Jack Uldrich
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A Tribute to Mencken

Posted in Quotes

My aunt's beloved cat of 16 years, Mencken, recently pass away. Named in honor of H.L. Mencken, I thought I would do a little research on the famed American journalist to see if I might find some words to help me express my sympathy.Mencken-709983  

I didn't. Before my research I knew little about Mr. Mencken but as Wikipedia describes him he was "an acerbic critic of American life and culture." In other words, he wasn't exactly the "warm and cuddly" type.

Nevertheless, I did find someone who would have appreciated the importance of unlearning. For your reading pleasure, I have posted below some of his more notable quotes which emphasize the importance of unlearning:

"For every problem there is a solution which is simple, clean and wrong."

"Platitude: an idea (a) that is admitted to be true by everyone, and (b) that is not true." 

"Have you ever watched a crab on the shore crawling backward in search of the Atlantic Ocean, and missing? That's the way the mind of man operates." 

"It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man." 

"Let's not burn the universities yet. After all, the damage they do might be worse."

"The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out… without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable." 

"The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear – fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety." 

"The only cure for contempt is counter-contempt."

"A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier."

"Before a man speaks it is always safe to assume that he is a fool. After he speaks, it is seldom necessary to assume it." 

"To die for an idea; it is unquestionably noble. But how much nobler it would be if men died for ideas that were true!" 

"For centuries, theologians have been explaining the unknowable in terms of the-not-worth-knowing." 

"No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby." 

"The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom." 

"Nine times out of ten, in the arts as in life, there is actually no truth to be discovered; there is only error to be exposed."

"We are here and it is now. Further than that, all human knowledge is moonshine." 

"Time stays, we go" ... Rest in peace, Mencken.


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