Asher's Maxims

Asherisms: For Asher, maxims are a way of storing his voluminous thinking on any given subject via easy-access file labels in the soul. He's been writing them since 1992, when he read Kahlil Gibran's aphorisms in Sand and Foam, and he was spurred on a bit by Oscar Wilde. Some of his maxims are personal, and some are about the world, life, the universe, writing, love, pain, monsters, and nearly anything else he encounters. Some are things that go into making characters and stories and should be considered merely speculative and not taken too seriously.

Asher's Maxim 725

A vote does not confer immunity for a crime.

Asher's Maxim 724

Never ague with someone who can’t distinguish a question of fact from a matter of opinion.

Asher's Maxim 723

Socialism is the Scientology of politics.

Asher's Maxim 722

The tyrannies of children are simply more transparent than those of their elders.

Asher's Maxim 721

The post-civilized will eventually ruin anything.

Asher's Maxim 720

Kids create tyrannies – if not around appearance, then around thought.

Asher's Maxim 719

Revenge is best served in advance.

Asher's Maxim 718

No one can tell you who you are, but no one should try to figure out who they are without a friend.

Asher's Maxim 717

Projects get done by relentless consistency—by making small increments non-negotiable, and seizing quantum opportunities when available.

Asher's Maxim 716

I used to think the most valuable thing I have is my freedom; but more valuable than that is knowing who I am.

Asher's Maxim 715

Vice is when we try to fill a need illicitly, because it’s not getting filled otherwise.

Asher's Maxim 714

It’s inconsistent for people to want all the wrath and rage of the Old Testament but not all the rules.

Asher's Maxim 713

I don’t approve of revenge, so when I engage in it, I’m proactive about it.

Asher's Maxim 712

Being happy and being content are different things; I’m much happier not deciding I’m finished already.

Asher's Maxim 711

To win a game you hate, you have to create your own rules and define winning as your own enjoyment.

Asher's Maxim 710

If you want to actually enjoy yourself at a cocktail party, give everyone permission to let their guard down.

Asher's Maxim 709

The cliquish person is the least comfortable and most out of place of everyone in the room.

Asher's Maxim 709

Social situations are a process of uncovering what another person really geeks out about.

Asher's Maxim 708

When there’s posturing, bluster, and one-upsmanship at a social gathering, just bring up art.

Asher's Maxim 707

An art studio is made of time.

Asher's Maxim 706

Saying “like” in every other sentence is contrary to New York values. New York is direct, not circuitous; it doesn’t pad things.

Asher's Maxim 705

The sin in my generosity to the poor is that I’m buying an avoidance; I’m paying the fear that an anguished person will want to be my friend.

Asher's Maxim 704

I don’t judge myself by what little I give but by the generosity I withhold.

Asher's Maxim 703

The problem with average people of high intelligence is feeling they have more license to blend bias and conjecture with reason.

Asher's Maxim 702

The problem with evolution is evolutionists; they share too many cultural assumptions with their opponents.

Asher's Maxim 701

I’d rather a thoughtful creationist than a knee-jerk evolutionist.

Asher's Maxim 700

Every criticism one can level against the average person is summed up by shitty music.

Asher's Maxim 699

Contradictions are not a sin; they’re evidence of experimentation.

Asher's Maxim 698

I’m not a workaholic; I merely over-deliver.

Asher's Maxim 697

If it weren’t for intellectual dishonesty, some people would have no intellect at all.

Asher's Maxim 696

Those who do well on standardized tests are more likely to follow directions because, in order to do well on standardized tests, you have to follow directions.

Asher's Maxim 695

I don’t imply things; I say them.

Asher's Maxim 694

I’ve no animosity toward any gender, race, class, or sexual orientation, but I find all caricatures offensively tedious.

Asher's Maxim 693

The belief that everyone deserves an opinion on everything destroys the prerequisite distinction between matters of opinion and questions of fact.

Asher's Maxim 692

For most men, God is the terror of the ego engulfed in endless wishing after an artificial world.

Asher's Maxim 691

A man who tells his girlfriend everything IS the girlfriend.

Asher's Maxim 690

Intrinsic to the ape, notably the human ape, is the capacity to rebel; it is an essential adaptation to a fallen cosmos.

Asher's Maxim 689

I hack everything I wear; if you can’t find the ‘screw you’ to convention in it, it just means my work for the day is subtle.

Asher's Maxim 688

The most important distinction between man and boy is that man has settled on the things about himself that don’t change and is committed to those with the confidence of hard-won self-knowledge.

Asher's Maxim 687

People with no regrets have either lived too little or are too morally insensitive to know what to regret.

Asher's Maxim 686

When the world is the object of focus, things are always as bad as they seem.

Asher's Maxim 685

The extortion of our industry, stripping of our liberties, and despoiling of our neighbors, are each predicated on the collusive evangelism of those who say it’s not nearly as bad as it seems.

Asher's Maxim 684

I’m not intentionally larger than myself. I think I just actually am the larger self.

Asher's Maxim 683

Being a writer is the opposite of being passionate for words; a writer murders and eviscerates his drafts, casting phrases into oblivion regardless of their beauty.

Asher's Maxim 682

Honing our survival skills conditions us to live in the worst possible circumstances; we need to hone the skills it takes to thrive.

Asher's Maxim 681

The acquisition of civilization makes me both a traditional conservative and traditional liberal, rather than the left or right wing product of a post-civilized milieu.

Asher's Maxim 680

Pages are bricks, and a manuscript is built one brick at a time.

Asher's Maxim 679

Current events are an essential fuel for fiction.

Asher's Maxim 678

The worst thing to do with an unfinished draft is re-read it.

Asher's Maxim 677

When you set to writing long form, you see how fast you are galloping toward death.

Asher's Maxim 676

If you intend to sit down to work on a novel several times a week for many months, you have to love what you’re making.

Asher's Maxim 675

Concealing actual thought has been the sine qua non of my public persona; so, it was more than necessary that my actual one should not.

Asher's Maxim 674

I choose relationships according to what’s innate in me, you choose on what’s innate in you and, if we’ve chosen each other, that’s the basis of our different expectations.

Asher's Maxim 673

The basis of one’s friendships isn’t chosen; it’s determined by innate personality; for me, it’s shared goals.

Asher's Maxim 672

Political belief is just as problematic as religious belief; the former requires things to be as they appear, despite all evidence to the contrary; the latter insists on the reverse.

Asher's Maxim 671

It doesn’t take wit to be an atheist: the sophistication of what fundamentalists believe in and what atheists deny is more or less on par

Asher's Maxim 670

Intellectual honesty is the most elusive quantity in the world.

Asher's Maxim 669

Achievement doesn’t come from a balanced life, but from pushing things off balance.

Asher's Maxim 668

I respect public intellectuals of any stripe over demagogues who merely share my convictions; if you can’t read Russell Kirk and Lewis Mumford and Hannah Arendt and Eugene Debs and respect the integrity of thought in each – if you can only pick sides, you aren’t thinking.

Asher's Maxim 667

The imaginative cannot abide pretense, because pretending about real things leaves one unfree to really imagine.

Asher's Maxim 666

No one else can choose your commitments, because all motivation arises from the activity of personal volition.

Asher's Maxim 665

All commitment starts with one commitment.

Asher's Maxim 664

There are victims of circumstance but, as long as I’m not one, I refuse to allow the sentence “I wanted x but it didn’t happen.”

Asher's Maxim 663

Nice people are indispensable to evil; therefore all resistance comes from anti-social impulses.

Asher's Maxim 662

The first disputation of the individual is with the prison of fate, the second with the restraints of society, and finally we challenge the imagined limitations of the self.

Asher's Maxim 661

A lot of people are very social but anti-communitarian; I’m the opposite.

Asher's Maxim 660

Alcohol has become as much a part of the personal brand identity as car makers and designer clothes. As long as adults are so self-conscious about drinking, kids will adopt early and to excess. It’s not a force of nature, but of culture.

Asher's Maxim 658

A bad knife is sharp for a moment.

Asher's Maxim 657

A good knife dulls on the wrong surface, but a great knife doesn’t care what it cuts.

Asher's Maxim 656

Young girls look dumber when you’re not trying to date them.

Asher's Maxim 655

Women have roughly the number of sexual conquests men wish for, but women downplay them and men brag.

Asher's Maxim 654

If I owned everything, I would own nothing, because owning something has meaning only when facing a possibility of not owning it. Therefore, the system of ownership exists to keep me competing in a game that cannot be won, which requires mediocrity for sustenance.

Asher's Maxim 653

All words and ideas are sacred, in that to punish them is a violation of the sacred. But words and ideas that encourage such punishment, or reject the sacred are, while unpunishable, the use of the sacred to reject the sacred, and so are groundless and nonsense.

Asher's Maxim 652

Contempt for any environment in which I can be reported for what I say, what I think and say, or what someone thinks I think and say. Contempt for those who entertain, encourage, and uphold such an environment, and scorn for those who turn a blind eye.

Asher's Maxim 651

When someone insists on the official explanation for a thing, what I am hearing is “I don’t really want to think about this.” Consequently, at risk of an unreasonable ritual, I don’t really want to have the conversation, either.

Asher's Maxim 650

What most people regard as tolerance, I regard as intolerance, and vice versa. Tolerance is approving of some things and critical of others; intolerance insists on one or the other. To those who approve of everything, I’m deeply intolerant, because I share their opinion only part of the time which, of course, illustrates my point.

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