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The Art of Aphorism and Nietzsche's Blind Passion

By Zura Shiolashvili


Aphorisms can be seen as an art: making the best connection between existing knowledge so as to reveal some truth through the shortest expression.

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Aphorisms can be seen as an art: making the best connection between existing knowledge so as to reveal some truth through the shortest expression.

Very few philosophers have tried to use this approach in their philosophy, although it was certainly there in the Ancient tradition of the Chinese sages, as well as in the writings of Parmenides and other Ancients. More recently, Nietzsche and Wittgenstein seemed to write almost in aphorisms. Here Zura Shiolashvili sets out to prove the case.

The philosopher, Volume LXXXIX No. 2 Autumn 2001

"Aphorisms are essentially an aristocratic genre of writing" said W.H. Auden,

"the aphorist does not argue or explain, he asserts."

Zura Shiolashvili seems to be one of the few willing to risk taking on this dangerous philosophical form, in his The Art of Aphorism and Nietzsche's Blind Passion.

Glyn Lloyd Hughes

It was Nietzsche who questioned the value of "knowledge for the sake of knowledge."

Each of us looks for what will strengthen us, enable us to grow, and avoids that which it is best that we do not know. Which is exactly what Zura Shiolashvili is doing, all credit to him for that. Dr. Geoffrey Klempner

Some of Zura Shiolashvili's aphorisms are brief and enigmatic, and on many occasions I could do no more than say, "It is exactly so" as when he writes:

To walk the way of truth is more significant than to be born - to pass through this way is more bitter than death (95)

A reptile cannot be got to genuflect - it has no knees (134)

A man is a man only in God (140)

Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia

From the Author

I approached my thirty-ninth year marker realising that I continued to face three choices: to become a beast, to become a slave - or crazy. Of the three, the path of the crazy man seemed the more attractive, and I should confess that I already have certain accomplishments in this respect - and to be in such a country as Georgia is today, I prefer to remain a fool...

Zura Shiolashvili, Essay in The Philosopher, Volume LXXXIX No. 2 Autumn 2001

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