For those interested, here are English translations of more of the aphorisms of Nicols Gomez Davila.
Seeing the leftist totalitarians in control all around you makes you think you’ve done something wrong and are being punished. Discovering these aphorisms makes you think you’ve done something right and are being absolved.
These aphorisms are not surpassed in excellence by those of the great aphorism writers: La BruyÃ¨re, de la Rochefoucauld, Chamfort, Nietzsche. You wonder why a mind like this wasn’t awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature? Gee—could this by Prof. Paul Gottfried have had something to do with his being passed up in favor of … let’s say … Nadine Gordimer, do you think?:
“What is something that Salvatore Quasimodo, Naguib Mahfouz, Wole Soyinka, and last week Elfriede Jelinek all received—but which eluded Leo Tolstoy, James Joyce, Rainer Maria Rilke, Jorge Luis Borges, and Jean Raspail? The obvious answer: the Nobel Prize for Literature. All too often the Swedish Academy has bestowed the prize on deservedly obscure authors, while neglecting world-class ones. […T]he vast majority of those on whom the prize has been conferred can be easily forgotten without artistic loss. It has also become common in the last few decades to distribute the prize multiculturally […]. Another litmus test intermittently applied means awarding the prize to Western authors who defy their societies by joining the Communist Party. This may have been a consideration in awarding the prize to Pablo Neruda, Quasimodo—and now the Austrian novelist Elfriede Jelinek, who joined the KPO, the Communist Party of Austria, in 1974 and then ran around for years as a pro-Soviet ‘peace activist.’ There is not much in Jelinekâ€™s scant literary output—three undistinguished novels, the last The Piano Teacher (in English translation) showcasing feminist issues—which can justify the Nobel Prize.”
Nah!… Impossible! I don’t believe that for one second! We’re dealing with the Nobel Prize Committee here, guys—not some bunch of modernist philistine know-nothing left-leaning smug Swedish morons with neither taste nor brains, ya know!…
“All literature is contemporary to the reader who knows how to read.” (Can also be viewed as a response to the leftist attacks on what is old and ancient: on “Dead White Males” and on laws conceived and passed any longer ago than three decades.)
“Violence is not necessary to destroy a civilization. Each civilization dies from indifference toward the unique values which created it.” (We don’t know why nations and civilizations die any more than we know what causes certain diseases. We need to study why Ancient Rome ended and apply the lessons to ourselves.)
“Modern man destroys more when he builds than when he destroys.” (This applies, of course, not just to architecture.)
“Contemporary political ideologies are false in what they affirm and true in what they deny.” (To know the truth, just take the inverses of liberalism’s affirmations and denials.)
“Ritual is an instrument of the sacred. Every innovation is a profanation.” (And by “innovation” he means things like abandoning the Latin mass and so on. What would he say, had he lived to see it, of making Episcopalian bishops out of divorced openly homosexual men who’d abandoned their wives and kids so they could publicly, brazenly shack up with their homosexual boyfriends?)
“The enemies of myth are not the friends of reality but of triviality.” (Thus the mean, small-minded, trivial-souled abolitionists of Christmas and now of Thanksgiving.)
“The loss of transparency is the first symptom of decline in a language.” (Which is why I prefer King James to modern versions, William Tyndale to King James, and John Wycliffe to William Tyndale. Wycliffe’s inaccuracies are dealt with by holding a Latin Vulgate Bible in one hand and a King James or more modern version in the other as you read. 95% of Wycliffe is accurate and in a powerful, sublime English certainly not excelled and often not even matched by anything that came after. Also: as Tyndale was the basis for King James, Wycliffe was the basis for Tyndale.)
“The modernist thirst for originality makes the mediocre artist believe that the secret of originality consists simply in being different.” (The other modernist thirst is for “creativity.” Can anyone imagine Vincent van Gogh, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, or da Vinci prating about “creativity”?)
“For the progressive modernist, nostalgia is the supreme heresy.” (Thus we saw those Australian professors of architecture—those “experts”—belittling ordinary folk who preferred a bit of tradition and nostalgic sense of heritage in the homes they lived in and buildings they saw around them. One even called them mentally ill.)
“If a tree falls and an expert doesn’t hear it, is there a sound?” Yes, the sweetest, most melodious sound in all creation: the sound of entropy being brought clanking, screeching, grinding to a halt.
Marvelous stuff! I’ll add my own aphorism: “To express the truly profound with concision is the mark of true genius.”
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