Aphorist's Corner Weekly

by Igor D. Radovic

Foreword

Aphorisms, like epigrams, apothegms, maxims, axioms, proverbs, sayings, adages, bon mots and many other familiar quotations are examples of meaning and clarity enhanced by brevity. But, sadly, concise and to the point are waging a losing battle in our modern age of verbal overkill and ubiquitous, round-the-clock media babble. All the same, aphorisms and related forms, on a par with poetry, are without peer in their capacity to cut, in a sentence or two, and sometimes in most unexpected ways, to the heart of a subject that learned volumes often leave only more confusing and obscure. Eclectic, long on substance, experience and common sense, and short on empty verbiage, they are also thought provoking, easily remembered, and within the reach of any audience. Yet, for all that, aphorisms remain a comparatively and undeservedly neglected literary genre. Aphorist's Corner Weekly pays a modest tribute to it by reminding us that whatever is worth saying can usually be said better, and to better effect, with fewer rather than with more words.

As its name indicates, Aphorist's Corner Weekly (http://home.earthlink.net/~iradovic/aphorist.htm) is regularly updated. New text - this author's own attempts at aphorisms and brief personal comments on a broad variety of topics of general interest - is added every week as old text is simultaneously removed, for a rolling total of ten weeks. The views expressed in these observations are largely a matter of opinion and, admittedly, occasionally resort to overstatements and understatements to make a point, and they may sometimes err on the side of both the obvious and the ambiguous. But, more importantly, they also reflect, to the extent possible, a deliberate and sustained effort to avoid preconceived ideas and generalizations, so that they may lead to conclusions rather than be preceded and influenced by them, even if at some risk of ignoring experience, of too easily giving in to first and superficial impressions, and of courting contradictions. Whether this risk was worth taking the readers will judge by themselves.


Sources:

Observations, copyright ©1968, by Igor D. Radovic

The Radovic Rule, or How to Manage the Boss, copyright © 1973, by Igor Radovic

The Aphorist's Corner, copyright ©1997, by Igor D. Radovic

Autumn Leaves, copyright © 2000, by Igor D. Radovic

Thoughts & Afterthoughts, copyright © 2003, by Igor D. Radovic

Random Remarks, copyright © 2004, by Igor D. Radovic

Fragments & Shards, copyright © 2006 by Igor D. Radovic

Notes From a Long Journey Home, copyright © 2011 by Igor D. Radovic

Reflections at Sunset, copyright © 2011 by Igor D. Radovic

Dyspeptic Definitions,
copyright © 2011 by Igor D. Radovic (Amazon paperback and ebook)



Week 774 - UNDERSTANDING & INTERPRETATION

Those who can are more envied by those who understand than the other way around.

To understand, one must be both willing and capable of it.

To achieve, we often depend on others; to understand, we are largely on our own.

Nothing helps one better understand an issue than being affected by it.

To make an intelligent man change his mind can be difficult, but to make a fool understand is often impossible.

We all claim we want to be understood, and are on occasion fortunate when we are not.

The problem with understanding is often less in the explanation than in the comprehension.

It takes more than understanding to solve most problems.

Though we may not always be aware of it, many things we would rather not understand than understand.

Those who understand are as smart as we are, and often smarter. And those who do not are not necessarily dumb.

Participants get the experience, but the understanding often goes to the spectators.

Thinkers find satisfaction in understanding, but not necessarily more than consumers in consuming.

At the boundaries of human understanding there are only questions, and no answers.

Opinions can be disputed, but, with interpretation, so can be facts.

No statement is clear enough to be safe from interpretation.

The conflict is often less between right and wrong than between the interpretations of right and wrong


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Week 775 - UNDERSTANDING & MISUNDERSTANDING

Many more people are informed than understand.

Without understanding, to learn more is to be more confused.

But for ifs and buts, understanding and learning would be much easier.

To be understood and to be better off for it often do not coincide.

It is a close call, but it is better not to be understood than to be misunderstood.

What someone is and does is often best understood not by him, but by someone else.

Learning makes an educated person; understanding, a wise one.

Learning takes time; understanding even more so.

To put oneself into another man’s shoes is less a matter of ability than of willingness to do it.

It is often easier to overcome hostility and suspicion than incomprehension.

The best example of not seeing the forest for the trees is the individual and his own circumstances: he knows all the details, but is too close to them to see the whole and make sense of it.

The less people understand something, the more they are sometimes ready to accept it.

Misunderstanding is the reason for many disagreements, but so is understanding.

Usually associated with forgiveness, understanding is sometimes the reason for the absence of it.

Many more things are known than understood.

Understanding solves many problems, but creates not a few of them as well.

On occasion, a problem is solved by a tacitly agreed on misunderstanding.

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Week 776 - THOUGHT

     Reflection is a good habit, easily lost to keeping busy.

Both inspiration and implementation are likely to suffer without reflection between them.

Not grabbed by the horns and promptly wrestled to the ground, many an excellent idea turns tail and is gone never to return.

An idea is not necessarily assured the support of those who approve of it, but it can count on the support of those who stand to profit from it.

Thought should not be allowed to wander aimlessly, but neither should it be kept on a short leash.

The busier one is, the more food for thought, and the less opportunity for it.

Emotions are difficult to control, but not nearly as much as thought.

Thinking is what makes a thinker, not knowledge and intelligence.

With emotions not in check, thinking is also difficult to control.

For an original thinker, every day is a treasure hunt.

Ideas, like merchandise, sell best not where they are needed, but where there is a demand for them.

Some ideas deserve attention for what they are, some for how well they have been expressed, but to be memorable they must be both.

Quick thinking is for emergency skimming of the surface of an issue, not for probing its depth.

One must do things to be considered busy; reflection seldom qualifies.

Some thoughts are owed to feelings, and some feelings to thought.

There is no better way to be lost than to be lost in thought.

Those who believe that freedom of expression and freedom of thought are the same are soon disappointed.

Much too often thoughts follow words and actions instead of preceding them.


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Week 777  - REASONING, CONCENTRATION, & CONTRADICTIONS

To offer reason to the aggrieved often only adds insult to their pain.

Man’s reasoning is less likely to affect his inclinations than his inclinations his reasoning.

Much time is wasted trying to find a rational explanations for the behavior of irrational people.

Too much self-analysis often turns up more fantasy than fact.

A wrong diagnosis is bad enough, but a good one that comes too late is worse.

Instinct knows what reason has yet to deduce.

He who ignores the irrational dismisses the better part of what there is to know.

A pattern is not a method, but a method follows a pattern.

A method is soon drained of inspiration.

In large measure, the capacity for concentration is the power to resist distraction.

Some are easily distracted; some are just not able to concentrate, distracted or not.

The more concentration, the less peripheral vision.

Strange as this may be, some people are full of contradictions, and yet oblivious of and unaffected by it.

It is often more difficult to live with people full of contradictions than it is for them to live with themselves.

It is only in human logic that contradictions must be either mistakes or deceptions.



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Week 778 - LOGIC & ASSUMPTIONS

Logic is the disguise of many a lie.

Reason is as overrated as a source of as logic is as an explanation for happiness and misery.

The logic of success is seldom questioned.

In retrospect, much logic routinely turns out to have been no more than rationalization.

Logic is a versatile tool and, if need be, can often lead in opposite directions.

It is easy to assume - and to be wrong - that those who possess the same facts as we do, but reach conclusions different from ours, are either biased or do not understand.

It is not only what we know and assume about others that influences our attitude toward them, but also what we assume they know and assume about us.

Much too often, we only assume when we should be certain, and are certain when we should only assume.

However well we may know others, we assume even more about them.

More assumptions are made in love, not to speak of infatuation, than in friendship, and more of them prove wrong.

Assuming that others are very much like we are, or very different from us, are both wrong and common assumptions.

Beacons when right, assumptions are blindfolds when wrong.

Many assumptions do double duty as pretexts and excuses.

Feelings, even more than conclusions, decisions, and actions, can also be influenced by assumptions.

When people judge us it is sometimes for a different and better reason than we assume.

Doubts may come alone, but they soon acquire a retinue of assumptions.

Nothing is easier for those who have been impressed and inspired to assume – and be wrong – that others can be as impressed and inspired as they are.

Intentions make many assumptions but, more often than not, biased one as well.


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Week 779 - JUDGMENT, PART 2

Never to question one’s own judgment is evidence of poor judgment.

To try to convince others to do something they are not capable of is more a failure of one’s own judgment than of their ability.

We know a good deal about ourselves, and little or nothing about a stranger, and yet we find it as easy to judge him as we find it difficult to judge ourselves.

The better the judgment, the less one is dependent on experience and learning.

Even the best judgment can use a lucky guess.

As a rule, the right to judge others is less earned than taken or given.

Every man is made of many parts but, at any given juncture, it is only the part of him which is in play that matters and that he is judged by.

A good judge of human character knows how wrong he could be.

Ironically, it is those most capable of perceiving a problem that are also apt to let it most affect their emotions and cloud their judgment.

To judge by the motive is the way of the moralist; to judge by the results, of the opportunist.

We don’t depend on our judgment to fall in love with someone, which is on occasion a good thing.

Even the most discerning and observant can become witless and blind when their judgment yields to their beliefs.

When we misjudge others, chances are we’ll blame them for it rather than ourselves.

Judgment’s path is strewn with obstacles, none greater than one’s own likes and dislikes.

Judgment’s path is strewn with obstacles, none greater than one’s own likes and dislikes.

A flaw on its own, poor judgment is a menace when combined with initiative.

Neither looking down on people nor looking up to them is the best way to take the right measure of them.


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Week 780 - TIME, PART 6

A great deal of time is wasted on unimportant things, and even more on important ones.

Places can be revisited, but not times past: The passage of time is a journey of no return.

Time wasted today is bad enough by itself, but its stealing time from tomorrow makes it worse.

For a “man of action” time to think and nothing to do is a waste of time.

There is no way to organize and save time when there is nothing to do.

The clock is running for the living. There is neither clock nor time for the dead.

It takes time and effort to fine-tune something to its optimum. It takes no time and effort at all for it to hit the skids.

Time can only be used, for better or for worse. It cannot be saved for later.

We can buy the time of others; we cannot add it to our own.

No one is satisfied with time - it is either too slow or too fast, and there is either too little or too much of it.

Time cannot be managed, but only adjusted to and taken advantage of or not.

We all have time. The difference is in how we use it.

For those bereft of good judgment, time is best spent on what cannot be avoided.

There is no time enough to focus on all real threats and dangers, much less on imaginary ones.

Odd as this may sound, some time wasted is time well used.


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Week 781 - TIME, PART 7
  

It often takes a lifetime to reach an obvious conclusion.

The right time is as difficult to predict as it is easy to recognize when past.

Much time is wasted by always being on time.

Time is not only what connects today to yesterday and tomorrow; it is also what protects it from them.

Time being short or being late is on many occasions the worst reason to hurry.

A deadline gets many things done, and many not done well.

A self-imposed deadline is an objective; a deadline imposed by someone else is an ultimatum.

The shorter the time to the deadline, the longer it feels.

The time to jump ship is while the shore is still in sight.

Good timing is like good luck: One should take advantage of it, but not depend on it.

Waiting for the right time always makes sense, provided one knows what the right time is and there is time enough.

Many delays are but disguised and stretched out rejections and refusals.

Delays are meant to prevent decisions, but are often forcing them instead.

Without objective, speed only gets one faster to nowhere.

There are happy endings in life, but life’s end is not one of them.



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Week 782 - TIME, PART 8

It is not today but tomorrow that decides whether time was well used or not.

It takes time to use the time well.

Always assessing the worth of time in money is often both putting a low value on it and measuring it in the wrong currency.

Timeless endures, topical sells.

Many things are recognized as important and relevant or as the opposite as they occur, but many more only in retrospect and often too late.

Deadlines are better at wrapping things up than at resolving problems.

No amount of money can buy time lost.

To hurry is as easily time wasted as time well used.

Much time is spent and wasted wondering whether it is worth doing some things that either must or cannot be done.

Sloth and indecision waste time, but timidity and fear are worse culprits by far.

More often than not, free time is the time most wasted and most expensive.

Finding free time is a problem; using it well is a bigger one.

Time is generally better spent trying to understand than trying to convince someone.

Without objective, speed only gets one faster to nowhere.

In youth, the passage of time means greeting another day; in old age, saying good-bye to it.

There are happy endings in life, but life’s end is not one of them.


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Week 783 - TRUST & DISTRUST

It is those we trust and care for that lead us astray, not those we don’t.

A rascal who doesn’t trust anyone knows himself only too well and others not well enough.

Lucky are those who learn to be trusting from experience.

In large measure, we are at the mercy of those we trust.

There are risks in both trust and distrust.

Being too trusting is foolish, too suspicious counterproductive, and striking the right balance between the two is next to impossible.

We want to trust those we love, but love is not always a justification for trust.

Many more are born than learn to be trusting.

In his own eyes, a distrustful man is only cautious and prudent.

Those who do not trust anyone can seldom be entirely trusted themselves.

Being trusted can create as many problems as being distrusted.

The more suspicion, the more suspects.

What is dangerous only some of the time is usually suspect all of the time.

On balance, it is better to know than to suspect.

Many suspects are only different.

Week 782

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Biographical Note

Igor Radovic was born in former Yugoslavia and received his early education in France and Yugoslavia. He spent World War II under Nazi occupation, followed by several years under the Titoist communist regime in Yugoslavia, where he studied Law and Civil Engineering. He escaped from behind the Iron Curtain in 1951, and worked in Western Europe and South Africa before coming to the United States and completing doctoral studies in Industrial Engineering and Management at Columbia University in New York City. In 1965 he joined the United Nations and served in a number of capacities relating in the main to economic development and cooperation and involving a variety of regions and assignments. During this period he also taught at Columbia a graduate course on problems of industrialization in less developed countries. He retired from the U.N. as Director of the Department for Special Political Questions, Regional Cooperation, Decolonization and Trusteeship. Dr. Radovic resides on the West Coast, and divides his time between the U.S., Canada and, occasionally, Australia. He is currently working on a new manuscript.



http://home.earthlink.net/~iradovic/aphorist.htm