Henry Oliver’s Epigrams for Adolescents

From his piece in The Critic.

These can apply to any age:

If you lack the ability to write your own epigrams, collect other people’s. What matters is knowing them, not writing them. Be thy own palace, said John Donne, or the world’s thy jail.

Keep a commonplace book or journal of quotes.

We live at one of the greatest periods of history. Only bitch about it as a prelude to doing something to improve the world. What starts as a joke ends up as a way of life. Aim to understand the world, not judge it.

The age we live in is more awesome than appears. Be grateful. Build something. See Gwern’s list of improvements, and Sir Frederick Treves.

Yes, your parents did tell you at age seven that when you grow up you should follow your dreams and be whatever you want to be — and yes, they are now telling you to be a lawyer, consultant, banker, dentist or engineer. It is less impressive than you think that you have spotted this little inconsistency, especially without realising that it was borne from the sheer bloody expense of bringing you up. Anyway, those are good jobs you should be proud to have.

These jobs may not have the prestige of the arts or entertainment, but they are valuable and worthy. Take pride in your “dull” job.

Read the entire piece here.

Henry Oliver, one of the internet’s brightest lights.


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