By Henry Alford
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Additional info for How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People (While They Are Still on This Earth)
Quickly, hipsters like Jonathan Demme and Matt Groening and Michael Stipe have been subscribing to Greenberger’s zine. Greenberger went directly to comprise his fees’ insights and witticisms into different media, together with a documentary, a ebook, and lectures. I interviewed him in 1993, and he’d stated of his matters, “I’m attempting to recast them as participants. ” Upon considering either the “Wolf and the Crane” findings and the pajamas-in-a-bar findings, i noticed that aphorisms have been the easiest automobile for the type of larger considering that Labouvie-Vief and Greenberger had unearthed. After I’d written my thumbnail background of knowledge, my curiosity in those little nuggets of philosophy had persevered to develop, major me to a publication referred to as the area in a word: a short heritage of the Aphorism by means of James Geary. Geary writes that “aphorisms needs to paintings fast simply because they're intended to be used in emergencies. We’re such a lot wanting aphorisms every now and then of misery or pleasure, ecstasy or affliction. ” In explaining why pithiness is subsequent to godliness, Geary charges from The Cloud of Unknowing, an nameless fourteenth-century English monk’s non secular handbook: a guy or a lady, without warning apprehensive by means of hearth, or demise, or what you are going to, is all of sudden in his extremity of spirit pushed rapidly and via necessity to cry or pray for support. and the way does he do it? now not, without doubt, with a spate of phrases; no longer even in one observe of 2 syllables! Why? He thinks it wastes an excessive amount of time to claim his pressing want and his agitation. So he bursts out in his terror with one little observe, and that of a unmarried syllable: “Fire! ” it can be, or “Help! ” simply as this little observe stirs and pierces the ears of the hearers extra quick, so too does a bit be aware of 1 syllable, while it's not purely spoken or idea, yet expresses additionally the goal within the intensity of our spirit. definitely, i presumed to myself as i used to be sitting at my table in the future, there are older fogeys out on this planet who harbor a few of this sort of details, be it of the pajama-wearing or the fire-cautioning stripe. without doubt, the realm is filled with “elderisms. ” wanting to discover, I wrote a two-hundred-word description of what i used to be trying to find. I defined that i used to be looking for “short, philosophical, and probably humorous innovations approximately existence” from humans seventy and older. I provided examples of 2 serious-minded sayings (“The top therapy for disappointment is to profit whatever” and “There isn't any later. Later is now”) and funny ones (“A bag of various bagels with one garlic bagel in it's a bag of garlic bagels” and “We’re all sisters less than the mink”). I e-mailed the outline to sixty-eight fogeys I’d been at the kingdom cruise with, telling them to be at liberty to ahead it; seven responses trickled in. Eighty-one-year-old Walt Ligon of Pentwater, Michigan, submitted, “Hope is more suitable than experience,” and Virginia Laddey, eighty-five, of Irvine, California, wrote, “Once back i used to be no longer consulted. ” a girl named Alix Dobkin wrote from Woodstock, manhattan, that her deceased father, invoice, had usually opined, “People is animals, and them with feathers is boids,” which i feel we will all believe.