Aphorisms

Inspired by Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s The Bed of Procrustes.

Only the foolish talk themselves to tatters. The wise knows that the truth needs no explication.

Distractions are a form of relaxation of the intellectually unemployed.

Being on the receiving end of an iniquity is, at most times, superior to the one on the giving end, at least morally so.

The only thing that sustains one through life is the realization of one’s own perfection.

Assessing the merit of an idea solely on its utility is the domain of the vulgar and the barbarous.

One could acquire all the privileges of a personality by saying less than he should, and working less than others would.

Charm is strictly the domain of the bourgeoisie.

To paraphrase Wilde: the only thing that stands in the way of the freedom and liberty of the masses is the benevolent dictator.

I had steadfastly refused to learn Stairway To Heaven because once I know it, its wonder dissipates and mystery completely robbed.

Some things are grotesquely Herculean in form, and shall never be attempted by anyone except those who harbour the perversion to have their temperance severely tested. Getting work done in the long summer days in Oxford is one of those things.

Work drives out thought. Industriousness, therefore, has its natural conclusion in stupidity.

Utility is orthogonal to aesthetics, and yet aesthetics is ultimately utility.

To live and to exist are two different things.

Someone will have to do the tedious and boring work so that you and I can meditate on being the perfect human.

Only the simplest of simpletons knows himself fully.

Oxford’s anachronism pleases me greatly. She should never try to fit into the 21st century.

Resolute cynicism as one grows older is a sign of arrested intellectual development.

The lack of originality is the norm, never the exception. Aren’t most people merely the duplicates of others?

The telltale signs of someone who has read Nietzsche for the first time: mockingly caustic and insufferably sententious.

To live hidden, evasion is insufficient and dissimulation is a necessity.

Indolence is rarely the trait of the ignoble. Avoidance of work is a stimulator of creativity, perhaps the greatest.

The inclinations of a group of individuals are not necessarily that of the aggregate of the individuals examined separately.

A man who is principled is inevitably prejudiced.

Construct your own myth, for mysterious origins arouse veneration and irresistible intrigue.

Herein lies the irreconcilability between self-actualization and happiness – discontent is the enabler of the former and simultaneously the destroyer of the latter.

Committing a crime can be easily forgiven, but having an original thought is an immortal sin.

I can forgive you if you take a thing that I own, but I won’t if you show me the thing that I don’t.

Self-preservation is a primeval behaviour, but the modern age has the man running headfirst to his destruction.

The modern form is vulgar because utility is its raison d’ĂȘtre, never its aesthetics.

Morality has got nothing to do with the truth, for the former is individual while the latter is universal.

Modern civilization is the refuge of the man from the indiscriminate savagery of Mother Nature.

Like muscles in the body, the mind is pliant and mutable; its malleability should therefore be exploited lest it gets beset by atrophy and emaciation.

Every thought is first interpreted, arranged and schematized, leading to the construction of one’s perception of reality. The breakdown of these inner schema changes the world view radically – moving either closer or further from the truth – depending on the severity of the disintegration, and subsequently, the reconstruction.

A reticent man can be turned loquacious by making him painfully aware that his shortcomings need to be indemnified for.

I am capable of respecting only the equivalents of Michelangelo, Newton, Tesla and Ramanujan. It is painful to live in a world which scoffs at such standards, one with a misplaced reverence to the mediocre and the shallow. Still, my yearning for the heroic ideal is ineradicable, as is my contempt for those who let their faculties slide the slope of cynical dissolution and their ambitions climb the ladder of excess and greed.

He who exalts the virtue of self-sacrifice is, almost unmistakably, the beneficiary of those sacrifices.