I first blogged about Beston Jack Abrams back in 2007 and had the pleasure and honor of meeting him in person around that time in Philadelphia. Mr. Abrams is a 90-something former pharmaceutical executive who indulges his aphoristic gifts to the full in Abramisms: Lives of the Ancient Aphorist, Volumes I and II. “There is a Jewish tradition called ‘Tikkun Olum’, a concept that each of us is obliged to contribute to alleviating as best we can the difficulties of our world,” Mr. Abrams writes. “These short expressions, I hope, deserve to be called ‘aphorisms’ … and will serve in a small way to discharge my obligation. As an aid to your reading, let me share with you some of my beliefs: We should elevate asking sincere questions and focused listening to a higher level; silence is a vastly underused information aid; solitude [especially in the age of the ‘twitter’], is not an affliction but an emotional and intellectual oasis; how we respond to the approach of a strange person or idea measures our courage and capacity to grow, and better information can be acquired by the freer use of doubt and curiosity.” Abramisms: Lives of the Ancient Aphorist contains remarkably wise and funny sayings by an “ancient aphorist” who is still very much in the prime of life. Here are a few…
The ear is a better communicator than the tongue.
If you feel oﬀended you are ready to write an aphorism.
Happiness thrives on a diet of reduced expectations.
To change is difficult; to admit its necessity is more so.
A well conceived conclusion may also be an introduction.
Maturity arrives when we do not feel diminished by what we do not know.
Certainty is a claim not a condition.
The Judaic and commonly ignored remedy for violence is to realize that the hand that holds a book cannot hold a gun.
To walk through the valley of introspection requires courage, to report the results requires even more courage.
At this point I am less concerned about the future simply because there is less of it; and as for death, as with any adversary, fear is reduced as proximity increases.
If we allow ourselves to become inattentive, we will soon be insignificant.
To be a success first show up, pay attention and then show up again.
There is no alchemy that changes opinions into facts; the search continues for an alchemy that allows facts to alter opinions.
The past should be valued as a source of light rather than a place of residence.