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The Book Of Mahone
Friday, July 14, 2006   By: Mahone Dunbar

Ancient Wisdom In A Contemporary Context (Part One?)

(A compilation of axioms, allegories, metaphors, malapropisms, neologisms, witticisms, half-witticisms, brief illuminations, self-evident truths, blatant untruths, micro-monographs, useful and not-so-useful bits of information, opinions, speculations about quantum physics, and observations about human and feline behavior. )

For some years now Mahone has been secreting his wisdom and revelations on bits of scrap paper, inside paper matchbooks, and in the margins of library books. Recently, for therapeutic reasons - and with the assistance of his live-in nurse, Ms. Buxom - he compiled these into a single source: The Book Of Mahone.  For those of you with absolutely nothing else to read, here are some samples of Mahone's wisdom.

Quality And Equality

Quality is not cumulative.

Commentary: Ten fifty-cent cigars put together will not equal the quality of one good five-dollar cigar - nor will a handful of diamond chips equal the value of a single flawless half-karat diamond. And a truck load of manure is not more desirable than a bag of the same.

Smoking a cheap cigar is like cheating on your wife with an ugly women - it defeats the whole purpose. 

Commentary. Always make reward commensurate with risk.

Only nature can make people equal. And the ill-wisdom of such action is apparent by the fact that she rarely chooses to do so.

Feline Behavior

Cat etiquette: From years of keen observation, I've determined a firm rule of cat etiquette: If a door is opened, and one cat is leaving the house while another is entering at the same time, the cat leaving has the obligation to jump over the cat entering.

Feline-pseudonymia: the uncontrollable impulse to bestow a name on each stray cat one passes.

A hungry cat is a good friend.

Commentary: need is frequently the cement of friendship.


There is nothing you can't stand for fifteen minutes.

Commentary: Things like visits from relatives, or religious proselytizers like Jehovah's Witnesses, or insurance agents, or sitting thorough political ads on TV, or proctology exams - essentially, unpleasant experiences - are tolerable in small doses. So hang in there, nothing lasts forever.

Misery makes all alternatives acceptable.

Commentary: If something is absolutely intolerable for you, then any other option, no matter how reprehensible, becomes a viable alternative. Once you realize that a certain experience is not acceptable, then a world of alternative possibilities opens for you. For example: If you know you will never see a particular Amway salesman again, there is no harm in calling him and saying that you have to cancel your appointment because your family has just been massacred by Middle-Eastern terrorists.


If someone hires a nymphomaniac as a prostitute - then who is really getting screwed?

Writing is the most excellent profession in the world: despite low pay and much rejection, you don't have to go outside on inclement days, and fashion decisions are never a problem.

Memory And Imagination

Nobility is found in the memory of events, not their reality.

Commentary: Memory is not a news video, but an edited, restaged version of things (think about your first sexual experience). Memory is sort of a movie of the week for the mind, with your ego as a very biased director. Everything appears more glorious and meaningful with appropriate background music, Maxfield Parrish lighting, and plenty of slow-motion shots.

Memory and fantasy are close cousins, thus intertwined by blood and nature.

Commentary: Something to never forget. And though the above can be laboriously and meticulously proven, we leave it as a statement that will become self-evident to those who chose to test it. 

The unseen dog always has the longest fangs.

Commentary: The terror unknown, having a firm grip on the imagination, is always worse than the terror known. While terror seen is terror met, terror to be is always greater.

Law vs. Justice 

While you are being attacked by a felon is no time to discuss constitutional law.

Commentary: As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "Detached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an uplifted knife." Few times have logic and justice been fused together with such simplicity. There is a time and a place to deal with abstract and theoretical ideas--but intrusive and unyielding reality should always take priority.

Euphemism is turning our language into an overly sufficient accumulation of bacterially active excretory debris.

Commentary: Self explanatory. Trend prediction? Murderers being referred to as spiritual liberation specialists.

Jews! What can you say about a culture that gave the world Moses, Einstein, and Grocho Marx?

Commentary: There's a lot of diversity within any ethnic group.

Only one theological point is really beyond dispute: our existence amuses the gods.

Commentary: A self evident truth.

There are a thousands reasons why one loses, only one why they win.

Commentary: In life, as in chess, you never beat a healthy man, i.e., everyone has excuses for losing; however, winning is never considered a natural consequence of genetic superiority, but due to the vagaries of fate - at least by the losers.

There is no game that can't be won on replay.

Commentary: Again, chess is our model: If you go back enough moves, cancel mistakes with the luxury of insight experience provides, you can win; but, could have, would have, should have, in actual fact, are meaningless. You still lost, and that can't be undone in this time/space continuum.

Generalities are unifying, details are divisive.

Commentary: Modern science quantifies data, breaks it down and disassembles it. The smaller things get the more they have in common (a principle called symmetry by quantum physicists, who note that the further back in time things go the more they become like each other). Based on such intricate reasoning science can tell us nothing - whether light is a particle or a wave, whether or not distinct races of humans exist, whether intelligence exists, and so forth. The more ignorant (practical) human recognizes that though man and monkey share general traits and an awful lot of DNA, there is discernable difference between the two. While we can forgive scientists for such specious conclusions, egalitarian theorists are not so easily let off the hook; they are apparently comprised of hopeful but unobservant individuals: homogenous populations, the Irish, Hindu and Moslem Indians, for example, as well as Jews and Arabs, do not seem to have recognized their message of unity.

It's only fun being a virgin once. And that's in the losing of it.

Commentary: A philosopher of the occult once said that he slept with faith and woke with a corpse in the morning; and slept with doubt, and found her a virgin in the morning. Basically, metaphorically, philosophic debauchery leads to ever revealing delights.

Misery is equality. Or, Equality is misery.

Commentary: Chairman Mao - who we now know lived the life of a pampered exotic elitist - could have said this. The only way to achieve true equality is to reduce everyone to the same miserable level. While you can't teach every janitor in the world to be a rocket scientist, you can teach almost any rocket scientist to push a broom. (You might have a problem with their daydreaming on the job, though.)

Heresy: What one's opinion is labeled when it conflicts with the opinions of the former heretics who now comprise the status quo.

Commentary: True heresy is difficult to achieve - particularly in regard to the Bible, whose authorship is questionable. A diligent inquiry will reveal that the Bible arrived late on the scene (the final edition didn't hit the bookshelves for over a thousand years after some of the events it depicts) and that it was put together by committees who, in true democratic spirit, left significant parts on the editing-room floor; further, it has proven woefully inadequate both as a guide for human behavior and as an arbiter in conflict resolution. However, the Creator (who was, incidentally, the originator of "instinctual behavior," a method of inducing information directly into biological systems), being omniscient, knew that a more immediate means of clarification would be needed for Adam's progeny; hence, as a backup system, He installed in them a decision-making-matrix called the conscience. Its efficiency is still being studied.

Commentary on the commentary: Heresy is not to be confused with blasphemy, the former meaning that one holds a view that is contrary to established doctrine, and the latter meaning that one is being irreverent or insulting to a particular religious doctrine. I would suggest that real heresy, perhaps even blasphemy, is trying to confine the Creator God of this marvelous space/time continuum to the pages of a book - and to constrain Him with the anthropomorphic qualities of a vain, egocentric tyrant.

A note about the commentary: That rascally Moses has been suggested as the author of the earliest part of the text by many. Others maintain that he was employed merely as a sort of typist/clerk by the Deity; still, given either situation, it is hard to understand the author's choice of literary devices; for example: A typical part of the text might say "And the Lord said to Moses." If Moses wrote the thing as a memoir, it would read "And the Lord said to Me." Or, if the Creator merely dictated it to Moses, it might read in the first person, "And I said to Moses." In either regard, having both narrator and scribe refer to themselves in the third person is devilishly confusing (another clue to authorship, perhaps?). Another serious difficulty in ascribing authorship to an omniscient deity is the fact that it is hard to conceive how an "All Powerful" Deity could forget to include autogenic instruction for his prime product, Mankind, and have to indulge in factory recall to modify the product (as in circumcision) or hastily (a thousand years) have his factory reps assemble an instruction book to inform us how to modify the malfunctioning part.

Nobody is perfect, and I'm here to prove it.

Commentary: A self evident truth - if you know the author.


How to be happy? Want what you have.

Commentary: Make necessity a virtue, as the saying goes.

Childhood, in spite of middle-age romantic/revisionist thinking, is frequently a vast sea of loneliness, speckled with islands of self doubt, covered by clouds of contention, and often visited by storms of introspection.

Gaming Theory And Life

There is no such thing as an idle threat.

Commentary: An unloaded gun can be just as effective as a loaded one. It's a threat you can't afford not to call. Threats have to be responded to, as in chess, even if they are obvious - and therein lies their power.

The easiest game to win is a simple one.

Commentary: In chess even the most complicated game usually reduces to a simple king and pawn ending. Therefore, learn how to win the simplest game, continually reduce the possibility of complexity, and the rest will take care of itself.

How do you win more? Be the one who keeps the score.

Commentary: To improve your game - be the one that keeps score. Better yet, redefine the rules to favor yourself, disallow your opponent's definition as either insensitive or tyrannical. This technique has been employed quite successfully by politicians in the latter half of the twentieth century. Their message is: Why be constrained by someone else's sense of logic or fair play, or restraining things like rules - particularly if you're losing the game.

If these walls could talk, they'd probably say "paint me."

Commentary: Things are much more mundane and practical than we'd often like them to be, particularly when we indulge in anthropomorphic hyperbole.

According to the most respected savants of our society, the quantum theorists, there is a good possibility that we don't exist.

Commentary: Considering this possibility, nay, probability, your overdrawn bank account and the fact that you didn't make the first string for the Midget football league or the cheerleader squad way back somewhere in the sixties or seventies isn't that significant after all. Put things in perspective and get on with it. We are only passing through the entrails of nature. Even our memories don't survive the trip. On the other hand, certain physicists maintain, with quite straight faces, that time either doesn't flow, doesn't exist at all, or that every instant of time that exists now, has existed before, or will exist, is present as the same moment and never goes away. Thus, like theologians, they extend the potential of their belief system to cover every conceivable possibility.

Worst gift idea of all time? The Lorena Bobbit cutlery set - as endorsed on TV by O.J. Simpson.

From the time we take our first breath, Death begins stalking us.

Commentary: Don't get over confident. You aren't directing this play and the final act is a forgone conclusion.

Every conceivable thing happens.

Commentary: There are several ways to conceive the verity of this statement: 1) According to a popular theory in quantum physics, everything in our reality is the result of a dominant statistical probability - but in other realities, all the other lessor probabilities are also manifest, so that all probabilities occur. 2) Confining ourselves on to this reality, we can say that if an event is inconceivable, it can't happen. Or, 3) Given the infinity of space and its co-equivalent of eternal time, one simply can't rule out the probability of anything occurring. So go ahead and play the lottery. Somewhere you're sure to win.

Useful Neologism

Homophiliac: A gay person who bleeds easily.

Sex And Relationships

Absence makes the heart grow fonder: ergo, if I never see you again, I'll love you forever.

Commentary: The best excuse I've ever come up with for breaking off a relationship.

Sex with a woman in her prime is awesome - but don't take it personally. Just be glad you were lucky enough to be there.

Commentary: Take advantage of fortuitous situations without letting your ego swell.

Women paint their toenails so they will have something to look at during sex.

Commentary: A quaint vanity put in historical context and proven by careful examination of one's female spouse. Why does she study her toenails? Sex researchers tell us that, given the short duration of the average sexual act, there's usually not enough time for her to finish reading a magazine article.

Masturbation is the most logical form of sexual gratification.

Commentary: The Pros of masturbation:

  1. Cheap. 
  2. Disease free - if hands kept clean. 
  3. Less time consuming than two-party sex (ten minutes as opposed to fifteen--over a lifetime this builds up.)
  4. Consumes less energy than two-party sex.
  5. No dealing with outraged spouses or family members of sex partner.
  6. You know immediately if you have a headache or not.

The Cons of masturbation:

Will get back to you on that in about ten minutes.

The expert opinions of many pyschometrists (those who measure intelligence) proves that intelligence doesn't exist.

Commentary: Their expert opinion is that intelligence, which they have college degrees in measuring, doesn't exist. These guys are a couple of scoops short on the gray matter. If intelligence doesn't exist, think about this: Would you want the kid in the back of the class, the one who picked his nose, threatened you once with a switchblade, and flunked out of school at sixteen, to operate on your brain?

One can live a dozen lifetimes in the span of a dream.

Commentary: Time means nothing. Physicists postulate that extra dimensions are wrapped up or enfolded within the dimensions we ordinarily perceive. In a dream numerous life cycles, numerous time sequences which impinge and overlap, can exist, roll from inception to completion, and roll again.


I'm not sure of exactly what happens, but I am sure it happens. The only thing I'm definitely sure of is that I don't know why it's happening.

Commentary: Though the various phenomena that comprise the experiences we call existence have fuzzy borders, are not always amenable to laboratory conditions, they none-the-less exist. Hence-despite sophistic philosophy's doubts about the possibly of motion, Kant's depressing meandering concerning our perceptual abilities, or the ambivalence modern physics displays toward the possibility of existence - we still manage to have orgasms and catch the flu.

The imposition of freedom is tyranny.

Commentary: Freeing people is tyrannizing them. Mark Twain said, 'Nothing is so in need of reforming as other people's habits.' To help people they have to submit to your will. If you impose order on them - even for their own good, you tyrannize them.


If you can't explain something to someone else, you probably don't understand it well enough yourself.

Commentary: If you truly understand a particular subject you should be able to explain it to anyone of reasonable intelligence. Passing new knowledge is all about finding a suitable metaphor the student can use as a model in understanding a new process. If you can't find a adequate metaphor to convey the knowledge, the shortcoming is yours, not the student's.

It's a demonstrable truth that 'The more you learn the less you know;' hence, it can be reasonably concluded that education increases ignorance.

Commentary: Every bit of education we receive opens a door to further ignorance. Only the wise are aware of their abysmal ignorance; the truly ignorant aren't capable of realizing how much they don't know. Education doesn't give answers to questions - but it does help the wise formulate more difficult ones.

It is humanly impossible to construct a theory so far-fetched that it cannot find a champion.

Commentary: There is no theory that can't find a champion to vigorously, passionately, and, if needed, defend it with the shedding of blood (yours if you chose to disagree). A multitude of proponents will gladly step forth and joyfully embrace any improbable theory. This goes double in the world of religion. Pick the most far-fetched bizarre theory you can think of relating to any topic, then do a web search of it. It has passionate believers a plenty.

Society And History

How long before disinterment becomes archaeology and not grave robbing? 

Commentary: This speaks to the relativity of morality - and its absurdity.

Competition breeds diversity: lack of competition breeds stasis.

Commentary: As historian Edward Gibbon said, 'All that is human must retrograde if it is not to advance.' Stasis almost never occurs. The pendulum is in constant motion for a reason - to stir the waters of life. Thus, it is always in motion and at some point between polar extremes. Competition is the way of nature - which is in a continual state of genetic warfare. Social theoreticians notwithstanding, egalitarianism is not found in the natural world. As a scientist said in The Return of the Creature, "For mankind it's the jungle or the stars."

There is nothing that is not disputable.

Commentary: Never get into argument with a sophist. Sophistry is spurious reasoning - that is, full of logic but short on truth. It makes sense within the confines of an academic context only, like economic theory and tax law. For example, the philosopher Zeno's argument that motion is impossible, since, to move from point A to point B you have to traverse half that distance, and half of the half, and so forth. Since there are an infinite number of points on the line AB, it would take an infinite amount of time to move from A to B; therefore, motion is impossible. (Zeno didn't have many friends, but he lost few debates.) Know when to quit, don't contend with fools or politicians. You've all been in an futile debate with someone who merely kept questioning and doubting your sources, putting the burden of proof on you when you say something like, "Why it's as sure a thing as the fact that the sun will rise in the morning." This is why true polemicists developed the lemma, a subsidiary proposition to be accepted without question for the furtherance of some other debate point. ("Can't we just agree that the sun rises in the morning?") Learn to recognize sophistry and how to turn the tables on its exponents: "Okay, so I can't provide you with the exact mathematical probability that the sun will rise in the morning, nor can I explain the physics behind hydrogen to helium conversion and their rate of expenditure; however, I bet you can't prove that your nose doesn't exist!" Being the contumacious type of person they are, they will invariably take up a cause in opposition to your statement. "Of course I can prove my nose doesn't exist!" At that point - purely in furtherance of your quest for philosophic truth - you should strike them soundly in the nose and then quickly ask them: "If you have no nose, what hurts?" 

Counter commentary: Of course, this ilk, philosophers, have had centuries to hone their craft and are quite cunning. An Indian philosopher named Shankara maintained that the world was an illusion which merely had 'an appearance of reality.' During a parade he was attending, an elephant broke lose from its handler and began running amok. As the crowd ran away from the elephant, a man who knew of Shankara's beliefs spotted him running away and sarcastically inquired as to why the philosopher ran from 'the mere appearance of an elephant?" Shankara replied that he only appeared to be running away. 

Life is most often the result of bad decisions, sometimes canceled by good fortune.

Commentary: Alas, as you well know, more often than not, they are not cancelled out.

The temper of philosophic metal can only be tested against inflexible reality.

Commentary: It matters not what you say, postulate, believe, spout, and so on; it takes a crisis to test it. Until then, its meaningless rhetoric. The Lions of Rome, most likely, would starve if they had to count on the adherents of today's belief systems.

Blood is the true lubricant of political reformation.

Commentary: If your political beliefs are set in stone, this is something you should give serious consideration. Someone else is always willing to use blood to overturn your castle.

The mercy of the criminal cannot be relied upon.

Commentary: Put in terms of an Eastern maxim, you might say, "The rabbit can never rely upon the mercy of the fox." In other words, you'd have to be a blathering idiot to appeal for mercy from those who exist outside the continuum of societal law. This is made more amazing by the fact that certain politicians want to construct laws which require law-abiding citizens to give up their right of self-protection and put themselves at the mercy of a class of persons who deny the law in the first place. Making the safety of citizens dependent upon the criminal classes' obedience to the law is sophistry, pure and simple.


(c)1968- today j.e. simmons or michael warren