Paul's Aphorisms

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This page reveals some bits of wisdom that I, Wikidelphia editor Paul, think I have either figured out myself or derived well. In no particular order:

  • Whose experts?
In recent years, I have become intensely skeptical of "the experts". This skepticism also harks back decades to academic training I received in logic. When you try to persuade me by telling me that "the experts" say this or that, you are committing a logical fallacy called "appeal to authority". You have no case to make, so you resort to "experts" or "the scientific consensus". Lately, I've learned that scientists are just as corruptible as politicians. The Scientific Method is wonderful, but it's often sidelined by funding (money), academic prestige (power), political bias, or personal agendas. When you hear "the experts", ask yourself, Who's paying them? What product, service, ideology, or beliefs are they trying to sell you? Who gains?
  • I am what I am, and that's all.
There is a lot to unpack in this short sentence.
  • Labeling oneself is not conducive to maximum happiness, and so I reject "identity". Labels are useful conveniences for certain kinds of discussion, but when I speak carefully, I don't use them.
  • Speaking loosely, I'll say, "I'm staff editor for Wikidelphia", but when I speak carefully, I'll say, "I help maintain Wikidelphia". See? I dump the "to be" and replace it with an active verb.
  • I never say, "____ is part of who I am".
  • I'll never add a "Who We Are" page to any website I build.
  • I refuse to make an "identity" out of my sexual preferences, so I may say, "I have desires for ____," or, "I get hot for ____," but I won't say, "I'm a _____sexual (or an equivalent word)". After all, how much of my time is actually devoted to sexuality? Answer: a small percentage. My life consists of much more than that.
  • Maybe I'd like to say, "I'm a Christian," because I go to church and keep a habit of personal devotions. But a cautious interpretation of the Bible makes me shy away from identity assertions until I start setting an excellent example of a believer's behavior.
  • I've never had an identity crisis, whatever that is. I've never anxiously asked myself, "Who am I?" or felt a need to "go find myself".
  • Some people are more valuable than others, but it's not about "who you are". It's about what you do. If you want high self-esteem, forget the "I am" affirmations and start enhancing your personal value by doing virtuous things. Do good to feel good.
  • Speaking loosely in a political discussion, I might refer to "communists" or some other strong term. I don't shy away or back down. But I won't say, "You are ____," in a one-on-one debate; if the person does that to me, I cut off the conversation. When I use political labels on opposing groups, it's never with the idea that the persons individually are that. It is meant to refer to their ideas, their positions, and the political things they do.
  • I can't overstate how much I hate identity politics. I abhor Critical Race Theory, which is itself now installing a new systemic racism. Both of these belief systems call for and intensify many of the bad uses of labeling. It's regressive, not progressive, to stick people into identity boxes. It's the very definition of divisiveness, separating people into politically charged categories and reducing us to a balkanized patchwork of competing or warring tribes.
  • You could call me a conservative, even a social conservative. But I myself would only go so far as to say, "Most of my positions come from the conservative side, probably, but I have a few liberal ones, too, I think."
  • Imagine how much more peaceful the country and the world would be if everybody followed my approach on labels. It would bring some inner peace to individuals as well. Nurture peace!
  • He who seeks justice but wreaks vengeance voids his claim.
"Vengeance is Mine. I will repay, says the Lord." If you punish the offender yourself, that's all you get. You deserve no help from any higher authority. Protest organizers who allow vandalism and violence are entitled to have their message completely ignored. They need forcible suppression, not encouragement, and they certainly should not be given even a little of what they want. If you reward vandalism, arson, and violence, what do you get? More vandalism, arson, and violence!
  • Fear is good until you've done everything you can, for now, about the scary situation.
My wife had a cancer scare a few years ago. To keep from freaking out, I asked what can we do? Keep all the appointments, comply with all orders and advice, etc, and then when the day's list was all checked, we had less difficulty putting the situation out of our minds until the time came to do something more.
   At my day job in 2020, a week or so before the stay-home order, I allowed fear to drive me toward making the place a bio-secure facility, so to speak. From that time forward, I ensured the safety of my customers by executing a detailed infection control regimen routinely and courteously. No longer fearful, I became delighted that I was still working and with no hours cut. "Money, money, happy, happy!"
  • You can always put more clothes on, but you can only take so many off.
Thus, I have always liked winter better than summer.
  • Put it where you'll probably look for it.
Sometimes this tip comes in handy in deciding where to put something down. Ask, "If I forget where this is, where will I probably look for it first?"
  • Age is not an excuse.
Your age does not excuse you from doing anything. "I'm too old for this," is never true. Something more specific, however, may be true, e.g., "My body is too out of shape for me to do this today." Old age by itself is neither a disability nor a disadvantage.
  • Where there's God's will, there's a way.
For about a decade, after first taking to the airwaves in response to what I believed was a call from God, I produced a radio series about poverty. When the show hit hard times, I said to myself, "Where there's God's will, there's a way", and then I just kept on trying to find whatever that way was. It worked every time. People say, "Where there's a will, there's a way", but circumstances can defeat an individual's self-willed efforts.
  • The Sexual Revolution is a gushing fountain of social problems.
When I entered adulthood, I decided to make a pro-and-con list about non-marital sex, i.e. fornication. Wanting the truth and to think logically, I was very willing to list items on both sides. When I was done, the Con list had grown way longer than the Pro list. Now that I've had a few decades for further observations and the acquisition of wisdom, I conclude that, like Esau, people have given up much in exchange for little. The rich buy their way out of many of sexual immorality's consequences, while the lower classes suffer them. Billions upon billions of taxpayers', charity donors', and insurance ratepayers' dollars are occupied trying to fix problems perpetuated by the ongoing abandonment of self-control. When the Creator gave us rules about sex, He wasn't being "puritanical" and spoiling our fun. Rather, He was setting us up to flourish and prosper.
  • A problem well defined is half solved.
In a college course I learned that systems analysis included an extensive initial phase of investigation. The idea was to go into great detail to define the problem accurately and completely. Only then, when the problem is fully defined, do we proceed to think about design and development. That's when the problem is made ready to solve.