Monday, Nov. 05, 2012
 
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Compendium of Cynical Wisdom

by Ameer Janmohamed

 
I N T R O D U C T I O N
This web-site is in place of the long anticipated (!) Volume IV of “AKJ Collection of Cynical Wisdom”. Volume I was published in 2004, Volume II in 2006 and Volume III in 2009. Some three thousand printed copies are currently in circulation.The original inspiration was simply to put together a collection of cynical comments. Inevitably I have strayed and also included now are comments which are breath-taking in their arrogance, ignorance, irreverence, inanity or hypocrisy. I sense a kinship in all of these. Some items are there simply because of the picturesque language in which they are couched.
 
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I have chosen a website format this time instead of a printed version in the belief that more people can have access to it, if they want to. Equally a website can be updated from time to time. This will be useful, for new material is constantly being generated.

The idea of a website germinated as a result of requests from overseas friends who finding they had to make a speech, or propose a toast, contacted me. Could I suggest something apt, funny lines or quotes? I simply emailed to them the relevant chapter on the subject from my books. Voila ! I know that audiences in Kenya, Tanzania, India, Dubai, Canada and Australia and of course UK have at times been regaled by excerpts from the same.

The COMPENDIUM OF CYNICAL COMMENTS consists of twenty chapters, each dealing with a different subject. The topics are listed alongside. Individual chapters may be accessed by simply clicking on the subject headings.

Contents have been previously described as ranging from “The absurd to the profound” by one perceptive reader! You can check on comments made by some of you and others on the previous three volumes by clicking on

I re-iterate my apologies to those whose words I have quoted without attribution. I have acknowledged provenance whenever source is known. As one cynic has observed “What is perceived as plagiarism if you use unattributed material written by one person, becomes research when you do it from a lot of people”!
Many quotes are of my own making. I take special delight in taking conventional wisdom, turning it on its head and discovering that the revised version is no less pithy or pertinent. Some examples: Conventional wisdom says, “People who live in glass houses should not throw bricks”. I ask you, what about people who live in brick houses? Shouldn’t they be equally admonished not to throw glasses?
Or for that matter, optimists who tell us that “Every cloud has a silver lining”. The realist might argue that there are no silver linings which are not attached to a cloud ! And the famous one about “The early bird catches the worm”. Is there a case for the worm to start his day a little later?
As usual I ask people to take quotes in this Compendium “cum grano salis”.
(It seems everybody knows what this means, for in the last eight years not one person has asked me to explain). At least one imaginative reader claims to have followed my advice literally – with a slice of lemon and a shot of Tequila!
-ameer janmohamed-

SOME QUOTES SUPPORTING THE IDEA THAT WE MUST NOT TAKE OURSELVES TOO SERIOUSLY ALL THE TIME

“A jest, a laughing word, often decides the highest matters better than sharpness and seriousness” – Horace.
“It is worthier of a man to rise in laughter above life than to bewail it. He is more worthy of the human race, who laughs at it, than who sheds tears over it.” – Seneca.
“A book of quotations is an invaluable aid to the uneducated” – Churchill

 
 
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