Tag Archives: Thought



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.”

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions


Decisions, those forks in the road that determine the future are always interesting. Some decisions are individual, while others are a group process. Whole books have been written about how to make good decisions, but what I find interesting is how people behave after they reach a decision. There are basically three choices.

Once a decision is made, you are committed to making it work.

You wonder what would have happened if you had made a different choice.

(Usually after a group decision) You can be unhappy with the outcome and spend the next four years listening to talk radio.

Help Wanted – Philosophers


Why don’t we have many philosophers anymore? Perhaps it’s because thinking is no longer a treasured process.

Where are today’s Socrates and Platos?

Too many people want to listen to others who mirror their own beliefs. Liberals want to listen to liberals and conservatives want to listen to conservatives.

A philosopher, on the other hand, wants to hear different perspectives on an idea and then ponder what the benefits and detriments to that idea are. This si why freedom of speech and freedom of the press are so important – to ensure we are aware of the opposing view.

Imagine if we as a species preferred to think rather than accept a 15 second sound bite as sufficient.

Imagine how interesting our conversations would be.

Imagine how our government would be.

I’m going to go and ponder that for a while.

Thoughts on Death


Nobody had more fun with death that Charles Addams

People stopped dying many years ago. Instead of dying, they passed away, then they passed on. Today, they merely pass.

People don’t like the idea of death. Many Christians look at death as the consequence of sin, and see their revulsion in both emotional and spiritual terms. Jesus himself was offended by death. When he entered the tomb of Lazarus in order to raise him from the dead, he reacted strongly to the presence of death. On the night before He died, he prayed that He be spared the suffering and death that awaited him.

Christians generally believe that there is a better existence in the next life than in this one. Many other faiths have similar beliefs, but most everyone believes that getting there is not half the fun. We seem to expect that it’s like birth – a bit of a chore.

Back when people died, they often died at home surrounded by family. Now they pass in the hospital surrounded by machines that make funny noises.

Back when they still died, the deceased was cleaned up, placed in a casket, and placed in the parlor.

Having grandpa’s body downstairs was the social norm but still kind of weird.  Morticians began to offer “funeral parlors” and the deceased was viewed there. Because of the previous macabre connotation, the “parlor” was renamed as the “living room.”

I noticed that many mortuaries now advertise “funeral apartments.”

I have to wonder if they expect a security deposit and references.

At least they don’t advertise “funeral condominiums.” Heaven only knows what restrictions the condo association would impose.

So we relabel, market, advertise, glamorize and use all our other skills to disguise the fact that people die. Some people convince themselves that they won’t die by cryogenically freezing their bodies in the belief that someday someone somehow will find the cure for what killed them and bring them back.

Even with Universal Healthcare, bringing back someone who died two hundred years ago is not going to be a priority.  Bottom line is that they’re just as dead – they’re just frozen spending a couple hundred years as a corpse-sicle.

Let’s just admit it, we’re all going to die.

When I’m dead and gone, you’re going to admit that I was right.

Nowhere Man (Part 3)

This time when I awoke, it felt normal, like waking up late on a Saturday morning in the summer with a breeze blowing through an open window. Without thinking, I stretched, just like you’re supposed to do. I opened my eyes and remembered that it had taken a lot of effort to imagine my body being there. I looked down and saw that everything was there, albeit a bit translucent.

“I guess that when Rene Descartes said, ‘I think therefore I am’ there was something to it,” I thought. I didn’t think it like a regular thought, but almost as though I was speaking my thought. Speaking it through my mind.

“Perhaps,” came a reply. “But in his case it was a bit egocentric.”

"I think therefore I am"Rene Descartes

“I think therefore I am”
Rene Descartes

I stood up, which surprised me because in the same way that I was semi-transparent, there was no visible floor or ground on which I was standing. It was not invisible, but not quite visible, either. The best word I can use to describe the floor is “vague.”

“It’s solid enough for you to stand on,” came the next reply. “At least the you that you are for now.”

I realized that I was hearing these in my mind rather than my ears. “Who are you?” I asked in my mind. I strained to hear the answer, but realized that focusing on my ears would do no good.

“Just relax,” came the voice. “Let’s talk.”

“Works for me.”

“Where are you?” I asked. “Come where I can see you.”

“In time,” came the reply. “For now, let’s just talk.”

“Okay. If you won’t tell me where you are, at least tell me where I am.”

“When you decided to say that you are ‘here’ that was a pretty good description.”

“But not very helpful,” I answered.

“But very accurate. Where you are is not a place in the way that you think of places. There is no Google Map to describe where we are. No latitude, longitude or compass bearing. It’s just here.”

I waited without saying anything.

“Let’s say that you are in a state of being rather than a geographic location.”

State of being? “Am I dead?” I asked. My question seemed to elicit waves of an emotion I could only compare to amusement.

“No, you’re certainly not dead. In fact, you’re probably as far from dead as you could ever be.”

I took a breath, and it almost felt like real breathing. It felt good and was helpful. “So I’m not dead. I’m here. You’re somewhere nearby. I’m kind of a shadow of myself, which is good because that means that whatever this almost real thing on which I’m standing is strong enough to hold me.”

“Good! Very good!”

“What’s so good about it?” I demanded.

“Well at this point most people have a total panic attack or a complete meltdown. You’re just a bit frustrated because you don’t understand. Yet. Kind of like your first day in Statistics 101.”

My mind reached back to parts of my past that I prefer to ignore. It was exactly like my first day of taking Statistics. That was a horrible day. There were 200 freshmen in an auditorium, a professor who spoke exceptionally poor English, an extremely poor audio system and a textbook, written by the same professor in the same undecipherable language. I hyperventilated and almost passed out. Of course all this happened while I was sitting next to the cute girl that I was trying to get the courage to ask out. I don’t think I ever saw her again.

“How’d you know that?” I asked.

“I was there,” came the reply.

(To be continued)