An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





Obscurity brings safety.


Aesop (620-560 BC, Greek fabulist)


The street to obscurity is paved with athletes who can perform great feats before friendly crowds.


George Allen (1952-, American football coach)


The obscure only exists that it may cease to exist. In it lies the opportunity of all victory and all progress. Whether it call itself fatality, death, night, or matter, it is the pedestal of life, of light, of liberty and the spirit. For it represents resistance -- that is to say, the fulcrum of all activity, the occasion for its development and its triumph.


Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881, Swiss philosopher, poet, critic)


What is grand is necessarily obscure to weak men. That which can be made explicit to the idiot is not worth my care.


William Blake (1757-1827, British poet, painter)


The growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistorical acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.


George Eliot (1819-1880, British novelist)


Everybody is so talented nowadays that the only people I care to honor as deserving real distinction are those who remain in obscurity.


Thomas Hardy (1840-1928, British novelist, poet)


More significant than the fact that poets write abstrusely, painters paint abstractly, and composers compose unintelligible music is that people should admire what they cannot understand; indeed, admire that which has no meaning or principle.


Eric Hoffer (1902-1983, American author, philosopher)


Obscurantism is the academic theorist's revenge on society for having consigned him or her to relative obscurity -- a way of proclaiming one's superiority in the face of one's diminished influence.


David Lehman (1948-, American poet, editor, critic)


The great work must inevitably be obscure, except to the very few, to those who like the author himself are initiated into the mysteries. Communication then is secondary: it is perpetuation which is important. For this only one good reader is necessary.


Henry Miller (1891-1980, American author)


Be wary of passing the judgment: obscure. To find something obscure poses no difficulty: elephants and poodles find many things obscure.


Georg C. Lichtenberg (1742-1799, German physicist, satirist)


Darkness is to space what silence is to sound; i.e., the interval.


Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980, Canadian communications theorist)


The mind's passion is all for singling out. Obscurity has another tale to tell.


Adrienne Rich (1929-, American poet)


Obscurity and competence: That is the life that is worth living.


Mark Twain (1835-1910, American humorist, writer)


Where misunderstanding serves others as an advantage, one is helpless to make oneself understood.


Lionel Trilling (1905-1975, American critic)


Obscurity is the realm of error.


Marquis De Vauvenargues (1715-1747, French moralist)


It is better to be looked over than overlooked.


Mae West (1892-1980, American actress)


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