Aphorism of the Day

Existen normas del buen gusto, pero no podemos conocerlas.
Sólo podemos aplicarlas.

Standards of good taste exist, but we cannot know them.
We can only apply them.

(Nicolás Gómez Dávila, Escolios a un Texto Implícito, 2.330)

As one of my teachers in college put it, “De gustibus non est disputandum does not mean that everyone’s taste is equal. It means that some people are wrong, and others are right, even if they can’t prove it.” This is a loose paraphrase of something said 30+ years ago, but the gist is accurate.

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One Response to Aphorism of the Day

  1. Alfred M. Kriman says:

    Another take, from Samuel Johnson’s Prefaces, Biographical and Critical, to the Works of the English Poets, writing on Congreve:

    Next year [1694] he gave another specimen of his abilities in The Double Dealer, which was not received with equal kindness [as his very well-received first play,Old Batchelor].  He writes to his patron the lord Halifax a dedication, in which he endeavours to reconcile the reader to that which found few friends among the audience.  These apologies are always useless; de gustibus non est disputandum; men may be convinced, but they cannot be pleased, against their will.  But though taste is obstinate, it is very variable, and time often prevails when arguments have failed.

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