were able to see directly into my future self, even if I still had to go through a great deal in order to arrive here, i.e., to eliminate all the noise, static, and accidental accretions.  

Looking back on it, there are only a handful of thinkers who have been with me the whole way. Most of the early ones have gotten off the bus, while others were picked up en route.  Michael Polanyi was right there with me when I set foot on the bus.  His last book, Meaning, was published in 1975. I must have read it in the early 1980s, and it is full of urgent memos to myself, some more obscure than others.  

Here's one that says Marxism is the rationalization of human appetites. While that is true, I didn't truly understand what I was talking about, since I was still a liberal back then and wouldn't grasp the implications for another fifteen years or so.  I didn't have a completely consistent and integrated worldview, both horizontally and vertically.

Come to think of it, I'm still working on that, at least around the edges.  I'm always discovering important ideas and principles that I should have understood at 18.  But no one taught them to me, least of all in college, of all places.

For example, yesterday I was reading Fulton Sheen's Philosophy of Science.   In chapter 8 he has a brilliantly clear and concise explanation of the principle of causality.  It's nothing I didn't know already, but I only knew it implicitly.  Sheen draws the explicit from the implicit, such that now I understand why the principle of causality is and must be metaphysical as opposed to empirical or rational (in the Kantian sense).  

Anyway, back to Polanyi.  And I hope this exercise isn't too self-indulgent.  I'm genuinely curious to see if there are any vertical threads that can be traced all the way back to the beginning, i.e., when my mind unexpectedly came on line.  For whatever reason, the light switched on in my early 20s, and I have this notion that light is light, i.e., that the substance of intelligence is truth itself.  Therefore, when the light appeared, so too did the truth.  

But it's somewhat like digging for gold, I suppose.  As in Treasure of the Sierra Madre, you happen upon something glittering in the dirt.   Then the real work begins, of digging down and extracting the gold from the worthless material it's mixed with.  Same.  

Not to mention all the fool's gold!  A basic education ought to at least provide the student with a means for discerning between the two.  I didn't acquire that in a principled way until I was in my 40s.   Certainly I had intuitions and visions, but these must be anchored in perennial truths that cannot not be.  

The act of understanding is more important than what is understood. 

Bing! This is indeed a critical meta-truth, since the very existence of understanding is full of metaphysical implications that I'm still discovering, or at least confirming and fine-tuning.  For example, yesterday I read that

Truth as an attribute of being implies a thinker. Whatever is can be thought of, and is in this sense co-extensive and identical with being. All reality is therefore intelligible; it has meaning. Mind and reality are not unrelated. There is an intercommunication between them.... 

When the mind knows, it recognizes conformity of the thought and the thing. This is just another way of saying it knows the thing as it truly is (Sheen). 

Ultimately we might say that to understand anything in fact is to potentially understand everything in principle.  Which is why it is correct to say that "The act of understanding is more important than what is understood" even if I "saw" this truth before I explicitly understood why it must be true.


ted said...

Seeing things as they are is not getting an easier for the left. This week we learned "sexual preference" is offensive. Why? Because according to the left, you are born that way. However, "gender preference" is not offensive. Why? Because you can choose that.

Ok folks, is someone f**king with me, because this is getting beyond nuts!

Gagdad Bob said...

Progressive time is accelerating. A tweet from Matt Walsh:

Yesterday morning, "sexual preference" was a perfectly normal term. By lunchtime, left wing Twitter had decided that it's problematic. A few hours later Democrats were denouncing it publicly. Then came the media thinkpieces. By bedtime, the dictionary had changed its definition.

Daniel T said...

I would like to read that Sheen book if I can get my hands on a copy. Also Jaki's book on Chesterton and science!

julie said...

For whatever reason, the light switched on in my early 20s, and I have this notion that light is light, i.e., that the substance of intelligence is truth itself. Therefore, when the light appeared, so too did the truth.

Yes, understood...

heh - there was a story out this week that physicists have devised a way to put light in an actual container and carry it to a different spot. So to speak. Don't they know we've been doing that all along?

Anonymous said...

What gender would you like to be today?

There are in fact twenty- eight different genders. Each is associated with a specific color.

Man's color is iron gray. He is stern and hard.
Woman's color is pink. She is warm and soft.
Metro's color is mauve. He is delicate and discerning.
Teddy Bear's color is brown. He is furry and sensitive.
Domina's color is black. She is spiteful and passionate.

And there are twenty-three more. You can be any of them and can change as often as every 30 minutes.

Think of the ward-robe you can put together to dress for each!

Ta ta!

Nicolás said...

For man to fall repeatedly into the same trap, just paint it a different color each time.

Anonymous said...

I’d never heard of Fulton Sheen, but he’s now one of my very favorite aphorists, right up there with Karl Marx and Milton Friedman.

Freedom does not mean that right to do whatever we please, but rather to do as we ought. The right to do whatever we please reduces freedom to a physical power and forgets that freedom is a moral power.

I do love surrealist artistry. Or maybe subrealist is the more precise term. A Wahhabi terrorist might read that and say: “My flying lessons have not been wasted!” Stalin2 would start robbing banks hoping for that day when he gets to drive an entire nation around like his own vehicle, but “morally” of course. A Christian conservative would say: "Now we get to legislate from the bench!" And of course Gollum would say: “Yes, precious, yes.”

So maybe I’m still new to Sheen and I’m probably taking this one out of context. Be nice if it was mandated that aphorisms must stand alone, lest the idiots misinterpret them. Perhaps Nicholas would be so kind as to set me straight.

Anonymous said...

Shawna advances to the mic. She feels golden, like glitter on her shoulder. You got this girl.

"Hey, any Biden supporters here tonight? Yeah? Well you might want to put these in." Shawna throws a handful of ear plugs into the first few rows. Muted applause.

"Yeah, Biden. Who does he think he is anyway, a comedian?. Here's some jokes he's dropped lately-"

"For Halloween we dressed up as almonds. People thought we were nuts."

"My cross-eyed wife and I are in therapy. She told me she was seeing someone on the side."

"A court-room artist was arrested for murder. The details are sketchy."

"Show me a piano falling down a mine-shaft and I'll show you A-flat minor."

"He was cut in half but he's all right now."

"Amirite? Are the jokes bad?"

"My joints are stiff. I need better rolling papers."

Shawna produced a handful of joints and tossed them toward the back rows. "Toke up me hearties, toke up. Sis Boom Bah."

Shawna was invited back for the following week. Golden.

Beorn said...

I don't like Biden. He is greedy and blind, blind to the lives of those he deems lesser than himself. But Trump I hate more. What do you need?

Anonymous said...

Beorn, it is best to judge a politician by policies rather than their personalities.

A really nice person could be a terrible politician, and a really horrible person could be a great politician.

In all cases, the adage "Follow the money" will always be enlightening.

For instance, Trump does not seem to think making war is money well spent. Yes? No? Did not Trump defuse North Korea and Iran issues? Did Trump lose his cool at any time when Iran shot rockets at us? Did we not still flatten the Iranian general and get away with it?

Are we mired in Syria? Are we hearing about the Taliban these days? Not so much, eh?
Now follow the money. Who is not getting so much these days? Defense contractors? Bomb makers? All of the above?

Apparently Trump is not cowed by the "Military Industrial Complex." He is not going to let these pirates reap billions by making useless war.

But Trump will let the military have money for research and development and the new Space Force branch. Money well spent? For future security is is money well spent.

Trump can be a tool. It is sad he has to be that way. But is he good for the nation? Quite probably so. I sure hope I am not wrong.

You get the idea. No matter how much of dick Trump is, is he good with foreign policy? You decide.

Beorn said...

I could not decide. So I research.

Neocon hero and former Trump NSA John Bolton has stated that the USA is no safer under Trump. He has also reputedly called him an idiot.

In other news Kim Jung un recently wept as the largest road-mobile liquid-fueled missile in the world (MIRV capable) passed by his grandstand. He now has 12 nuclear missiles and an estimated 20-60 nuclear bombs. So much for falling in love.

From the libertarians at the website:
“Trump has dropped more bombs and missiles than George W. Bush or Barack Obama did in their first terms, and there are still roughly as many US bases and troops overseas as when he was elected.”

As for Trumps domestic agenda, I see the headlines: “Polls show American voters on both sides think Trump is divisive” and “Majority of Americans think Trump is 'unstable', Fox News poll finds”. Trumps response is always the same: Fake news. Yet there are people who are counting, who claim that Trumps public lie count is over 20,000. I shall be conferring with Qanon to determine the truth. Or lies.

I still hate Trump worse.

Anonymous said...

It is nice to see a discussion of the presidential choices without vitriol. Some other considerations from my perspective which also is which candidate is less worse:

Threat to our democracy:
-Trump using the Attorney General as his own personal lawyer and in fact thinking that the purpose of the entirety of the government is to serve his own personal interests vs. the populace
-Trump's calling for the indictment of his political enemies
-Trump thumbing his nose at the congress and ignoring subpoenas during the impeachment. The accused don't get to decide their guilt or innocence.
-Trump chanting "lock her up" in regard to the governor of Michigan. He may not like her, but she has not done anything that warrants arrest. Unimaginable behavior by a president
-Trump baselessly calling into question the validity of our elections. His own commission found no evidence of widespread election fraud.
- Trump taking actions to make it more difficult for people that aren't likely to vote for him to vote
-Trump riling up people with guns and encouraging violence if he doesn't win

Personally, I think the above are enough to tilt the balance in between Biden (who I don't particularly like either and for which a list of evils could also be created). I could overlook any of the below. Just the above is enough for me:
-stupidity (extreme)
-extreme narcissism
-lack of morals of any kind
-abject incompetence
-risking people's lives by encouraging them to not use the proven benefit of using masks and politicizing
-having his only driver be how the presidency benefits himself and little if any concern for anything else. His [mis]handling of Covid 19 is purely driven by his reelection. He cares nothing about the lives he endangers
-Dividing this country like it hasn't been divided since the civil war

Let's say you disagree with 90% of what I noted. Isn't 10% of this enough?

Nicolás said...

Whoever insists on refuting idiotic arguments ends up doing so with stupid reasons

Anonymous said...

anon @10/18/2020 08:18:00 AM,

Rumors that Trump is only in this POTUS gig to try and save his own failing personal businesses, have always abounded. They now seem quite plausible when one considers all the evidence and behaviors.

Yet... I do feel badly for his supplicants and sycophants, for they know not what they do. I really wish that faith would get back to the basics of faith. This whole experiment with mammon superpowers has been a disaster.

Nicolás said...

Because he does not understand the objection that refutes him the fool thinks he has been corroborated.

julie said...

It's weird to me how a couple of anonymous shills find it worth their time to plug Biden here of all places.

Nicolás said...

Whoever wants to know what the serious objections to Trump are should ask us. The progressive matrix dweller has only silly objections.

Anonymous said...


I don't see plugging of Biden here. I do see a post where someone said they don't like Biden, but point out why they dislike Trump more? Are you unable to entertain any criticism at all about Trump? I recall once you were asked about Trump's morality and how you reconcile that with your morality and you refused to answer that.

Without being confrontational, I really would like to understand why nobody here except for some "anonymous shills" can see anything at all wrong with Trump and is 100% one-sided and will not entertain or give anything serious consideration that doesn't fit in to their preconceived notions. If pressed, even I can find some things about Trump which I can't criticize and I can find plenty of things to criticize about Biden. There are plenty of intelligent people here. Is there no room for disagreement of opinions without ? Is there credibility in being binary and seeing one side as 100% wrong and the other as 100% right?

Responses like "Whoever insists on refuting idiotic arguments ends up doing so with stupid reasons" and beating up on anyone who doesn't agree with you doesn't have much value. I see some serious arguments which others may not agree with, but which don't deserve to be dismissed outright ad hominem.

Anonymous said...

Nicolas: That's fair. Would you please let us know what your serious objections are to Trump? I will assume that you feel that these are lesser than your objections to Biden.


Nicolás said...

Let us say frankly to our opponent that we do not share his ideas because we understand them and that he does not share ours because he does not understand them.

Nicolás said...

Arguing with someone who does not share our principles is just a stupid way to waste one's time.

Cousin Dupree said...

My serious objections to Trump include his signing the jailbreak legislation, failure to investigate Big Tech, and not shutting down the Department of Education.

Cousin Dupree said...

I would also like to see Trump try to repeal the 19th amendment. Without weak, unhappy, and hysterical woman (of both sexes), Democrats wouldn't win a single national election.

Anonymous said...

Julie, Trump has just tried to incite domestic terrorism against an elected governor who has done nothing wrong.

Nicolas, please tell me why objecting to this could only be silly.

Anonymous said...

Ahh... ok. I get it now. Anyone that doesn't agree with you is too stupid to respond to.
You did say "Whoever wants to know what the serious objections to Trump are should ask us." and you were politely asked.

I was not trying to stir up the shit. I fully understand your objections to Biden and the Democrats and agree with some of them. You certainly can't think Trump is perfect and want to understand how you reconcile the issues you have with him, with what you have against Biden. I have truly never heard you or any of the regulars say anything critical of Trump.

Anyway, I give up. You all know the real truth and anyone whose opinions who differ from yours are stupid.

Nicolás said...

The truth does not need the adherence of man in order to be certain.

Gagdad Bob said...

Trump supporters have engaged in no violence toward any elected official, and Trump incited it. Meanwhile, fascist stormtroopers of the left carried out the most expensive riots in US history, but the Dems prevented it.

Anonymous said...

There’s a place called Theramin Trees, which goes into detail about how the religious, when confronted with any sort of logic or reason which contradicts their faith, will lash out very emotionally. This has also been exactly my experience.

I have no problems whatsoever with those who need spiritual strength to make it through tough times, or who long to be reunited with dearly departed loved ones in an eternally utopian afterlife. None whatsoever.

But when they cross the line into an insanity so obvious that it turns off the youth, depriving them of that hopeful experience, I will speak out.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, fascist stormtroopers of the left carried out the most expensive riots in US history.

Proof please.

Gagdad Bob said...

The Russians hacked our TV sets!

Nicolás said...

To praise youth is to forget our former idiocy.

Nicolás said...

God is not an inane compensation for lost reality, but the horizon surrounding the summits of conquered reality.

Anonymous said...


You should publish your quotes. Maybe in in a little red book that all of the right-minded smart people could carry around at all times.

Nicolás said...

He who longs to write for more than a hundred readers capitulates.

Anonymous said...

He who goes to bed with an itchy ass wakes up with a smelly finger

Nicolás said...

What is called gentility are the habits arising from respect for superiors carried over into dealings between equals.

Anonymous said...

May the wind at your back, not be your own

Nicolás said...

The relativity of taste is an excuse adopted by eras that have bad taste.

julie said...

I was reading just this morning that roughly 75% of Americans prefer classical architecture to modernism. Whoever did the study even broke it down by gender, age, race, etc, but it was consistent across every metric.

People crave beauty. It is our moral and intellectual betters who try to convince us otherwise.

Gagdad Bob said...

Not coincidental. Ugliness is an incredibly important aspect of the leftist agenda. More on which later in the week.

Doug Saxum said...

Anonymous10/18/2020 02:43:00 PM

Proof? You need only to google the riots that accompany the “protests” of BLM ✊�� (peace be upon them). Not!

Ant �� tifa are the metrosexual stormtroopers of the progressive persuasion.

I believe the showdown between the patriotic side of the country and the aforementioned scalawags will be a very short civil war.

What, with all the freedom loving bikers that are armed to the teethe.
The ex-military, law and order folks that are also, you guessed it, armed to the teethe.

As well as the well organized militias, southern “redneck” good ole boys and girls that know what sex they are and have a distaste for “citiots”.

This will not end well for the socialist, communist hooligans that are useful idiots of the nazi george soros, and globalist agenda.

America will not go down the path of unrighteousness. For where there is Liberty, there is the L_RD.

Let the bodies hit the floor. . .

Doug Saxum said...

But, I could be wrong 😜

Nicolás said...

When one does not concede to the leftist all that he demands, he proclaims himself the victim of an institutional violence that is licit to repel with physical violence.

Nicolás said...

The leftist screams that freedom perishes when his victims refuse to finance their own murder.

Anonymous said...

Hi Doug:

Leftist reserves total about 5 Corp, with each Corp composed of 4 Divisions of about 20,000 soldiers each. These are further subdivided into Regiments and then Battalions. We're talking about 400,000 reserves.

Each unit is better trained, equipped and led than its corresponding/equivalent conservative unit.

Leftist soldiers are well paid, highly motivated, and committed.

Leftist units boast very high lethality metrics. A select number of our all-women units have the highest lethality of any North American unit on either side.

It is idiocy to think of civil war. The leftist is no pushover; nothing but trouble will come to any who confront the leftist Corp on the battlefield.

So put put away your shotgun Cleatus. You doan wanna go get yessef hurt.

Nicolás said...

The ideas of the left beget revolutions; revolutions beget the ideas of the right.

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Panel.

We should turn out attention to the nation's coffee situation.
-Currently good beans are imported from sources in Hawaii, Yemen, Jamaica, Brazil, and Costa Rica among others.
-These are being purchased at a reasonable price.
-The beans are being roasted and ground, for the most part, respectfully and the aromatic oils and terpenes are coming through.

Usage of B-grade beans is down and the population has avoided any massive exposure to inferior product such as our nation endured in the 1960's - 1970's. Anybody remember those times? Yeah? Makes COVID seem like a cake-walk in comparison.

With this in mind, the conclusion we must reach is: we don't need any changes at this time. Every American has access to quality coffee at at reasonable price. Let's not rock the boat.

Let the good times roll. Ladies and gentlemen, start your Keurigs! Onward and upward!

Nicolás said...

Pleasures abound as long as we do not confuse their ranks.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of pleasures (and perhaps getting Dupree pleasured), I await the revolution from "weak, unhappy, and hysterical woman (of both sexes)". It'll give me an excuse to leave my henpeckery wife for a virtual bonanza of revolutionary choices.

Doug Saxum said...

Useful idiots

vanderleun said...

"How do I know what I think until I see what I say?"