Thursday, February 9, 2012

Number Fifty-Eight

Man lügt möglichst wenig, nur wenn man möglichst wenig lügt, nicht wenn man möglichst wenig Gelegenheit dazu hat.

One tells as few lies as possible only by telling as few lies as possible, and not by having the least possible opportunity to do so. [Kaiser/Wilkins]

The way to tell fewest lies is to tell fewest lies, not to give oneself the fewest opportunities of telling lies. [Hofmann]


Both translations mark this aphorism cancelled. It seems entirely straightforward, which might have made it too one-sided to be worthwhile. I wonder if telling lies is equivalent to cheating in the preceding aphorisms. If so, then the idea of avoiding or burning out evil would be a matter of giving oneself fewest opportunities, rather than simply not telling lies.

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