Friday, July 14, 2006

just when thought you knew.... evil axioms

I have continually been fascinated by dichotomy - it's everywhere, yet most people, given a choice, will tell you that most things are primarily black and white. Suppose I asked you if the statement, "look before you leap" is a reasonable and applicable axiom and if you might generally apply it to you life. I think concurrence would be wide-spread. Now, suppose I asked the same question about the statement, "he who hesitates is lost". What now? What if I reverse the questions? These "truisms" are not as true as we suppose. In fact, I could argue that each is mutually exclusive of the other and therefore, neither is true. Yes, I can hear you say that it depends on the circumstance. That is precisely the point. What good is any axiom if it isn'’t a guide? In my book, they become subject to the whim of the user, perhaps USED to justify an action, or a result. So axioms are, in the end, worthless. The fact that I see "both sides of the paper" at one time drives my wife crazy. It makes it hard to get a firm answer and in fact, I know it to be true. Sometimes I think that I've done it, yes - whoever I'm speaking to understands - they see both sides. Mostly, I think it is fleeting glances and then it is gone. For me it is like understanding the theory of relativity. When I watch a special or read a book, I think, yes I've got it; I understand. Yet, in five minutes it is all gone again and I feel like a thick-headed moron standing around with his britches full. It is a nightmare to communicate, but it is a great way to approach any decision. For work, the partners in the company recently took management tests and I scored strongly in the big picture/little picture - both sides of the coin thinking. I just can't help it. It doesn't cripple me when decision making; it is terrific, but it is damn hard to communicate all the back and forth to more concrete thinkers. Because of this personal little wrinkle, I am interested in and I have collected axioms similar to the one given above for several years now. Some I ran across, some I brought together, and some are pretty obvious. This compendium will screw you up forever -– here it is!

  • Look before you leap; but, he who hesitates is lost.
  • Never judge a book by its cover; but clothes make the man.
  • The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder; but familiarity breeds contempt, and out of sight, out of mind.
  • If at first you don't succeed, try, try again; when the going gets tough, the tough get going; and where there's a will, there's a way, but don't beat your head against a wall.
  • Two heads are better than one, but paddle your own canoe.
  • It's better to be safe than sorry, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
  • Many hands make light work; but too many cooks spoil the broth.
  • The bigger, the better, but the best things come in small packages.
  • What will be, will be, but life is what you make it.
  • With age comes wisdom, but out of the mouths of babes come all wise sayings.
  • The more, the merrier, but two's company, three's a crowd.
  • Opportunity knocks but once; but when one door shuts, another opens.
  • A word to the wise is sufficient; but talk is cheap.
  • A man's reach should exceed his grasp; but don't bite off more than you can chew.
  • You are never too old to learn; but you can't teach an old dog new tricks.
  • Birds of a feather flock together; but opposites attract.
  • When in Rome, do as the Romans do, and if you can't beat them, join them; but to thine own self be true. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth, but beware of Greeks bearing gifts.
  • A penny saved is a penny earned; but penny-wise, pound-foolish, and if you buy cheaply, you pay dearly.
  • Haste makes waste, but time waits for no man.
  • Fools rush in where angels fear to tread; but seize the day, and strike while the iron is hot.
  • If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well; but half a loaf is better than none.
  • Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and there's no time like the present; but don't cross the bridge until you come to it.
  • Actions speak louder than words, but the pen is mightier than the sword.
  • Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know; but variety is the spice of life.
  • The best things in life are free, but no pain, no gain.
  • Nothing ventured, nothing gained; but, it's better to be safe than sorry.
  • A word to the wise is sufficient, but talk is cheap.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:55 AM

    First off, I think you should write forture cookies. Those are great and you could drive the costomers absolutely nuts!
    Secondly, if anyone truely follows these axioms they are fools. As you said, they are general guidelines, but are totally situational. The key is knowing what situation to use them in.
    I happen to agree with you about your ability to see both sides (the big picture and the little). I am pretty good at that too. Adventure racing is a good environment to show that. During a race, racers are constantly running into volenteers and spectators. They inveriabily want to know how far to the next check point or how long it will take to get there. The answer the racer gets is always wrong. How wrong will very, but no one gives an acurate answer. It shows the person's power of estimation. Most people are amaizingly bad at it. You however, are perhaps the most accurate person I know. Your estimation on the mountaineering section of PQ was wrong, but only because the trail marked on the map did not exist in reality. We spent an extra 8-hours searching in the dark for it. Your estimation on the final bike leg was right. That 7 mile climb would have killed me (and almost did anyhow) with out your warning. And the ropes section was much closer to your estimate of 24-hours rather than 4-hours or 8-hours we heard from other people.
    By the way, Einstein's theory of reletivity is easy to understand. It says that nothing is absolute and everything including time and the speed of light, are reletive to your location, speed and direction of travel. Read "The Physics of Star Trek" by Lawrence M. Krauss to understand Einstein's theories.


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