Dialogue from the ivory tower

By Sener Akturk

Descartes: Cogito ergo sum.

Kant: Wissen macht frei!

Plato: Know thyself! (No one replies)

Plato: The only thing I know is that I don’t know anything. (Pause) Speak to me! I want attention. I’m a spoiled and pretentious philosopher, whose ideas don’t make any sense.

Schopenhauer: Plato, we all know that you’re totally ignorant. Shut up already. There are far better people to talk in this social occasion.

Plato: Well then, by “better” do you mean the more intelligent? Say yes or no. And shouldn’t the better have more of everything?

Robespierre: No, certainly not. We are no fools who say “yes” to each and every one of your nonsensical assumptions. All people are created equal. Shut up Plato. Stop trying to brainwash us with your elitist rhetoric. If I was alive when you were alive, you’d soon be dead because I’d kill you.

Plato: (elated) See, your logic is fallacious, because you just said

Democritos: Enough already with your world of ideas, Plato. Didn’t I tell you that the world is made up of atoms? You keep telling these foolish children stories about the shadows in a cave and how they represent our world and the worlds beyond. You’re a liar!

Schopenhauer: Let’s beat Plato! (Schopenhauer and other materialists lambaste Plato.)

St.Augustine: I believe in God.

Voltaire: And I don’t. I hate the church. I want to burn it down. And indeed, long after I die, people will follow my advice and do exactly that.

St. Augustine: You are a heretic! (Augustine slaps Voltaire; in turn, Voltaire bites off Augustine’s ear.) Oh my God, and only my God, this guy is the anti-Christ.

Nietzsche: Excuse me, that’s me. I’m the self-identified anti-Christ and philosopher.

Kierkegaard: Whenever I think of God, a fear and a trembling take over my body.

Spinoza: Look, Soren, I know that you’re this devout Christian and all that, but I just believe in God and that’s about it. Tell me, Augustine, how did you become a saint?

St.Augustine: I wrote so many books, more than anyone else, and they made me a saint!

Woolf: Listen to my story, some woman asked me for three guineas, and rather than giving them to her, I wrote a book instead. Just three guineas, could I be more miserly?

Freud: My mom was so cute.

Woolf: Excuse me Sigmund, did you say something?

Freud: I said my mom was so cute. And she wasn’t a miser like you, she was very generous. So is my daughter, Anna. Do you know her?

Woolf: Oh yes, I do know her, and she is cute. (Hobbes rushes into the room, kicks Freud, pushes Woolf to the side, punches Augustine, spits on Nietzsche)

Rousseau: What are you doing Thomas? We live by a social contract. You can’t just walk into a place and kick everyone around!

Hobbes: That’s what you think, Jean-Jacques. We live in a world of anarchy. War of all against all. I declare war of all against all. Hurrah!

Rousseau: Hey guys, let’s show him ‘the war of all against one.’ (Rousseau and the other theorists of social embeddedness kill Hobbes) That’s what happens if you break the social contract. We kill you. You live in a society, and don’t you forget it.

Locke: Sir, I finished my thesis paper, it is called “The Second Treatise on Government.”

Pink Floyd: Great, John, you’re doing great. But where is the first treatise on government?

Locke: There is no first treatise.

Pink Floyd: How can you have any pudding if you don’t have a first treatise? Seriously, John, how can you write a second treatise if there is no first treatise to begin with?

Locke: I don’t know. (Starts crying) I cheated from Thomas. I said there were only individuals to begin with, no families, no communities, just individuals out of the blue, and then they made a contract so as to found a society.

Pink Floyd: How can you be so stupid! This is the most apparently wrong theory I’ve every heard.

Smith: Be quiet! I can’t hear the interest accruing: 1_, 2_, 3_

Marx: You are an exploitative capitalist, thinking only about your profits!

Smith: Oh, thank you Karl! I wish I could live up to your expectations. But in reality, I’m just an insignificant British subject residing in Edinburgh.

Marx: Seriously, don’t you think about all the workers, working all day, alienated performing basically the same task for 25 years?

The Beatles: You know I work all day, to get you money, to buy you things. And when I come home to you, all things that you do

Marx: I want regulation. Indeed, I want the market forces to be completely subordinated to the state authority.

Smith: I want free market. Free market! Aaaggrhh! (Smith pulls Marx’s beard. Marx knocks him out in a single punch. Smith is in coma.)

Polanyi: (Turns to Durkheim) Look, Emile, this is what I call the double-movement—The struggle between the tendency of the market to expand, and the society’s response to regulate and subordinate it according to its own needs.

Durkheim: Karl, let me tell you something: this society needs morals and a new code of morality. This shall be a comprehensive and modern code of conduct, appropriate for the needs of the industrial society.

Hegel: Don’t worry guys, the world history moves forward in a progressive fashion. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis; progressive dialectic is that simple. Let them fight it out and move the history forward, bringing property and happiness to all… Here comes Karl.

Marx: I will turn you upside down and materialize it.

Hegel: Materialize what?

Marx: Materialize your dialectic; it doesn’t appeal to my tastes as it stands now.

Hegel: Shut up, Karl. Go materialize yourself. And stop fighting with Adam. You look like a ghost already.

Marx: Yes, I’m a ghost, I’m a spectre…Spectre of communism, haunting Europe. (Marx is given a straightjacket and put into the U of C hospitals, along with his rival, Smith.)

Nietzsche: Why am I so great? How am I so great? Why do my writings have Nazi undertones? I don’t care. I’m the Ubermensch! (Attempts to fly; fails, breaks his skull.)

Brad Pitt: Friedrich, I want to ask you something: If someone is totally insane, as you clearly are, do you know that you’re insane? Do you go home and say “I can’t believe how crazy I am!?” (Nietzsche can’t answer, since he is bleeding to death.)

Kant: Knowledge makes me free! (Singing) Oh yeah, knowledge makes me free!

Foucault: Shut up Immanuel! You suck! I’m a postmodern. I criticize everything and produce nothing to replace it with. I suck. My purpose in life is to confuse smart and dumb people alike, forcing them into complete indolence and lethargy. I make no sense.

Habermas: That was honest. And true.