When In Doubt, Speculate

A man walked into a philosophy club meeting.  “Why am I here?” he asked, awkwardly forgetting himself and the reason he had stepped through the door. This question, of course, was meant to be purely rhetorical, but such a distinction was understandably lost on a roomful of metaphysicians. “Are you here?” the Solipsist replied unhelpfully. “You must be seeking apatheia*,” the Stoic suggested instead, mistaking the man for someone who might recognize (or even appreciate) obscure Hellenistic jargon from the 3rd century BC. “No,” the Fatalist argued, “you’re here, because you couldn’t be anywhere else… unless you’re lost, that is, in which case you were destined to be lost… in which case…” Meanwhile, René Descartes, inexplicably back from the grave, added nothing to the ongoing conversation and simply stared out the window, blankly, humming the tune to “I’m a Little Teapot.” “Actually,” the Pragmatist in the corner interjected, “you probably just saw the flyer for our free ribs buffet.” The man’s eyes lit up. “Now I remember!” he exclaimed happily. “Would you mind handing me one of those plates and a packet of wet wipes?”

*Apatheia, in Greek, means “without pathos.” Pathos, in Greek, means “emotion” or “experience” or “suffering.” Emotion and experience and suffering aren’t really synonyms… so Greek is sort of confusing.

© 2014 Tony Vicory.

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