“An APHORISM is a short pithy or terse saying expressing or embodying a general truth; a maxim; an astute observation.”

Power tends to corrupt . . .  absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Be not the first by whom the new are tried . . .  nor yet the last to lay the old aside.

Fools rush in . . .  where angels fear to tread.

An ounce of prevention . . .  is worth a pound of cure.

Better safe . . . than sorry.

Measure twice . . .  cut once.

The devil you know . . .  is worse than the devil you don’t.

The love of money . . .  is the root of all evil.

If the gold rusts . . .  what will the iron do?

Time and tide . . .  wait for no man.

Neither a borrower . . .  nor a lender be.

Keep your friends close . . .  and your enemies closer.

The early bird . . .  gets the worm.

De gustibus . . .  non disputandum est.

Ignorance is bliss . . .  where tis folly to be wise.

What goes around . . .  comes around.

[All] good things . . .  come to those who wait.

You get what you deserve . . .  deserve what you get.

Never look a gift-horse . . .  in the mouth.

Nihil . . .  ex nihilo fit.

A rolling stone . . .  gathers no moss.

Beware the green-eyed monster . . .  jealousy.

Hell hath no fury . . .  like a woman scorned.

Haste . . .  makes waste.

Birds of a feather . . .  flock together.

Familiarity . . .  breeds contempt.

Waste not . . .  want not.

Absence makes the heart . . .   grow fonder.

Spare the rod . . .   spoil the child.

Don’t throw the baby out . . .  with the bathwater.

Bonum ex integra causa . . .  malum ex quocumque defectu.

Stick and stones may break my bones . . .  but names will never hurt me.

A bird in the hand . . .  is worth two in the bush.

The enemy of my enemy . . .  is my friend.

[Ed. note: in 2016: Sometimes the enemy of my enemy is still my enemy.]





The Army defines leadership as the process of influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation, while operating to accomplish the mission and improving the organization.

Leadership is the multiplying and unifying element of combat power. Confident, competent, and informed leadership intensifies the effectiveness of all other elements of combat power by formulating sound operational ideas and assuring discipline and motivation in the force.

Good leaders are the catalyst for success. Effective leadership can compensate for deficiencies in all the warfighting functions because it is the most dynamic element of combat power. The opposite is also true; poor leadership can negate advantages in warfighting capabilities.

An Army leader, by virtue of assumed role or assigned responsibility, inspires and influences people to accomplish organizational goals. Army leaders motivate people to pursue actions, focus thinking, and shape decisions for the greater good of the organization.

Army doctrine describes essential leadership attributes (character, presence, and intellect) and competencies (lead, develop, and achieve). These attributes and competencies mature through lifelong learning.

Leadership is crucial in dealing with civilians in any conflict or disaster. Face-to-face contact with people in the area of operations encourages cooperation between civilians and Soldiers.

Army leaders strive for the willing cooperation of multinational military and civilian partners.

Leadership in today’s operational environment is often the difference between success and failure.

Leaders provide purpose, direction, and motivation in all operations. Through training and by example, leaders develop cultural awareness in Soldiers. This characteristic improves Soldiers’ ability to cope with the ambiguities of complex environments.

Leadership ensures Soldiers understand the purpose of operations and use their full capabilities.

Army leaders clarify purpose and mission, direct operations, and set the example for courage and competence.




“To tell or not to tell. That is the question.”

Secrecy is the practice of hiding information from certain individuals or groups who do not have the “need to know.”

What is kept hidden is recognized as the secret.

(But a person with a secret may want or need to tell it to another not affected by secrecy.)

“Don’t ask. Don’t tell.”?

The discussion of secrecy can often be controversial, depending on the content or nature of the secret, the group or person keeping the secret, and the reason behind the need for secrecy.

Persons often attempt to consciously conceal from others their own selves or acts or transgressions because of shame or guilt, or from fear (perhaps of violence), or from being rejected by another.

Secrets may be intimate to a single person, or sometimes part of an issue within a family, the “family secret.” (See Vital Lies, Simple Truths by Daniel Goleman.)

Disclosure of personal secrets has its pitfalls. Yet keeping a secret may be healthy and advantageous to one’s psychological self.

At the same time, secrecy can be a major source of human conflict, involving lying in order to not reveal. This can also lead to a number of psychological repercussions.

Sophocles: “Do nothing secretly; for Time sees and hears all things, and discloses all.”

Gautama Siddhartha, the Buddha, once said “Three things cannot long stay hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”

Scripture: “…and be sure your sin will find you out.” (Num. 32:23)

Yet if it’s a one-time transgression, perhaps it might be worth keeping that secret. Some therapists, however, might say honesty is important if there is to be healing in a relationship. Nevertheless, sometimes there really is more damage caused by a telling.

And the answer to the original question? One must weigh the consequences, both to self and to someone else. Will either be better off?



James Stockdale, an eight-year prisoner of war in Vietnam, a vice admiral, a college professor, a college president, and a vice presidential candidate, proposed a “discipline founded by Socrates–a discipline committed to the position that there is such a thing as central, objective truth and that what is ‘just’ transcends self interest.”

What will it take to get a worker, student, soldier, follower to reach a conclusion, to see the “vision” of a Stockdale leader?

The leader (or leader to be) must endorse the following:

1. You are your brother’s keeper
2. Life is not fair
3. Duty comes before defiance
4. Compulsion and free will can co exist
5. Every man can be more than he is
6. Freedom and absolute equality are a trade off
7. People do not like to be programmed
8. Living in harmonious “ant heaps” is contrary to man’s nature
9. The self-discipline of stoicism has everyday applications
10. Moral responsibility cannot be escaped.

It all seems so simple, simply put, clear. But it is not easy to be the moral leaders Stockdale wants. (Having a clear conscience is the foundation of Stockdale’s presentation.)


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