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26 aphorisms on art, morality, and the spirit by Yahia Lababidi.

December 1, 2011 \am\31 8:12 am

Immaturity: Atheism to the believer; and Belief to the atheist.

(Maturity might be maintaining a bemused silence).

Writer’s compassion: imagining the lives of strangers.

Compassion and contempt are not compatible.

To write is to enter a self-induced trance; as in a dream where, if one is lucky, they might figure a few things out and drag them back into the waking world.

A fraction of a poem’s power resides in words; the remainder belongs to the spirit that moves through them.

The highest function of literature is inspirational.

Ideas dress themselves, writers are just the hapless tailors.

Every secret wants to be told; cultivate the art of listening.

Reading undercurrents of feeling and subtext is the language we can neither learn nor unlearn: intuition

To hear what someone is saying, listen to their language; to overhear what they are thinking, listen to their body language.

Trust in longing to sing itself.

Just be yourself, they say.  Which one, I think.

Poetry:  the native tongue of hysterics – adolescents and mystics, alike.

Aphorisms are the echoes of our silences.

Bow so low and you kiss the sky.

Artists are parasites. Their independence is a myth tolerated by countless hosts.

Certain strains of writing serve as a form of life-support, stretched across space and time, to sustain world-weary readers.

There are many degrees of madness.  Philosophy,   Psychology, and Literature are to name but a few.

If one’s first love is for Letters, people tend to come second.

Certain cherished books are like old loves. We didn’t part on bad terms; but it’s complicated, and would require too much effort to resume relations.

The extent of our pride determines our capacity to give and receive love.

Infatuation, as any hothouse flower, will only flourish in a climate-controlled environment. A degree more, or less, and it withers.

We make daily negotiations with others just to keep alive -whether having sex, or crossing the street.

Hope, the window we turn to when the living room turns on us.

Excuses:  the first refuge of the failure.

Activist:  an angry person, in search of a Cause.

Egyptian-born Yahia Lababidi is an aphorist, poet, and essayist. He is the author of a new poetry collection, Fever Dreams (Crisis Chronicles Press) an essay collection, Trial by Ink: From Nietzsche to Belly Dancing, and a collection of aphorisms, Signposts to Elsewhere (Jane Street Press), selected as a 2008 Book of the Year by The Independent (UK). Lababidi’s work has appeared in several anthologies, including the best-selling Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing and Geary’s Guide to the World’s Great Aphorists. His writing has been translated into Arabic, Slovak, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Turkish, and Italian, and he was chosen as a juror for the 2012 Neustadt Prize for International Literature. Lababidi’s forthcoming project is a series of conversations with Alex Stein, investigating The Artist as a Mystic.

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One Comment
  1. December 1, 2011 \am\31 11:19 am 11:19 am

    Speaking as a would-be epigrammatist: What IS this crap?

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