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Philosophical Notebooks

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2008 :: Issue 3/Fall :: Philosophical Notebooks

Epigrams

Richard Krause

The child gets its first lessons in surreptitious behavior hiding candy. In effect it is our early sweet tooth that dooms all of us to a life of dishonesty.

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The first indication of a shallow grave is the dirt already underneath our fingernails.

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Sometimes the people who go away set up tents in our minds for the rest of our lives and make us nomadic just thinking about them.

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It is always the critical person himself who ends up in intensive care.

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The tumbleweed airiness of most smiles leaves you rooted to a permanent frown just to preserve a sense of place.

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Sadness follows some people around like a broken leg they don’t have yet.

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Even if you seize the moment it will leave tooth marks on your neck while sleeping.

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True creativity disturbs sleep; it is the opposite of hot milk, but the same as being scalded by it.

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To be original you’d have to be eggless and sperm free, but yet conceive.

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Beauty and ugliness both disturb. In fact we are fortunate that nature made them extremes so they can’t join forces.

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How important we consider it to have the first say, to make the initial identification; the greed over this moment is what is called originality.

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We often joke with people because their intelligence alone isn’t enough to amuse us.

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We have no word in our language to describe love that lasts a lifetime; even after the achievement of happy love we say they “lived” happily ever after, not that they “loved” happily ever after.

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You rebuff those who love you to seek those who don’t. Perhaps it has more to do with the general nature of love than it does with individual people. That we want to be loved by everyone, and especially by those who love us least or not at all.

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Hate promotes more rapidly a kind of intimacy that would take love years to develop.

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Rarely does the jealousy we have permit us to see that we are truly loved. There is something about love that discourages its honest admission. Or is it that when it is admitted it seems trivial by comparison with what it was before it was revealed?

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We pick wives out to be the mothers of our children, but lovers with something else that would just as soon let the race go extinct.

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Beauty rules the day even though every night intelligence is home plotting its overthrow.

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Ugliness runs in the family, but rarely runs from having one. And so is passed on.

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The joys of bondage are tied up intimately with our fear of freedom.

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It is curious how our thoughts seem to come out of the emptiness they are trying to fill.

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How much blue sky out the window would it take to release even one idea that wasn’t inflated.

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There is a gap between thoughts that makes the teeth visible.

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Nothing blows brilliance to the wind like caution.

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For some people an open mind could only result from brain surgery.

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You have to be somewhat estranged from someone to have true intimacy.

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All loneliness has a hunchback that only it cannot see.

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If you ignore people enough they eventually go away, ignore yourself however and you will come back as one of them.

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The benefit of learning to live with yourself is not having to live with others; the benefit of living with others is of course not having to live with yourself. The problem is that there is always someone to live with.

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Some people never develop simply because they refuse to outgrow the appreciation of those they care about.

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We mistrust people who misuse words, just as we do those who use them too well.

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Without platitudes we’d have to mouth original speech that would make us eventually unintelligible to each other.

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The way my mother would diminish herself sitting on a suitcase, make her already compact body more so. As if the suitcase could at any moment open up and devour her, close, and be left standing there to be carried off by the one man she never met.

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The only way some people can emanate dignity is by being a little offended.

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The silent will get you back for everything they don’t say.

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My pleasure at play acting giving needles, where does it come from? The needle I was tricked into as a child that I had no control over? “Mommy, mommy, I’m not going to get a needle, am I?” I cried. “No,” she said calmly. I was then shocked when the doctor who came in produced one, the long needle that I now pretend to give to my own children to inoculate them against all the deceptions they will experience later in life.

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Fear drives people to love, and cowards love the deepest because they are the most afraid.

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An epigram has to have just enough inbreeding that no one can identify it formally as incest.

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Youth is beauty when you get old enough.

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What you love is so much more accessible than who you love. Generic love leads to heaven, individual love to hell.

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If you think people are out to get you, they already have.

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To admire yourself is already placing one foot in the grave, to admire others places both.

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Could it be that we are the only true strangers that we will meet in our lifetime, and everyone else has the familiarity of not being us?

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People know so little that it makes you smaller just thinking about it. In fact if you focus completely on their ignorance, you disappear altogether.

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Does the stubbornness of imagining you are loved leave you with more stubbornness than love?

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What is good we think makes us good, but when it is really good it makes us inconsequential. We are fascinated by Shakespeare, but ultimately he is nobody compared to his plays.

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Rarely do I meet strength without a significant lack of imagination.

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If you analyze love it goes away. Never look at it and it is liable to strangle you in your sleep.

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Fathers always angry at their daughters unwittingly explore the only socially acceptable way of desiring them.

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Nature is our human nature in all its cruelty, but without our obvious spitefulness.

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Mediocrity rules with an iron fist just because it totally lacks precious metal.

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I don’t know what I am, but it claws and clutches at me as if I am worth reaching.

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That anyone can love anyone is the sad key to the almost always absent lock. This is proved by almost everything that love doesn’t open.

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Putting people in their place shows that you yourself have nowhere to go.

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The faith you lose in people is almost enough to start a religion elsewhere.

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You are all that is left of your childhood.

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That he comes from a good home should simply mean it is not termite ridden, for that is all anyone can really tell.

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You write to combat first the silence, then the deafening applause, and finally everything that you don’t want to hear.

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It is not often considered that Christ had to be nailed to the cross so as not to abandon it.

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Too much understanding shows greed just like overeating does.

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When the words fall into place, I dance over the tomb of the unknown soldier as if I am the only identification.

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Honesty is little more than the certainty associated with our own prejudices.

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He swept her off her feet, but with a broom that ruined everything.

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Love being blind just means that our imagination is working overtime disregarding what we see.

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It is always easier to be wise when you lack courage.

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What if all intelligence was really will, a bullying, climate changing idea that reinforced itself with the snowball effect so that even what wasn’t Antarctica was effortlessly made so?

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What you trifle with for the most part mounts a collective assault, though sometimes only of butterflies that have already been pinned through the thorax.

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When you are washed up you never realize the extent of shoreline you have to yourself.



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