Tag Archives: Philosophy



What if people engaged in one field used the business model of another? Something like accountants who not only do your taxes, but go on tour. I call this jobxtaposition; for my first jobxtaposition, let me introduce Aesop Lee Bailey, Philosopher for Hire.

Mr. Bailey, I wasn’t aware that philosophers were in such demand. I thought the only market would be to teach college freshman.

“Well, that has an element of truth, you see, but as a philosopher, I gave it a great deal of thought, and realized that one needs to guide people when it comes to certain services certain services. People didn’t realize that they needed designer sneakers costing hundreds of dollars until professional athletes made them aware of their need. I decided to look at a profession whose model would fit philosophy and adopt it—or should I say adapt it? Hmmm. I’ll have to give that some thought.”

So which professional business model did you decide to emulate?

“I initially thought about the clergy since the fields have so much in common, but the profit margin is absolutely abysmal.

“I finally decided on the business model used by lawyers. In days past, when we had a disagreement, we’d sit down and discuss it; lawyers convinced everyone that litigation was a better solution. Don’t like the neighbors’ dog? Don’t talk to the neighbor, take them to court. Did the school not eliminate every peanut down to the molecular level for a five mile radius? File a suit.

“The next advantage was the flexibility. If a client wishes to engage my services, the client chooses the subject and tells me whether I should be pro or con. Unlike amateur philosophers, I am not married to a particular idea or set of values. A client walks in and says, ‘I want to hire you to think up new things about global warming.’ I can then ask, ‘As a supporter or a cynic?'”

So how do charge a customer for your services?

“Billable hour. I charge by the hour in ten-minute increments, or any portion thereof. If I sit in a quiet room, I can sometimes dedicate two or three hours. Research is required, of course, so time spent reading, and of course thinking about what I’ve read is included.

“I do charge a premium for an epiphanies, which seem to occur suddenly while I’m in the shower. I figure that not only am I due the premium, but also portal-to-portal—from As with lawyers, the legal fees are one charge, and the expenses another.”

What kind of expenses do philosophers encounter?

“Well there are the usual things—paper, pens, and such, but all of the great philosophers have done their best work while drinking. Lofty ideas call for a fine wine or brandy, while blithering can be accomplished with nothing more than a pint of porter and a handful of bar mix.

“There’s one more part of the lawyers’ business model that’s useful. If an idea I think of for a client has commercial value, I receive one-third of the gross.”

Well, Mr. Bailey, I want to thank you for your time. I’m sure my readers will enjoy your unique approach.

“It’s been a pleasure.

“Oh, wait a minute…….. Here’s your bill, and please note the a surcharge since you didn’t buy me a drink.”

Renaissance Man

Leonard da Vinci

Leonard da Vinci

I’ve been described as a “Renaissance Man” because of my wide range of interests. I’ve always thought that it was kind of cool to be described that way.

However, my dog has enlightened me. He’ll be lying calmly. I walk toward where I leave my car keys and he’s up and moving like a lightning bolt. “Car! Ride!”

I walk out the back door to the deck. “Grill! Food!”

There’s a noise outside. “Squirrel!”

You get the picture. Unfortunately, I realized that Renaissance Men are…

“Book! Read!”



“Ham Radio!”

Maybe that’s why the dog and I get along.


I often “write in my head,” developing an idea so that when I sit down at the keyboard I at least have a conceptual idea as to what I’m going to write. This is one of those blogs. Unfortunately, I may have done such a thorough job of thinking it through that I actually believed I did write it. I looked through the recent archives and didn’t see it.

So, if this is, in fact a repeat, I apologize.


In the first “Indiana Jones” movie, Indy advised his archeology students that they will be seeking fact. If they wish to seek truth, they should be in a philosophy class.

I often accept the two terms as similar, if not identical, but I’d like to propose that they are quite different in several aspects. Initially I looked at truth as being subjective; like beauty it is in the eye of the beholder. On the other hand, I accepted fact as an objective, provable, absolute datum that actually exists.

But then I got thinking. Facts are objective, but being objective only means that there is a finite measurement. Such measurements may be precise without being accurate. Saying someone is six foot tall really means that they are somewhere near that height. The measurement of their height is dependent upon the accuracy of the measurement and of the measuring device. To further complicate things, height can vary slightly throughout the day – did you ever have to adjust your rearview mirrors on the drive home after a particularly challenging day at work?

Our most precise measuring tools are not necessarily accurate. The meter (the metric measurement, not some type of gauge) was initially thought to be one ten millionth the distance from the equator to the North Pole, but it has been redefined several times. Currently it is defined as “the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum during a time interval of 1/299,792,458 of a second.” I don’t know about you, but I have trouble picturing that.

We’ve been measuring time in hours and minutes for centuries. However, we’ve had to adjust the calendar by weeks, and of course with leap years. Even so, as our measurements become more precise, we have to add leap seconds every few years.

So facts aren’t what they are cracked up to be.

On the other hand, truth is something we know to be true without the ability to prove it. We know it’s true that there is a God. We can’t prove it as a fact, but we accept it as the truth.

It’s probably why Jesus called himself “the Way, the Truth and the Light.”

Nowhere Man (Part 5 – Conclusion)

“My life’s important!” I tried to shout. It felt like someone touched my forehead and I saw a rapid sequence of images of my life. Things I’d done to get to where I was today, some of which didn’t make me any too proud.

“That’s how I see you,” said the messenger. “And that’s how you see yourself when you’re being honest.” I didn’t like what I saw and tried to shrink away.

“You’re thirty-five years old – halfway to the proverbial three score and ten. No one lives forever and you need to do the best with whatever time is granted you.

“Now, here’s what we both could see.”

Another series of images passed before my eyes. The Porsche was replaced by a minivan. The luxury apartment was now a house littered with school backpacks and kids’ shoes. I saw myself in a suit, but instead of the carefully tailored designer label it was a functional off-the-rack version. But there was something else different – something different about me.

“What the hell was that?” I asked.

“One of the farthest things from hell. The life you were intended to live,” came the reply.

“I don’t understand any of this!”

“Ah, but you do and deep inside you know you do. All of this fits together.”

I tried to make sense of it, I actually did, but got nowhere.

“I’m a messenger. I’ve been with you all your life. I know everything about you.”

“Uhh,” I stammered, “you’re an angel?”

“I’m an angel. A guardian angel. Your guardian angel. I’ve watched over you.”

“And you don’t like what you see,” I offered lamely.

“Passing judgment is not my job. Amongst ourselves we guardian angels like to say ‘We nudge, not judge’.”

“Well, I don’t like what I see when I see it so plainly,” I replied. “I can do better.”

“Of course you can – you’re human. Humans can always do better. That’s the way you were made. All humans – the saints as well as the sinners, so you’re in good company. That’s why I brought you here, so we could talk and you could figure out what you need to do.”

“But I haven’t figured it!” I protested.

“Sure you have, it doesn’t have to be laid out step by step. This is not a business plan. You know in your heart what to do. Now it’s time to go and do it.”


“It’s time for you to go back and pick up where you left off, and if you’re smart, in a different direction. For what it’s worth, I think you’re smart.”

“Did anyone miss me? I’ve been gone for a couple of days.”

“Someone would have missed you if time here was the same as time there. As far as they can tell you were never gone. You left and will return within the blink of an eye.” The translucent world around me began to fade – but it began fading from translucent to solid.

“Wait!” I tried to shout. “Can I talk with you later?”

“I told you that you used to be able to communicate this way. I was referring to when you prayed. I’ll be there when you pray, and not only will I listen in, I’ll be praying with you. You pray directly to the boss, not me, but I’ll be there with you.”

The world continued to solidify around me until I found myself where I had been before, sitting in a restaurant across from my girlfriend.

“…blue, with a white trim,” she was saying. “Are you all right?”

“What?” I answered, with a hint of confusion.

“For a second there you seemed to zone out, like you were somewhere else.” The waiter came up with the check and I quickly stuffed some bills in the folder and stood up.

“We need to talk, Amanda,” I said helping her with her coat and almost dragging her outside. It was snowing lightly with a dusting on the ground. We walked for a long time as I explained the whole strange experience to her.

Photo by Daniel MasseyPosted on BBC Web Page

Photo by Daniel Massey
Posted on BBC Web Page

“So what are you going to do?” she asked.

“I’m not sure, but I know my habit of seeing myself as the center of things isn’t going to work anymore. I guess I’ll just have to take things as they come up and figure it out one at a time.” I stopped and looked at her.

“We’ve been together for what, two years?”

“Three,” she replied, “and a half.”

“You’re the only person in the world that I could share this with, yet I’ve never made any real commitment to you. At the least you deserve that.”

“It would be nice,” she replied. “I would like that very much.” We started walking again, at first hand in hand and then with my arm around her.

“It was so weird that he knew everything about me. I hadn’t thought about some of those things in years. I mean, who thinks about freshman statistics class. That was almost twenty years ago. I guess that’s one day I wanted to forget. I sat next to a girl I was hoping to ask out and instead had a full blown, meltdown anxiety attack.” We continued walking. “I wonder what ever happened to her.”

Amanda looked at me oddly.

“I’m right here. You didn’t know that I was the girl sitting next to you?”

Somewhere far off, or maybe in my head, I heard a very faint laugh.

(The End)

Nowhere Man (Part 2)

Artist ​Daniel Arsham  sculptures -compressed, shattered glass.

Artist – ​Daniel Arsham

So I was nowhere. I thought back to college and my philosophy class. Boy would the professor have had a ball with this. The metaphysical implications were enough to not only keep the discussions in his class going for years, but they’d also be interesting. The discussions would last even longer if they started conducting philosophy classes at pubs. Pubs, mind you, not bars – there’s a difference.

My mind flashed on all those signs you see on maps at malls, parks and other public places that detail the surrounding area with the red “X” explaining, “You are here.”

Of course, “Here” defines where I am wherever I am. I’m here, you’re there – it’s as simple as that. I had the red “X” but lacked the rest of the map.

I decided that for the time being, I’d consider myself to be here rather than nowhere. It seemed like a good place to start.

Okay, now that I’ve got that settled, what was next? Usually when I find myself some place I try to find out who else is there. Of course I was at a disadvantage since none of my five senses seemed to be working. Okay, now let’s think this through.

There was nothing to see, hear, feel, smell or taste. That would fit with “here” being nowhere. It seemed unlikely that all five senses would fail completely all at once. That left two possibilities; either my brain was not receiving information or else the connection between my nerves and my brain was not functioning. Kind of like when the cable is cut and the television stops working.

I seemed to recall that when people die the last sense to fail is their hearing, so I started straining to see if I could hear anything. Nothing. This was not the path to success, so I tried to think of another approach.

I felt whole, which made no sense, but still felt right. Instead of inventorying my senses I decided that since I felt whole I needed to think in terms of my body being where it was supposed to be. I concentrated on my right hand, imagining I could see it. I clenched and unclenched what I thought would be my hand. I opened my eyes and looked where my hand should be and saw a pale, translucent hand moving at my command.

It hadn’t yet hit me that I had eyes. It seemed natural to be able to see. I didn’t think of my eyes because I was now too busy trying to imagine my left hand, then my arms. Little by little I could see a body forming. I considered it as my own, but it was vague enough that it could have belonged to anyone. The best I can do to describe it is to call it vague. Vague, but nevertheless perceptible.

By the time I could see both hands and arms, I was exhausted. I closed my eyes and slept.

(To be continued)

Decisions, Decisions…

Be willing to make decisions. That’s the most important quality in a good leader.

     ~ General George S. Patton

In science fiction, which I love, sooner or later the author has to turn to the concept of a parallel universe.  In “Back to the FutureMarty McFly’s loser family becomes successful after Marty visits the past and encourages his future father.  It’s an interesting plot device based on the theory that each decision has multiple choices, each with its own outcome, and a parallel universe exists for every outcome of every decision.  In other words, if you didn’t ask Sally to the prom, there is a parallel universe that differs from the one in which you did.  There are also parallel universes (Philosophically is it possible for “universe” to have a plural?) for her accepting, her declining and her derisively declining, etc..  In order to cover every possible decision, the number of parallel universes would be infinite.

 Infinity makes my head hurt. 

 I prefer to live in only a single universe even if the others exist and I merely ignore them.  As I thought about this it dawned on me that whether or not we are aware of the science fiction writers’ concepts, we unconsciously choose to live our lives in one of those two styles.   The first is to make the decision, not look back and make the most of the decision that was made.  The other is to make the decision, and then think about what could have been .  When I began writing this, I felt that without a doubt my style was the former.  Once I make a decision I know that I can’t change the decision, so my present and future attention and efforts need to be based on that particular decision.

 However, as I was writing I realized that there is an important discriminator.  If I make a decision and there is a high likelihood that I will be faced with a similar situation in the future and be called upon to make a decision again, then I do evaluate the decision in terms of the alternate possibilities.  By the letter of the law that isn’t second guessing, but rather an attempt to learn from my experience.

However, is bringing up this subject like being told, “Don’t think of purple elephants,” only to find that purple elephants dominate your thoughts?  Will I spend the rest of the day wracked by doubts as to whether I should have posted this blog?  Maybe, I’ll believe that my decision was made, no sense thinking about it and I need to move on to tomorrow’s article.   

“Great Scott!”

     ~Dr. Emmett Brown (Back to the Future)


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