Episode 15 Maxims, Aphorisms, Truisms: Distilled Wisdom or Enemy of Thought?

Go on Etsy and you’ll find quotations of all sorts emblazoned on pillows and painted on canvases. Doug and Caren talk through our culture’s fascination with wise or motivational quotations.

What function do they serve? After an epigraph from Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography, we delve into the good and bad. What is the relation of the deep wisdom of the Beatitudes, for example, and a vacuous contemporary slogan? What need in us do these sayings serve?

On the troubling side, are these thought-provoking or a substitute for thought? Do they encourage or thwart dialogue? How might they serve for indoctrination and social control? We end with our Top 10 Quotations.

Show notes:

Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin on Project Gutenberg.

Our featured image is of a coaster with Tolkien’s famous quotation available at Target.

Here are the Google image results for a search of Francis Bacon’s problematic dictum “Knowledge is Power.”

And here is a shot from Caren’s bookshelf:




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