Think Tanked

modernism

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

Okay. Say your name is Socrates. You think a lot. Really a lot. You’re into the search for truth, but you’re not sure what truth is exactly. You come up with this strategy: keep asking questions no matter what. Here’s how it works: You ask some smart person a question. He thinks he knows the answer and answers you. You then ask him a question about his answer, so he answers that question, after which you ask him another question about his answer to your question about his answer. When he answers that question, you ask him a question about his answer to your question about his answer to your question about his answer to your original question. You keep doing this until the person either wants to kill you or staggers away totally confused. Congratulations. You have just invented philosophy.

Now, say your name is Plato. Your teacher, Socrates, just croaked from drinking hemlock flavored Kool-Aid. Do you learn anything from that? Nope. You want to be a philosopher too. You decide that there are all these ideas floating up in the ozone. Gee, you think, this is better than eating mushrooms. You decide that those floating ideas are the source of everything. You become a poster child for spirituality. After that you sort of flake out. You’re the world’s first Jerry Garcia, except you don’t have a rock band. 2400 years later they will name modeling clay after you.

Next you’re Aristotle. You disagree with your teacher, Plato. You’re not an airhead like him; you’re a scientist. You study everything and take notes. You may be the first genius, or maybe not. You make comments on politics, physics, music, art, and anything else that is commentable. You have turned philosophy into a scientific proposition. You are so smart that people will take your word about things without even looking. You da man. You teach Alexander the Great who takes over the world before he croaks at the age of 32. A lot of good your teaching did for him. You die too. No rock band either.

The history of philosophy basically looks something like this:

A person has an idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

Another person disagrees with that idea and has his own idea.

 

I think this summary pretty much takes us up to Nietzsche who decided that Jesus sucked. Nietzsche went mad and died. He’s sort of the Kurt Cobain of philosophers, but, unlike Cobain, he didn’t have a rock band.

Now days all the cool philosophers have rock bands. In fact, if you aren’t in a rock band nobody pays any attention to you, which is good. As long as you have a rock band people will think that you’re totally awesome and will hang on your every word. Take this philosophical lyric from David Byrne, one of the most important philosophers we have today:

Runnin’ naked, down the state highway

Runnin’ naked, in the middle of the day

Runnin’ naked like a tom cat’s behind

Runnin’ naked but the cat don’t seem to mind

This is heavy stuff, man. Even Jesus couldn’t have put it like that. Jesus, of course, was limited because he was the Son of God and didn’t have a lot of flexibility as far as topics were concerned. And since he already knew everything, he couldn’t speculate, which is the core of philosophy. (He could, however, expectorate impressively.) Jesus was also at a disadvantage because he didn’t have an actual rock band, though he did try to get one going: “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.” Unfortunately, the road to hell is paved with good intentions and he was offed before his first gig.

With Garage Band, almost anybody can be a philosopher now. All it takes is an idea that somebody disagrees with and a decent riff—and you’re on your way. Who knows? You could be the next hip-hop Wittgenstein.

 

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One Response

  1. Fred…..
    How many will miss the “Here’s mud in you eye” allusion? Thanks for keeping the geriatric grey matter challenged. Did you intend to leave out the pudgy prince and his retreat to nothingness? Or does recycled life-forms count as philosphy? The team is returning Friday next from the land of temples and towers. Nothing like the sound of cell phone chirping in a thatched roof village church to make you long for home.

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