Humor Me
Comments 5

Philosophy 101, Pt. I

In an opinion piece in the December 8th edition of the NY Times, entitled “Know Thyself – Really”, a philosopher named Quassim Cassam from the UK goes to some lengths to differentiate between what he calls ‘substantial’ self-knowledge and ‘trivial’ self-knowledge.
The article can be found here.

First of all, I’ll need to get something out of my system, before we can proceed.
Trust me on this one – it’ll be better for all concerned, if I just go ahead and do it now.
I’m not saying any antisocial tendencies will thus be fully assuaged. But it’ll make it easier
to get to the bulk of the above article in a more intelligent (and less childish) manner.

Those of you impatient for the, almost surely, more scintillatingly existentialist thoughts to come, should probably just skip right on to Pt. II…
Cause this may take a while…
Where is Part II, you ask?
I haven’t written it yet…

On with the show.

Now… are you kidding me?
A philosopher… named Quassim Cassam? (gesundheit!)

Is this what he’s been doing since his American Top 40 radio show left the air?
Spinning you all the hits, from the world of head-spinning ideas?

“♫ Quassim’s coast to coast… ♬”

“On this week’s countdown we have a new entry into the Philosophical Top 40, who’s been climbing up the charts with his big debut song. And it’s no wonder he’s proven so popular with the younger generation, because if he’s not getting to you with his theology, he’s sure to entice you with his up-tempo organ renditions of the late, great composer, Johann Sebastian Bach. Coming to us all the way from Kaysersberg, it’s Albert Schweitzer, debuting on the charts this week at number 23 with his rocking rendition of “The Reverence for Life” fugue.

“Next on the countdown we have a number that’s spent almost 200 years on the charts. That’s longer than any other philosopher in history, except for those with the word ‘bacon’ in their name. Back once again, it’s our man from Gdansk, with a song sure to put the dance back in your disco duck. Here’s Arthur Schopenhauer, with his perennial hit, the “It Doesn’t Matter What You Call It; Life is Absurd, Human Will is but a Whim and the World Doesn’t Exist” blues.

“♫ Quassim’s coast to coast… ♬”

“And now it’s time for our long-distance dedication, from a student of fluid dynamics at the Boise State School of Fundamentalist Car Washers, to a girl currently living somewhere in an, admittedly, hypothetical alternate universe.

“… and he writes:

“Dear Quassim,

“I’d like to dedicate a song to the girl of my dreams, who I met one summer at a Life Sciences conference in Las Vegas. As you know Quassim, Las Vegas in the summer can be very hot, and we were forced to spend the entire conference separated from all the others in a small sealed room, which was the only place we could find that was adequately air conditioned.

“While spending the week in a state of being both simultaneously cooled and un-cooled, as far as anyone outside the room knew, we experienced what I can only refer to as an unheard-of epiphany in quantum entanglement, on an order of magnitude to make any string theorist simply knotted with rage.

“And so, Quassim, to the girl I left behind in Las Vegas, along with my best pair of flip flops, I’d like to dedicate Erwin Schrödinger’s “Copenhagen Paradox Funk,” and I just want her to know that she’ll always be the brightest star in this mans’ space/time continuum…”

“♫ Quassim’s coast to coast… ♬”

“And now we’ve reached that moment you’ve all been waiting for; that moment when we reveal a brand new number one smash hit on the countdown. And this week’s number one appears out of nowhere. No one saw them coming, and certainly we haven’t any idea where they came from. Here’s their lead singer and song writer, Snoddly Thumpernickel, to explain how they came about with the bands’ name:”

“Well, you know, dude, like, we were just getting together and having some, like, hot sessions of imaginary thought experiments? and these other dudes were, like, all ‘oh no you didn’t’ and we were all, like, ‘oh yes we did’ and then they were all ‘oh no you didn’t’ and then we were all, like, ‘oh yes we did’, and then one thing led to another? and they, like, started making fun of our sudden key changes? and calling it modulation by sledge hammer? and, like, key change by hand grenade? and then they just started making explosion sounds every time we wanted to, like, shift tonalities? and they were all, like, ‘oh yes we did’ and then we were all, like, ‘oh no they didn’t’ and then they were all, like, ‘oh yes we did’ and so we, like, started shouting the noise before they could? and then they were, like, all ‘oh no they didn’t’ and we were all, like, ‘oh yes we did’ and then they were, like, gone? all of a sudden, and, like, then we could play in peace, and so we kept the idea but we changed it up little? cause we’re, like, artists? see, and, like, ain’t nobody gonna out-diss us.”

“And there you have it, folks. Coming from their brand new, never before heard song, debuting at number one on this weeks’ countdown, we have the following, heart-felt lyrics:

“When will it all end…
“Where will it all end…
“Do I have time for a cup of coffee?”

“Here’s the Big Bang Band, with their numb…


  1. Hysterical. I wish I’d written this. I’ll try not to steal it. And thanks, again, for your frequent hovering at


    • Alas, I am not a philosophy professor, nor do I even play one on TV… It would seem I’m to be relegated to the philosophical sidelines; cause ain’t no one gonna pay me to say the kind of stuff I feel compelled to say when I read stuff like his. Hopefully, I’ll make it all clear in Pt. II, and then we can all go out for a big ol’ honking existentialist brunch, or something…


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