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There is an old adage that has haunted me over the years, because I’m not a man of few words. I’m a man of far too many words and I am also a man of watching people walk away bored cuz I threw my words at them like a chimp slinging poo. The old adage goes something like this:

Or to put it more plainly: “Brevity is the soul of wit.”

This old adage, in case you haven’t figured it out by now, is bullshit. Brevity is communicating a thought inside your head to your intended audience (or sometimes unintended) using as few words as you possibly can. I don’t know what “the soul of wit” is supposed to be, but it is decidedly not communicating a thought inside your head to your (un)intended audience using fewer words. Therefore brevity is NOT the soul of wit.

This is demonstrable. In fact, I just demonstrated it. Read the previous paragraph again if you missed it.

However, whether or not you believe is up to you. Even in the face of demonstrable evidence, you may still opt to believe brevity is the soul of wit. Belief has no interest in facts or demonstrable evidence. Belief is about your opinion insisting it’s more important than actual demonstrable reality. Faith allows one to believe that subjective perception of reality trumps actual objective absolute reality.

For example, if you happened to laugh at the previous demonstrable example, you might be more inclined to believe my conclusion. However, if you did not laugh, you may question my credibility as a judge of what wit is. I would of course question your sense of humor. I think this shit is funny.

There’s funny “ha-ha!” and then there’s funny “hunh?”

I could define wit, or I could just be lazy and link to an online dictionary definition of the word. Suffice to say one can find examples of wit that are brief, but one can also find examples of wit that are not brief. So sometimes wit might be brief, but brevity is not always witty. I can provide examples of brevity and I can provide examples of wit. However, I can’t provide examples of a soul. I can provide examples of soul music but that would be a digression.

Mankind has never proven the existence of souls, but that hasn’t stopped us from believing in them. This also doesn’t stop people from believing brevity is the soul of wit, despite the fact even if there were such things as souls, the keen perception and cleverly apt expression of those connections between ideas that awaken amusement and pleasure does not have a soul. Wit is not a human being. I’m not even fully convinced wit is really a noun.

I can cite examples where wit is brief and I can cite examples where wit is vociferous. Believers in brief wit would ignore the times when wit is not brief, or they apologize for their belief by insisting any vociferous examples of wit can always be made funnier by editing the example and minimizing word usage. Sometimes this works but sometimes it doesn’t, and again, the believer would ignore or apologize for the examples that do not prove their rule, in favor of focusing only on that evidence which supports their assumption.

Brevity is not the soul of wit. it is one tool in the arsenal of any funny person who opts to use it. That is all. Yet people will continue to believe brevity is the soul of wit, and generations from now people will continue to say this tired unproved axiom long after I’m dead. Regardless of what I say, this stupid phrase will outlive me. If you can believe that.

Belief is broken. Faith is a fail. You don’t have to take my word for it. The proof is, as they say, in the pudding. The future of mankind will depend on whether we accept reality as it is and adapt accordingly, or if we fabricate reality from our own minds and lock ourselves away from actual reality in favor of our own brand of it.

Which future do you believe in? Are you helping to build a future that will get us closer to experiencing actual reality, or will you help to shelter mankind from how things are in favor of a fantasy of how we’d like to be? Or perhaps you will help us steer mankind’s journey to a combination of the two, where we can shelter and defend ourselves from the most dangerous and unfriendly aspects of reality without losing sight of how we affect reality and inadvertently cause damage to ourselves by ignoring it. The next planet killing meteor will make this argument entirely moot anyway, but in the meantime, we have to keep ourselves preoccupied, don’t we?

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