A WONDER OF PHILOSOPHERS
A Metadrama

by Christopher Fulkerson

CF's Composition Desk

CF at the Grave of Arnold Schoenberg
"You may never get to touch the Master,
but you can tickle his creatures."
Proverbs for Paranoids, I
from
Gravity's Rainbow, by Thomas Pynchon
Quoted in CF's
CELESTIAL SIXTIES I

"...the extreme limit of social comedy, the symposium." - Northrup Frye


Aristotle                                    
I wonder what we're all doing here. I see everybody walked, and is looking around for illustrations to talk about. We've got stone blocks, that's some kind of verisimilitude for you. What do you call a group of us? We can't call ourselves a "gaggle" or a "pride" of philosophers, those terms are taken by geese and lions.

Plato
You've said it. If a sense of wonder is the mark of a philosopher, then a group of philosophers is a "wonder" of philosophers.

Descartes                       
I have a great pick-up line we can start with.

Plato
You dolt, we just got us started with our own favorite pickup lines, about "wonder" and philosophizing.

Descartes
That's just naming, and rather solipsistic I must say. "A Wonder of Philosophers" isn't going to help us pick up women. Let's use my pick-up line. You can use it in all kinds of situations. It goes like this: I think, therefore I am.

Husserl                       
Clearly, you do have something in mind.

Wittgenstein
I hate solipsists.

Descartes
As I was saying, it's all about picking up girls. Come on, I'm French, cut me some slack. My method got me into the Court of Queen Christina, and trust me, a tall glass of cold vodka was part of the deal.

Sartre
So he does have something in mind.

Socrates
This situation is beginning to sound all too familiar. The insinuations about young girls, the insistence on certain beverages. What next?

Plato
Descartes, what else was in the deal? I'm not going to commit to something I may have to apologize for later on.

Descartes
Leave the girl some secrets. You of all people should understand that.

Leibnitz                       
It’s all good.

Schopenhauer           
Except that it’s all miserably bad, with occasional brief aesthetic relief.

Descartes
The place was cold, that's for sure. It's no secret I wasn't happy. Nobody could be happy in those conditions.

Hutcheson
That's not good.

Russell
The secret of happiness is to face the fact that the world is horrible, horrible, horrible.

Descartes
My pick-up line is better than yours.

Nietzsche                       
Happiness is best in large amounts. Let’s live it up.  We can do it again and again.

Derrida           
Let’s do it just the once, on film, and then go out for dinner.    We can decide later, watching as many times as we like, what meaning it has each time we watch. Every dinner means something different, too. That's one of the reasons I like to do it every day.

McLuhan           
Watching television is not about meaning. It's about watching television.

Derrida
OK but it's different every time you do it.

Heraclitus                       
Not only can’t we do it many times, we can’t even do it the once.

Hegel           
That’s because nothing ever stays the same.     You should read my books,  they’re the best.    I know all about being right.

Anselm                       
If you can even imagine it, it’s already been done.

Plato                                    
The imaginary version is better.

Occam                       
You’ve said too much.

Aristotle                        
Let’s just talk about doing it here and now, shall we.

Augustine                       
Let’s do it now, before it’s too late.    I have to be a saint later on.

Heidegger                       
It’s time for a campus be-in.

Arendt                                   
I think I’ll pass.

Schopenhauer           
It will be one big mess.

Socrates                       
How do you know?

Rousseau                       
Messy is good.   

Fichte                                   
Only if you like messy.

Leibnitz                       
That’s obvious.    You’re not even off first base.

Kant                                   
I agree, except about the mess itself. Don't even try to put that in a good light.

Wittgenstein           
For every mess there are at least two cleanups.    But at least the second time, we’ll have jobs, and can do some travel.    Let me show you how the solar system works, it’s my funniest skit.

Schopenhauer           
We’re all going to wind up in a big mess anyway.    Let’s sing a song.

Nietzsche                       
We need a really uplifting, tragic song.

Whitehead                       
We all need one.

Russell                       
How many would that be?

Whitehead and Leibniz together:
ONE!

Spinoza
They're singing my song.

Kant
Two can be singular, if the view is generally valid. And if it's in the proper light.

Heraclitus                       
Well done, one duet! Get it? One... duet?

Bradley
I get it. It works.

Derrida                        
It will be different next time.

Ward
I like it. But I didn't say that.

Plato                                   
I can imagine a better duet.

Althuser                       
They are overbearing.

Foucault                       
They are trying to get their way.

Nietzsche
You talk about their will to power like it's a bad thing.

Schopenhauer           
Maybe they are gay, but surprise! that’s OK with me.   

Plato           
It would be best if we were all gay, since I figured out we are going to be women next, and animals after that.   

Plotinus
I'm not sure I fully agree with you. I thought that's only if we continually degenerate.

Marx           
You could have it the wrong way round. Or upside down.

Rousseau
You mean we're animals, becoming women? I want a new contract.

Hegel
Let’s keep it a guy thing.

De Beauvoir                       
You men always put us women second.

Schopenhauer           
I still say we need another song.

Whitehead
Where are the composers?

Nietzsche                       
I don't mind repeating myself. What we need is another tragic, uplifting song.

Schelling                       
It would give us a sense of purpose.

Derrida
Nietzsche, would you mind telling us what you are trying to say, when you say you don't mind repeating yourself?

Kant           
I have done some work with categories and there is no category of “tragic, uplifting” song.    You will never hear one,  because it cannot exist.

Popper                       
If anyone sings even one, you’re wrong.

Althuser                       
You are overbearing.

Adorno                       
He’s also the one who's wrong instead, unless the song is a good song.   But I didn’t quite say that. That would be too banal, even though it's true.

Arendt           
You are the overbearing one, Wiesengrund.    And don't talk about banality, I have appropriated that topic. About the duet, it adds up to something bad.

Russell 
Can you prove what it adds up to?

Bradley
How can "one" add up to anything other than "one?"

Wittgenstein
Exactly. They are not even communicating between themselves.

Hegel                                   
Everything always adds up to three. Trust me, I'm right.

Althuser
You are overbearing.

Marx                                   
One plus one sang one, that’s three.

Hegel
You got that from me, in a left-handed sort of way.

Marx
Except I inverted the melody.

Wittgenstein
And except, Hegel, that you don't make sense.

Derrida                       
Next time it will be one hundred eleven.

Passmore
You don't think that. Levi-Strauss thinks that.

Derrida
Maybe I will think that next time I think of something.

Lenin
One hundred eleven is the same upside-up or upside down.

Hegel
That's three steps up, and three steps back.

Arendt
The total doesn't add up. And all this talk of totaling things sounds suspicious. Banal, too.

Adorno
And you know banal. Cut them some slack. Maybe they're on holiday.

Hegel                                   
Now we’ll sing it as a trio.    Marx, you’re on my left.

Heraclitus                       
Well done, bravo!   You kids deserve a prize.

Sartre                                   
No we don’t.

Frege                                   
I don’t care what anybody thinks, that was all bad.

Schopenhauer
For once, I agree with you.

Wittgenstein           
Don’t talk to them, they will only pretend among themselves that what they say makes sense.

Schopenhauer           
I don't like Hegel's suggestion, it's too obscure. It should be a duo, not a trio. A duo would be helpful, until it leads to the inevitable undistinguished mess, which is the real nature of everything.

Socrates                       
Are you sure of that? We need to talk.

Fichte                                   
I can imagine it being sung as their own kind of song.

Schelling
I agree with you Fichte, it would be their own song, and have a sense of purpose.

Hegel           
If they sing it right now, it will make the most sense.    But not as much sense as the next song will make.

Schelling
Say, I agree with you now instead, Hegel.

Frege                                   
It is impossible to understand how the two songs are related.

Pythagoras
Do the math.

Marx           
Someone should do something about you Frege.    It’s wrong to take people’s trios from them, the trios they make themselves and sing with their own voices.

Godwin
Everyone should sing regularly. Once a week, but without fail. It's all we will ever need.

Marx
Godwin thinks a full-time job is a work camp.

Nozick
Forcing people to work full-time jobs is a form of theft.

Rawls
Only if things don't get better for those worst off.

Crowley
Marx, how much do you know about work camps?

Locke
No one is going to send Godwin to a work camp. America, maybe.

Adorno                       
Trust me, I've deciphered him, Frege worships Satan.

Arendt                                   
You mean he worships you, Wiesengrund-Adorno?

Plato                                   
Let’s not say anything we’ll regret.

Wittgenstein                       
Yes, I think there is room for a second opinion here.

Popper                       
That’s good to hear.    What an exception to the other day.

Wittgenstein (brandishing a poker)                       
Back off!   I don’t like you any more.

Socrates                       
Maybe we need a change of locale.    Let’s get peripatetic.

Plato
It's talk like that that got you into trouble.

Husserl                       
I take it there’s a place we can walk.

Leibnitz                       
I know one.    It goes around that way.    I was the first one to find it.

Magee           
Everybody knows that that’s not what we’ve decided everyone has agreed.   

Husserl
I have something in mind.

Hobbes
Is it bigger than a breadbox?

Fichte
That depends on its size.

Husserl
It isn't bigger than a breadbox.

Hume
Is it smaller than a breadbox?

Hegel
Don't say it, Fichte.

Hume
I'll bet it's a ball.

Heidegger
I already know this example. It isn't smaller than a breadbox.

Kant
If it's neither bigger nor smaller than a breadbox, you don't have to make a transcendental deduction to know it's a breadbox.

Frege
You left out the fact that it might simply be the same size as a breadbox.

Russell
Which category is that really in, Frege?

Frege
You're right. I give up.

Russell           
If we're going to get peripatetic, let’s go to the sit-in at the be-in.

Ayer
Yes, let's get peripatetic.

Decartes
The what-in? By the way Russell, you're a crappy mathematician.

Heidegger                       
If you sit-in at my university, you do the cleanup, or your time is up!

Sartre                        
I know nothing, nothing! Look, I need to catch up on my reading.

Heidegger
I'd like to see that happen.

Hume                                   
None of us knows anything.

Socrates
I sure don't.

Popper
Me neither.

Locke           
Take it easy everybody.   We weren’t born with agendas.   There is no harm in talking about going to lots of different places.

Spinoza
There aren't lots of different places.

Adorno                       
I also have a lot of experience with the number three, you know. I know when someone is up to something.

Heidegger                       
Only if it messes with one of your agendas.

Schopenhauer           
We really are headed for a big, big mess.    Another song would help.

Adorno                       
But not just any song will do. We need better songs.   

Plato                                   
I imagine they exist.

Whitehead
But where are the composers?

Aristotle                       
What we really need is for somebody to actually sing a song.

Peirce                                   
That’s right.   Let’s keep it real.

Dewey
Make it a song we all can sing. People of all ages.

Marx                                   
Everybody is just philosophizing. We need action.

Dalai Lama
Or not.

Hegel                                   
Now would be a good time for that third, better song. A trio -

Schopenhauer, cutting in
Duo!

Hegel
- I think.

Frege                                   
Nothing anybody is saying makes any sense at all.

Antisthenes                       
I want no part of it.

Heidegger                       
This is doggerel.

Diogenes                       
You called, master?

Arendt                                   
You’re not the teacher’s pet.  I am.

Wittgenstein                    
You should have passed over that in silence.

Adorno
No need to say what everybody knows, that Heidegger is a bad man for saying certain things. I've deciphered what he meant, and he's suggesting Antisthenes is a dog. I didn't say that, and I'm not in denial about it.

Crowley                       
Everybody should say what they like, and I am definitely not in denial about it.

Russell                       
What are YOU doing here?

Adorno
Crowley, you pretentious charlatan, avant! Take your astrology and your jargon and go back to the market place from which you came.

Arendt
Wiesengrund-Adorno is trying not to say something banal like "Get thee behind me, Satan," and how pretentious he does sound.

Adorno
There is no room here for occultism!

Kant and Hegel together
That's right.

Schopenhauer
Hegel, you're right this time.

Hegel
I knew that.

Crowley
The reason people are interested in occultism is that they sense the occluded knowledge.

Bruno
That's not even funny. I agree with Adorno, you should go away, Crowley.

Althuser
He's overbearing.

Bruno
He's a damned triumphalist.

Popper
This is going to go on forever.

Peirce
I wouldn't be too sure of that.

Epicurus                       
Nothing to worry about, it will all end with our deaths.

Wittgenstein
But we will never know it.

Leibnitz                       
It’s no problem.     I know, since I was the first to work it out.

Magee           
No you weren’t.    Let me offer an example almost as good as one of Heidegger’s examples.   Let me say that we know the chicken came before the egg.    The fact that the egg got delivered first doesn’t matter.     That’s what we all agreed.

Husserl
It appears to me that that's what you agreed on your side of the English Channel.

Schopenhauer           
This is getting messy.    There is going to be one vast undistinguished mass of albumen everywhere.

Schoenberg
Not even albumen. Carbon.

Schelling           
Don’t forget the yokes at the core.

Augustine
That's a good yoke.

Whitehead
Everyone gets one.

Descartes
One egg? I'll take mine next week. I hate fresh eggs.

Heidegger           
He is not even going to notice when he cracks the egg with that spoon. But that's a good thing.

Hume           
We don’t know that the spoon ever touches the egg.   You have to admit we can’t even prove that we have personalities.   We don’t know that we’re alive. Do you notice how cheerful I am about all this?

Rousseau           
I like the things you say.   You are such a decent person, let me move in with you. I'll let you pay my bills. It will be our social contract.

Crowley
Hume, you're being too nice.

Fichte           
There is no spoon.

Dalai Lama           
That’s your Dharma.

Plato           
I imagine there is a better life.   This is just a rehearsal for death.

Wittgenstein
There's no need to rehearse death. It's not even an event in life.

Aquinas
Are you sure you're not a Jesuit?

Cornish
I'm sure he's not a Jesuit.

Epicurus                       
Let’s enjoy life while we can.    We need some women.

Mill           
Damn straight we do.    We need them right here, close up, all the time.    No more of this putting off the women.

Russell
That's my kind of godfather.

Ayer
Your lay godfather. You don't believe in God.

Leibnitz
Enough about eggs. Anyway, do the math, godfathers don't lay eggs.

De Beauvoir           
We women can make ourselves available. But you have to have the right philosophy, because we’re not here to solve all of your problems at the last minute, and forever. We're not here to save you from your own mistakes.

Hegel 
I have the right philosophy.

Arendt           
Behind every philosopher is a phenomenal woman.   Maybe.   But don’t be overbearing.

Althuser
I agree with you, they are overbearing.

Skinner
They are just exibiting behavior.

Quine
No, they are manifesting behavior.

Hefner
Behavior is not exhibited, it's manifested? So if I do not stare at a well-endowed girl's big boobs, that must mean I did not notice them, and am not thinking about them.

Quine
Let me ask a philosophical question, Hefner: why are YOU here?

Hefner
I wrote the Playboy Philosophy, so I am a philosopher, and as you can see I smoke a pipe at least as cool as Bertrand Russell's, cooler maybe. He and I share certain philosophies. Oh Russell, would you like to do the Playboy Interview?

Russell
Nice pipe. I'd be delighted. Do you want me to come to Chicago, or Los Angeles? Or do you want to send someone to Penrhyndeudraeth?

Ayer
I'm glad I heard about this. Now I'm going to have to plan a trip to Los Angeles or Chicago.

Wittgenstein
Does the Playboy Philosophy take into account my Picture Theory of Meaning?

Hefner
Picture Theory is very important at Playboy.

Wittgenstein
What is the meaning of that proposition?

Schlick
The meaning of a proposition is the method of its verification.

Descartes
My pick-up line is better than yours also.

Schlick
I meant, if it has good pictures, the proposition is verified.

Hefner
So if she comes upstairs only to look at my etchings, we were talking about art all along?

Anyone from Oxford
The Playboy Philosophy is not philosophy.

Wittgenstein           
On second thought, I think it is unimaginable that this discourse could be enjoyed.   We need to sort things out.    We need to drain the swamp of all these creepy philosophers.

Aquinas
And of all this talk about sex. I have understood every pun anyone has made here.

Zeno                                    
Stop complaining.    Someone take charge.

Marcus Aurelius           
I suppose that would be me.

Aquinas                       
We need a Higher Authority.

Nietzsche                       
There is no higher authority.    He is dead.     What we need is Superman.

Anselm                       
We’ll just think of a new Higher Authority, and he will be there.

Crowley                       
Only if we’re ready for him.  Better study up.  Here is a crib sheet I made on my own. Here is another one, but I did not write it, it's from that other world you guys always talk about, but whose characteristics you can never agree on. I'm in touch with some bigshots there.

Aquinas
Like who?

Crowley
My good buddy Wittgenstein. And the doorman at the Schoenbrunn.

Aquinas
You do know that Wittgenstein is dead.

Crowley
His death never occurred in his lifetime.

Aquinas
Right. Why is the doorman a big shot?

Crowley
If you are going to the Schoenbrunn, he knows why you are there, and opens the door without your having to knock.

Dewey
How professional.

Adorno          
Oh magickal sophist, with your magick squares and your schists of crib sheets, what know you of scholarship?   Just shut up, or I guarantee, you’re going to be interrogated by a hostile journalist that I just happen to know but am not even going to have to talk to about it, and then all your stupid magick wand waving will be on the front page.

Crowley
I could use a front page.

Socrates           
It's not about the wand waving.   We talked about this, and I made him see.

Dewey           
He needs a hands-on course.

Arendt
Wiesengrund, are you sure you're not in the Mafia?

De Beauvoir                       
Different people wave different wands in different ways.   

Dalai Lama                       
She waves the wand of no wand.

Fichte                                   
She waves the wand she made her own in her own way.

Sartre
Damn straight she knows how to make a wand hers.

Plato
How about your service of Aphrodite, is your natural force still unabated?

Sartre
If you don't know that, you know nothing.

Aristotle
Careful, he is baiting you into making a non-natural motion.

Archimedes
He's forcing the issue.

Abelard
I don't like this discussion.

Socrates
Don't be hard-headed.

Heloise
This is the best discussion I've heard in a long time. Who has the best theory about all this?

Hegel
That would be me.

Descartes
My pick-up line is better than yours, too.

Plato                                   
I can imagine a better higher authority.

Descartes
But not a better pick-up line.

Plato
The Thracians do it best. No pick-up lines, it's all done on scheduled holidays. And there are a lot of holidays.

Aristotle          
Watch what you’re saying, somone will overhear you.   Remember what happened to Socrates.   First there are the journalists.   Then the bartenders.   

Dewey                    
It’s about time someone with a practical skill was mentioned here.

Socrates                                  
If you think that’s practical, this is definitely a rehearsal for death.

Plato
You're referring to that time you had one drink too many.

Peirce                                   
Keep it real.

Heraclitus                       
There is a way to bring this all together.

Whitehead                       
That’s an adventurous idea.

Heraclitus
And it doesn't involve stepping in anything.

Leibnitz                       
That would be best.

Sartre
You're talking merde!

Heraclitus                       
Let’s not let the opportunity slip away.

Marcus Aurelius           
This is becoming difficult to endure, but I'm not complaining. It is good to be Emperor.

Crowley                       
I will endure to the end.

Wittgenstein                       
If we sort it out properly we won’t have these problems.

Dalai Lama                       
Sorting things out?    Are you the laundry master?

Pythagoras                       
Do the math.

Frege                                   
I don’t get the connection there.

Hume                                   
That’s no surprise.   Everybody has to admit there is no connection.

Heraclitus                       
Don’t you understand why you can’t see the connection?

Russell                       
There could never be a connection.  

Frege
There is no connection, and I am not in denial about it.

Whitehead                       
There could be a connection. Maybe a little one.

Descartes and Hegel, together:
That's a cheap shot!

Adorno                       
It’s a scandal. But don't worry Hegel, you can always turn left with it.

Descartes
If I think about it, so can I.

Leibnitz                       
It’s the best possible scandal.

Adorno                       
It will be in all the papers.    We’ll do a discussion about it on television. Then we'll do a special journal issue. Then we'll go on vacation to Italy.

Schopenhauer
That will only result in more scandals.

Derrida                       
If you do a TV special, the rerun won’t mean the same thing as the first time you show it. Also, we should go out to dinner before we go on vacation.

Quine           
If you say too much, you’ll only have to say more.    Russell, I think this is about you. Tell us there is no connection.

Hefner
Yes, now would be a good time for that interview.

Russell                       
If I gave an interview, I would begin by talking about how much I like Fregeian philosophy. Then I would move on to more advanced positions. To get a better Fregeian philosophy going.

Heraclitus                       
That’s excellent.    Really well done.    Bravo!

Aristotle                       
I’m surprised you went there with that.

Socrates
I'm not.

Wittgenstein
Russell likes to make puns on names. It's an inside joke.

Ayer
Ahem, Russell, Mill put you up to that, didn't he?

Whitehead and Eliot together
Where's my wife?

Schopenhauer           
You’ve stepped in it now, Russell.The vast, undistinguished mass, I mean.

Sartre
There it is.

Derrida
Watch your step.

Heraclitus                       
No one is stepping in anything, not even once.

Fichte                                   
Nobody. In nothing.

Wittgenstein                       
We’re not even talking about stepping. When you talk about stepping, you are just talking to yourself, and it means nothing. I'm onto you, Fichte.

Cornish
And I'm onto you, Wittgenstein.

Anyone from Oxford
And we're onto you, Cornish

Magee
And I'm onto you, Oxfordians.

Schelling                       
Everybody is always stepping in everything everywhere.    It’s only natural.

Schopenhauer           
This is really all dreck.   Really drecky dreck.  The dreckiest. I need an aesthetic experience. I think somebody here is gay, but surprise! I'm not in denial about it.

Sartre
It's nothing.

Heidegger
That's dreck too.

Ryle
It's just talk about talk.

Hawken
It's unsustainable.

Popper
Except that it never ends. It's an infinite regress.

Foucault
I agree that somebody here is gay. But I wasn't talking about myself. I don't want to go to jail.

Locke
Nobody's going to send you to jail. Australia, maybe.

Schelling                       
We truly need another song.

Hegel                                   
A third song, to resolve this conflict.   Right now.

Imhotep                       
Then we’ll build a monument to it.

Crowley
What's that you're saying?

Bentham           
No, we'll build a university.    I promise to stay on the committee.    I don’t need to cast a vote. Just set me up where you want me. I'll remain on display.

Lenin
That's my kind of man.

Marx
Votes are a waste of time.

Kant                                   
We’ll need textbooks.    Better write some quickly.

Aquinas           
We'll need a whole syllabus.    Maybe two.    I’ll need time, and a quiet place to  write.    With no women around, of course.  

Heidegger                       
There’s time, if you’re down for it.     There's a hut on the next hill over from mine.

Wittgenstein
Two syllabuses, that's good. I know how to make two philosophies.

Russell                       
Don't worry Aquinas, no women will get past me. Huts, you say?

Hegel           
No need to write anything.   We’ll just use my books.    After all, my philosophy is best. I anticipated the syllabus problem, and wrote a whole encyclopedia.

Dewey
But the textbooks should be practical.

Peirce
That's right, keep them real.

Wittgenstein           
We’ve done this all before.    I had it all worked out.    Why do we still need philosophy?

Whitehead
Don't you know where you are in your own process?

Cornish
He's all about process, and hates reality.

Passmore
You don't think that. Lenin thinks that.

Popper
Trust me, sometimes he gets confused.

Arendt
This conversation is banal.

Schopenhauer
This verbosity is really dreck. We shouldn't be doing this. Let's listen to some music.

Nietzsche                       
Let's start over. If it’s worth doing at all, it’s worth doing again.

Plato                                   
I wonder.

Socrates
I don't.

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c Copyright 2010-2013 by Christopher Fulkerson. All Rights Reserved.

 

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