Essay: Proverbs or Aphorisms?

There are two classes of people in the world, observed Robert Benchley, "those who constantly divide the people of the world into two classes, and those who do not."

Half of those who divide quote Benchley and his fellow aphorists. The other half prefer proverbs. And why not? The aphorism is a personal observation inflated into a universal truth, a private posing as a general. A proverb is anonymous human history compressed to the size of a seed. "Whom the gods love die young" implies a greater tragedy than anything from Euripides: old people...

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