In other words, an aphorism is not a truth but a kind of test (an assay), a statement you are meant to run up against to decide if you agree. If you don’t agree, that is not necessarily a failure of the aphorism. The best aphorisms are not the most true but the most undecidable, those worth endlessly testing. In The Folded Clock, Heidi Julavits writes of herself and her husband: “We love to take a conviction we might, for a moment, entertain, and then turn it on its head and make a joke about it. This joking is our form of the Socratic Method. Our jokes are interrogations that help us figure out what we care about, and where our faith, at the moment, lies.” Jokes as essays.