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Thread: Wise sayings (and meanings) wanted!

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Default Wise sayings (and meanings) wanted!

    A thread for wise sayings, even if (and maybe especially if) they're somewhat obscure. Explanations as well as examples are welcome!

    Ran across this while looking at albums today. From Blake: "The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction." While I suppose that might be fun as a conversation-stopper at a cocktail party, I'm still just a wee bit baffled... Help me out!


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    Senior Member Dim7's Avatar
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    "There ain't much wisdom to be found in short quotes."
    ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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    Senior Member TalkingHead's Avatar
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    Give me all your money, now.
    [Uttered by tax authorities, banks and other assorted userers since JC caused a fracas in the Temple]
    Last edited by TalkingHead; Mar-15-2015 at 08:48.

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    Senior Member Dim7's Avatar
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    But seriously, I find that most "wise sayings" aren't. They either state the obvious or just are plain false. At best they manage to sound "cool" or "witty" on a superficial level.
    The famous Nietzsche quote that my signature refers to "Without music, life would be a mistake" is also rubbish IMO. First of all it's an awfully banal and sentimental thing for Nietzsche to say and it's also just plain false. Plenty of interesting things in life besides music.
    ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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    Senior Member Blancrocher's Avatar
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    "Words should be weighed, not counted."

    I interpret this as meaning that you shouldn't trust anyone with more than 3000 posts who joined the forum as recently as July 2013.

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    Senior Member Cheyenne's Avatar
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    The art of the maxim is old, but it recent times people are too obsessed with these "wise sayings" and "quotes", putting their favorites in pictures and misattributing them constantly. Most are tripe platitudes or sentimental nonsense. Nevertheless saying something worthwhile in as concise a manner as possible is a fine thing. "True eloquence consists in saying everything necessary, and in saying only what is necessary." (See what I did there?)

    For fine "sayings" the maxims of the French moralists are useful: de la Rochefoucauld, Chamfort, Joubert, Nicole de la Bruyère.. "Jealousy is always born with love, but it does not always die with it." "There is well-dressed foolishness, as there are well-dressed fools." "Ignorance, which in matters of morals extenuates the crime, is itself, in matters of literature, a crime of the first order." "Time, which strengthens friendship, weakens love." William Hazlitt wrote a volume called Characteristics which Duncan Wu consideres one of the forgotten masterpieces of the romantic era. "The youth is better than the old age of friendship." (See how they all contradict each other? You can find nice 'sayings' supporting nearly everything.) Shaw had some nice Maxims for Revolutionists: "The best brought-up children are those who have seen their parents as they are. Hypocrisy is not the parent's first duty." "The vilest abortionist is he who attempts to mould a child's character." "In heaven an angel is nobody in particular." "Hell is paved with good intentions, not with bad ones."

    There are also those writers whose writings are naturally filled with maxims, like Emerson. "Grief too will make us idealists." "When virtue is in presence, all subordinate powers sleep." "To fill the hour,—that is happiness; to fill the hour and leave no crevice for a repentance or an approval. We live amid surfaces, and the true art of life is to skate well on them." "Everything good is on the highway." "It is very unhappy, but too late to be helped, the discovery we have made that we exist. That discovery is called the Fall of Man." "The life of truth is cold and so far mournful; but it is not the slave of tears, contritions and perturbations." (Those were all from a single essay!) My personal favorite is "The poet sees the stars because he makes them."

    My very favorite at the moment, from Ruskin, is "The sin of the whole world is the essentially the sin of Judas; men do not disbelieve their Christ, but they sell him." (The explanation is in the sentence, luckily!)

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    Senior Member quack's Avatar
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    william-blake-quotes-the-man-who-never-alters-his-opinion-is-like-standing-water-and-breeds-rept.jpg

    From The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Blake is great when he's cogent.
    The soft complaining flute in dying notes discovers the woes of hopeless lovers.

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    Senior Member Perotin's Avatar
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    I would strongly recommend the book by Gustave Flaubert, The Dictionary of Received Ideas. It's full of wise syings. For an instance:
    Idiots: Those who differ with you.
    Feudalism: No need to have one single precise notion about it: thunder against.
    Erection: Said only of monuments.
    Jansenism: Meaning unknown, but any reference to it is swank.
    Scaffold: When upon it, manage to say a few eloquent words, before dying.
    I love you all.

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    You could read my sig.
    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    In 1906 Ambrose Bierce published his Devil's Dictionary, a large collection of wise (and usually cynical) sayings in the form of definitions. Example:

    "Conservative (n.) A statesman who is enamoured of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Devil%27s_Dictionary


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    For codgers, never pass a toilet, never trust a fart, never waste an erection.

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    Senior Member geralmar's Avatar
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    Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.

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    Senior Member Headphone Hermit's Avatar
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    Just because you don't find a trout in your milkbottle, doesn't mean that your milkman is not a fisherman

    Told by a Deputy-headteacher to a 15-year old (of somewhat dim intellect) in 1984 - apparently to explain that things are not always as they seem.
    "Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils." Berlioz, 1856

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    Senior Member Headphone Hermit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blancrocher View Post
    "Words should be weighed, not counted."

    I interpret this as meaning that you shouldn't trust anyone with more than 3000 posts who joined the forum as recently as July 2013.
    agreed - Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding (Proverbs 17:28)
    "Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils." Berlioz, 1856

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    Senior Member Piwikiwi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blancrocher View Post
    "Words should be weighed, not counted."

    I interpret this as meaning that you shouldn't trust anyone with more than 3000 posts who joined the forum as recently as July 2013.
    Proust is not amused by your comment


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