Adages, Aphorisms & Maxims


— gathered by Nathaniel Segal, 2015-17
(in random order)
“Measure twice.  Saw once.”
— a carpenters' saw

If you win, say nothing.
If you lose, say less.
— anonymous

“Once is a mistake.  Twice is a decision.”
— Character: Therapist Suzanne Silver in the TV series Chance
Season 1, Episode 1, “The Summer of Love,” at about 41:00
“There are no victims.  Only volunteers.”
— Character D in the TV series Chance
Season 1, Episode 2, “The Axiom of Choice” at about 4:38
“Be the still point in the turning world.”
— Character D in the TV series Chance
Season 1, Episode 5, “A Still Point in the Turning World” at about 5:50
Produced by Fox21 Television Studios & distributed by — 2016 

If you want to fast —
go alone.
If you want to far —
go together.
— African Proverb

The thing that you take for granted,
is something someone is praying for.
— anonymous

“An injustice against one person is an injustice against all people.”
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“There are no sides . . . there's no Democrats and Republicans.  There's only haves and have-nots.
“It's all gonna be done in any case.  You might as well be on the side that gets you well-paid for your efforts.”
— Character Senator Charles F. Meachum in the feature film Shooter
Produced by Paramount Pictures — 2007 

“The rich and the powerful, they take what they want . . .”
— Character Nathan Ford in the TV series Leverage
Produced by Electric Entertainment — 2008-2012 

“The greater the power, the greater the abuse.”
— Edmund Burke

“Behind every fortune is a crime.”
— Honoré de Balzac

“You people – journalists – think you're saving the world.  You just make it harder to live in.”
— Character: Detective Inspector Alec Harding in the TV series Broadchurch
Produced by Kudos Film and Television — 2013-2015 

“If G-d had meant us to vote,
He would have given us candidates.”
— “more political subversion from Jim Hightower”

All acts performed in the world begin with imagination.*
— anonymous

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”
— Albert Einstein

Today is a gift,
  Yesterday is a wind at your back.
 Tomorrow is a promised hope.
— anonymous

“It is not the days in a life that count.  It is the life in the days that count.”
— Abraham Lincoln *

Tomorrow is today.
— anonymous

“The life of the dead becomes the memory of the living.”
— Cicero

“There is no terror in the bang —
only in the anticipation.”
— Alfred Hitchcock

“We must be the change that we wish to see in the world.”

“We have seen the enemy, and he is us.”
— Pogo
Central character of a long-running, daily American comic strip
named Pogo after its central character
by Walt Kelly (19131973)
nationally distributed by the Post-Hall Syndicate (1949-1975)

Signs of life — growth and creativity.*
— attributed to
His Holiness, Grand Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe

Errors of past are wisdom of future.
— anonymous

Do ya' wanna make G-d laugh?  Tell him your plans.
— anonymous

Man proposes, G-d disposes.*
— anonymous

“To err is human.
To repeat an error is stupid.” *
— Nathaniel Segal

“There are three types of people in this world 
sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs.

“Now, some people prefer to believe that evil doesn't exist in the world.  And if it ever darkened their doorstep, they wouldn't know how to protect themselves.  Those are the sheep.

“And then you got predators.  They use violence to prey on the weak.  They're the wolves.

“And then there are those who've been blessed with the gift of aggression and the overpowering need to protect the flock.  These men are a rare breed that live to confront the wolf.  They are the sheepdog.”

— Wayne Kyle 
Chris Kyle's father 
in the film American Sniper  (4 min, 50 sec)
Produced by Warner Bros. — 2014 

Get involved . . .
The world is run by those who show up.*
— anonymous

“In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
— George Orwell

“The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived, and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.

“Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”

— spoken by President John F. Kennedy
as written by his speechwriters *

“Be tough,
but not hard.”
— based on character Jada Roads's script line
TV Series Major Crimes
"Risk Assessment," Season 2, episode 16
(DVD disc 4)

◦ G-d, grant me the wisdom to know the difference
between what I can change
and what I cannot change.

◦ Then, grant me the courage to change what I can change,

◦ and the serenity to accept what I cannot change.

— based on the conventional Serenity Prayer
which is attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
American theologian
— as revised by Nathaniel Segal

“You've got to know when to hold 'em /
Know when to fold 'em /
Know when to walk away /
And know when to run.
“You never count your money when you're sitting at the table.
“There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.”
— "The Gambler"
Often sung by Kenny Rogers
Songwriter: Don Schlitz
Published by:
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.”
— Winston Churchill
in his first speech to Parliament as British Prime Minister

Genius skips a generation.
— anonymous

“Behavior is the mirror in which we all show our personalities.”
— anonymous

"You can't always get what you want" — Mick Jagger / Keith Richards  Copyright © 1968

In fact, you hardly ever get what you want. – Nathaniel


All acts . . . begin with imagination - Really?  All?  Don't some acts cause imagination?

"When I, Nathaniel, lift up my eyes and see nature's beauty, I thank G-d, the Creator."
I don't know why I lifted up my eyes.  I can't surmise that it began in my imagination.  I can't rule this out, either.

I can say, though, that my praying began after I saw, after I acted.  The first action, lifting my eyes to look, was one act that began from an unknown previous act or state.  The second action, actually seeing, began from looking upward.  Did I really see because of my imagination?  The third action, prayer, began when I had first learned to pray, or when prayer began to be on my tongue – to fluently begin and continue a prayer.

Abraham Lincoln - I do not consider him a great president or even a great man.  See an entry in my blog, American Government: Amendments and the Constitution, "Amendment III"; also "Amendment XIII".

Concerning the states that bordered the South – Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia (which only became a state during the Civil War by breaking away from Virginia), Kentucky, and Missouri – Barney wrote, "It was here [in the Border South] that he [President Lincoln] was most likely to sanction military arrests and the closing down of pro-secessionist newspapers." (William L. Barney. 2001. The Civil War and Reconstruction: A Student Companion. New York: Oxford University Press, page 43)

I've already commented how I believe that President Lincoln was an imperial president and how he violated several tenets of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

“Signs of life — growth and creativity.” - “Growth and creativity are signs of life.” – This seems to me to be an accurate translation from the original Yiddish statement.  I took liberty for the purpose of presentation.

Man proposes, G-d disposes - A similar expression is used in Yiddish: "A mentch tracht un G-tt lacht."  A person thinks (of a plan) and G-d laughs.

To repeat an error is stupid - This is like the saying: "You fooled me once, shame on you.  You fooled me twice, shame on me."  I should have learned.

The world is run by those who show up - This is not especially so.  The world is run by people who have power and money.  Those with power acquire more money.  Those with money acquire more power.

These powerful people have the controlling interest in the world and actually run the world.  However, they let ordinary people manage small corners of the world.  In these corners, those who show up make decisions that others find themselves abiding by.

Sometimes, the powerful and rich are not interested in these corners.  What ordinary people do in these small realms does not diminish power from the elites.  At times, the rich and powerful wish to create an illusion that people who are under their rule have freedom.

Sometimes, the elites have simply overlooked these pockets of freedom.  If they discover that ordinary people have been impinging on power or wealth that the elites covet for themselves, these elites generally maneuver to co-opt the activities of ordinary people.

spoken by President John F. Kennedy - in a June 1962 Yale University Commencement Address  (Mark Shaw. The Poison Patriarch: How the Betrayals of Joseph P. Kennedy Caused the Assassination of JFK. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2013, p. 179).

as written by his speechwriters - Until I'm shown otherwise, I don't believe that Kennedy was much of a thinker.  Also, I'm not convinced that he believed or lived by what he was saying here.  Anyway, he had speechwriters to give him a voice for American citizens – and for the world – to listen to.

I suggest that Theodore "Ted" Sorensen, Kennedy's primary speechwriter (as well as special counsel and adviser), wrote these words.  It is also possible that Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Special Assistant to the President, wrote this speech.