Welcome to Existentialists Anonymous

Who can tell me why we’re here?

Existentialism? Don’t even get me Sartred! I live my life in accordance with the philosophy of the three Es; Excellence, Efficiency, and Intelligence.

I promise not to be a Kant, nor will I pretend to know stuff about philosophy when I actually know Foucalt, my working hypothesis is that I will keep my philosophy puns to a minimum, while paradoxically promoting the theory that to truly appreciate a pun, you must drop your Kierkegaard, and Goethe the heart of the pun, if not, you’ll be Soren.

The other day I met up for a beer with my friend Plato. I suggested this particular bar because they have free why-fi for philosophers. Plato is a professor of philosophy. He loves my mix of philosophy and comedy. He always laughs more than he thinks.

“Hello Plato, why are you?”

He rolled his eyes for some reason.

We discussed the recent death of our friend Karl.

“He was so Jung,” I said.

“So, Lee, how are you?”

“I’m a bit tired Plato, last night I woke up in the middle of a dream about human reason being the source of moral law. It was eye-opening.”

“Immanuel Kant?” asked Plato.

“That’s right, but at least Immanuel tried,” I said.

Plato sighed.

“Lee, are you talking about the individual experience of humanity?”

“Actually Plato, the future of humanity worries me. It’s unsettling to think of a future where humanity has to explore space because Earth is no longer inhabitable.”

“Lee, it’s best to concentrate on the here and now.”

“Plato, I completely agree. Marx my words, remaining focused on the here and now is best. But as each year comes to an end, I can’t help but think about all the people I’ve lost along the way. That entrenched negative mindset has long gone.”

“And the fact, you’re no longer a tour guide Lee. Have you ever considered the wondrously, inexplicable multifaceted nature of life?”

“Of course I have Plato. I’m not a complete idiot. Only the other day I was gazing up at the sky and wondering how stars die.”

“I’m impressed, Lee. When a star runs out of nuclear fuel, it collapses and the outer layers explode as a supernova. That my friend is how stars die.”

“I did not know that,” said I to Plato. Even though he’s a professor, Plato can be a bit daft sometimes, everyone knows stars normally die of drug overdoses.

“Lee, your own individuality should be the cornerstone of your worldview, not the life experience of insignificant people you do not know. Celebrities give us humans a bad name.”

“Talking about celebrities that give humans bad names, only the other day I heard Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are going to name their next child Psalm West. People are already criticising them over their decision to raise the child as a hymn and a her. Plato, can’t you see those two give so much purpose to peoples lives? ”

“Those two lack so much class, they could be a Marxist utopia, but seriously Lee, you should be embracing the chaos that is your behaviours and feelings from being a living human individual.”

“Talking about chaos Plato, when I was religious, a voice once told me “smile and be happy, for it can always be worse. I smiled, pretended to be happy, and it did get worse.”

“You mean when you were depressed, Lee?”

“Yeah alright, Plato! No need to put a depressing Spinoza on things.”

“Lee, remember that each of us is a free, responsible and independent agent, deciding our own growth through acts of our choosing.

“To be honest Plato, what you’re saying is too Confucius. Also, it sounds like hard work to me.”

“Lee, viewing our lives through the stereotypes, and labels attributed to us by others is not good.”

“Plato, I’d rather live a life where I take on the persona of the negative labels people give me, taking on little to no responsibility for my actions, being dependent on others and not doing anything purposeful with my life.”

“But Lee, these labels are not responsible for giving meaning to life, your attitude is.”

I do try with Plato, but like I said, he’s a bit daft sometimes.

Is it just me, or was the above conversation solipsistic?

I find it frustrating that Plato doesn’t believe we have no ‘free will’. He can’t see that everything that happens, including human interaction, is deterministic. I’m sorry for the vent, but I just had to say that.

As Plato continued to talk nonsense, a pun, joke, word-play and satirical story walked into the bar.

“I dream of a world where I walk down the street and hear people talk about morality, sustainability and philosophy, instead of the Kardashians”

Keanu Reeves

Originally published in Medium publication The Partnered Pen, 20th December 2019.

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