Tag Archives: philosophy

1660. Bozo the Professor

(Thanks to Nitin for providing the opening to the story).

All poor Kierkegaard talked about was despair inherent in men because of sin. It’s the bloody nihilists who deconstructed him, out of their need to be free of God and moral restraints, never realising that man is not free. I said, man is not free! Not free! Damn it! screamed the disgraced professor now working in a circus. What a change from being the Professor of Philosophy at Harvard to becoming Bozo the Clown.

Believe me, continued Bozo standing on his head, I didn’t get this job simply because I have Native American blood. Is it not better to light a candle than to curse the darkness and view the world through tinted glasses? There is light at the end of every tunnel and every cloud has a silver lining. Time may silver your golden hair but people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. After all, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, and one leg over the fence is better than a poke in the eye. Surely it’s better to shake a leg than to see a man about a dog. I promise you that this little pig went to market and this little pig stayed home, and the little pig that went to market is now a fat cow and the pig that stayed at home is a couch potato. Beware! Beware of sharks feathering their own nests like wolves in sheep’s clothing shedding crocodile tears.

Bozo began to juggle with a bunch of bananas. I smell a rat when people open a can of worms and say they’re living hand to mouth like a dog’s breakfast. Never, I say! Never on a Sunday! That’s right! That’s right – be a pack of sheep flogging a dead horse.

By now, Bozo was squirting everyone with water through a plastic flower on his lapel. Why not offer an olive branch to the starving millions instead of pussy-footing around like a cat on hot bricks? There’s something fishy about a chicken without a head.

We are not free! Not free! screamed the disgraced professor. Not free from Neitzche’s Nihilism and Derrida and the Deconstructionists.

It wasn’t long before Bozo lost his circus job as well.

1561. Great-aunt Pretoria

When Pretoria (her great-grandfather had served in the Boer War and somehow her naming had something to do with that. Her grandmother had explained it to her once, and now that she was older she wished she had listened and remembered. It was something to do with the fact that he (her great-grandfather) had caught malaria and spent the entire war in a mobile hospital unit being shunted from one encampment to another. Why they just didn’t send him home was anyone’s guess. She didn’t actually recall hearing anything about her great-grandfather being in Pretoria itself. Anyway she was glad they never called her Johannesburg or even Port Elizabeth. Her brother was called Klerksdorp, a name he hated with a vengeance. At least it made him look up a bit of history when he was at school – that is before he changed his name to Clark (similar to Clark Gable and Lois and Clark)) was getting ready to go to town when she notice that the car had a puncture (which reminds me that where I go to get my car serviced they have a great big sign that says: Puntchers fixed for $10. The head mechanic’s daughter is a school teacher so I’m not surprised about the lack of spelling. The standard of teaching these days is appalling but that’s because the teachers themselves were badly tort by bad teachers so it’s been going on for generations, getting lower and lower in standards. Not only that but teachers these days can’t stay on the topic and wander off like they start talking about the properties of hydrogen peroxide and end up talking about hair dye or something. It’s pathetic. Punctuation has also gone out the window. And so have manners. Old-fashioned values like courtesy are for the birds).

Anyway I better shut up and get some work done. I’ve a lecture to give tomorrow. I’m excited because I recently got a pay rise. I’m a professor at Harvard, and deal mainly with Logic in the Philosophy Department. I’m hoping to tell them about my great-aunt Pretoria who is long dead and I have only a vague memory of her. She collected teaspoons apparently. From all over the world.

1331. Deep in discussion

Serge and Jean-Paul sat at the back of the church hall deep in conversation. Serge’s philosophical perspective embraced the nihilism of a Camus, whereas Jean-Paul lent more to a philosophical stance that embraced a wider spectrum such as Plato and Kant and even Aquinas.

Serge and Jean-Paul were arguing, each from their philosophical perspective, about educational theory. Both agreed that the current school system needed overhauling, but both had quite differing views as to what should be done. They had been discussing it for nearly three hours, and sometimes quite vigorously.

Now that their wives had just finished putting away all the ranks of chairs and cleaning the church hall from top to bottom – windows and all – it was time to go home.

931. I think, therefore it is


The repugnant witch told Samantha that the minute she took her hat off she would die.

Samantha didn’t dare even touch the top of her head for another twenty-two years for fear of her hat falling off.

But what the witch hadn’t told Samantha was that she wasn’t wearing a hat.

302. Carmalita, apex of western civilization


Carmalita graduated from university. She majored in Philosophy. Congratulations!

“Over three years, we studied philosophical thought all the way back from the early Greeks,” said Carmalita. “Plato and Aristotle, and Spinoza the lens grinder. And Zeno, the warrior princess.”

And did you study Thomas Aquinas?

“Oh God yes! He only took half an hour! He didn’t write much. And then there was Descartes. I think.”

And Kant?

“Who? Yeah! And Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell. We did them all. It was a lot of work, and I got A’s for most of my assignments.”

And Mathematics? Did you do any of that?

“Oh God no! Why would I want Math? I’ve always being bad at Math. I hate it. It’s why I took Philosophy.”

What about great literary works? Shakespeare, for example. Did you study those?

“Oh God no! I could never understand Shakespeare at school. He wrote in that old-fashioned language that no one can understand. Although I saw the movie of Romeo and Juliet. It’s sexist, but Leonardo DiCaprio was hot.”

Have you read Jane Austen?

“Jane Austen? Oh! She had that series on television. With Colin Firth. And he dived into the pond and had a wet shirt clinging to his body.”

Science? Did you study any of that?

“What would I do Science for?”

Religious Studies?

“Our lecturer said it’s all crap. It causes wars and stuff. I don’t agree with religion.”

And Law? And Music? And…

“Look! Now that I’ve graduated with a degree in Philosophy I don’t need any of that other stuff. At present I work at a supermarket and the job’s way below my qualifications. I gotta find another job. Like be a teacher or something. I haven’t got time to be answering your crappy questions.”

59. What’s for dinner?


It was a hot, stuffy afternoon. The lecture from the professor was interminably incomprehensible – Bertrand Russell’s Theory of Knowledge. Or was it about Wittenstein’s Philosophische Untersuchungen? Perhaps that was Heidegger’s?

Davinia’s head drooped. She was fighting sleep. She would get the groceries after the lecture. She’d taken this paper at university because she thought she needed to expand her horizons.

For if we too in these investigations are trying to understand the essense of language…

Davinia’s head jerked down onto her blank note paper. She briefly napped. She woke. She had dribbled on the page.

When, for example, I am given an algebraic function, I am certain that I shall be able to work out its values…

I think I’ll do spaghetti bolognese for dinner. Or perhaps just cold ham and salad. Maybe followed by a citrus tart and icecream, thought Davinia. I shouldn’t really be doing such an abstract academic subject. It’s way over my head. It’s not that I’m stupid. Afterall, I do have a post-graduate degree in English Reformation lute music. I’ll have to get some lemons from the supermarket after this. And some ground meat.

The path of the point and certain of its characteristics measures, or the velocity and the…

We’ve got to get a few other groceries from the supermarket while we’re at it, thought Davinia. Some laundry detergent and… With that, she was out to it. Fast asleep. Head resting on her arms folded across the desk.

Half an hour later she awoke with a start. Someone was prodding her. It was the professor.

“You can wake up now, Davinia. What’s for dinner?”

It was the only thing her husband had said all afternoon that she understood.