polished aphorism


By L Campbell Cooper

The process of formulating a thought into some polished aphorism or other is more like fishing or whale watching than art or science. It is not that the thinker takes the marble of his raw impressions and carefully sculpts it with the finesse of the practiced artist, or methodically applies the routine of measurement and analysis of his conjectures, but rather that he is simply patient enough to observe the rolling ocean of the fathomless unconscious, capturing and pleasingly relating those moments when a dolphin leaps out of the water. Rather than a fishing rod with which he catches ideas, however, he uses a kind of conductor that we all share: language. He reveals that the ocean need not appear a dreaded place in which we are constantly at risk of drowning, blank and threatening unto the ends of the horizon, but rather a pleasant refuge in which we are free to swim and rejoice.