Bedtime Story

Avatar

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

Related Post Roulette

22 Responses

  1. Avatar Just John says:

    And then it was 1789.Report

  2. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    The kings and nobles that ruled them were vane, corrupt and cared little for those they were charged with protecting.

    “Vane” meaning that they know which way the wind is blowing, no doubt.

    I’m not getting the allegory at all, so I don’t have anything constructive to say. I just wanted to point out the unintentionally apt misspelling.Report

    • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      “vane” also means changeable or inconstant. Up until I saw the misspelled “their” I was certain he’d been exceptionally clever.Report

      • Avatar RTod in reply to wardsmith says:

        True story: In my college freshman lit class, our first reading assignment was More’s Utopia. Since it was our first writing assignment in college, we were given a choice between an essay or describing what the perfect Utopian College would be like. It seems like less work so I did the latter, and made fake aimed-at-HS-Senoirs literature about the college, the kind that I had gotten by the bushel the pervious year.

        A week later he singled me out and praised my work in class, saying at first he thought all of my ideas were so dim as to be laughable, but he began to notice all the typos and misspellings and realized it was a brilliant parody.

        It wasn’t, of course. I am just a horrible typist and speller, and I cannot proof read my own stuff. When I reread tit years later, I cringed at how laughable the ideas were.

        I got an A+ on the project, the last I would ever get in that class.Report

  3. Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

    And many a manly Thinker found that a comely lass might grant him favor for his Trippy status.

    It was here that I realized he wasn’t indulging in fantasy, but surrealism.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      “Why did you become a mathematician?”

      “For the hot babes”.

      “But mathematicians don’t get hot babes.”

      “I was misinformed.”Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Aleph-null bottles of beer on the wall,
        Aleph-null bottles of beer,
        You take one down, and pass it around,
        Aleph-null bottles of beer on the wall.Report

        • Avatar patrick in reply to North says:

          A mathematician, a physicist, and an engineer are all attending the same conference. By chance, they all wind up staying at the same hotel, which has notorious but unpublished problems with its in-room space heaters.

          The first night, the space heater in the engineer’s room shorts and her curtains catch on fire. The engineer wakes up, quickly picks up the ice bucket from the bedside stand, unplugs the space heater with her foot, dashes into the bathroom, fills up the ice bucket, and returns to extinguish the fire. This being already a long joke, she decides it is safe and goes back to bed.

          The second night, there is a short in the physicists room and again the curtain catches on fire. The physicist wakes up and sees the situation, unplugs the space heater with his foot, dashes into the bedroom, fills up a small glass with water and returns to throw it on the flames. Having shown that water will indeed extinguish this fire, he returns to the bathroom, fills up the ice bucket, and runs back out to put out the fire. Satisfied, he goes back to sleep.

          The third night, there is a short in the mathematician’s room. He awakens, trips over the cord to the space heater (luckily unplugging it) and manages to make it to the bathroom. Filling a small glass with water, he returns to the main room and throws it on the fire. Seeing that water will put out the fire, and thus confident that induction shows the fire will be extinguished, he goes back to sleep, and the hotel burns down.Report

          • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to patrick says:

            A mathematician and an engineer are each presented with an identical room containing a stove and a pan of water sitting on the floor. Each is asked to boil the water. The engineer picks up the pan, puts it on the stove, turns on the heat, and after a bit the water boils. The mathematician does precisely the same thing in his room.

            The two are then presented with the same problem, only now the pan of water is sitting on a small table. The engineer picks up the pan of water, puts it on the stove, turns on the heat, and after a bit the water boils. The mathematician picks up the pan of water and places it on the floor, then leaves.

            When asked to explain himself, the mathematician says, “I reduced it to a problem whose solution is already known.”Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to patrick says:

            I prefer the joke about elephants.

            “Mathematicians hunt elephants by catching every animal in Africa, throwing away whatever isn’t an elephant, and taking one of whatever is left. Experienced mathematicians prove the existence of at least one unique elephant before proceeding to Step 1 as a subordinate exercise. Professors of mathematics prove the existence of at least one unique elephant, declare the exercise trivial, and assign their grad student to the detection and capture of an actual elephant.”Report

          • Avatar patrick in reply to patrick says:

            Q: What’s purple and commutes?

            A: Abelian grapes!Report

  4. Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

    To be much more serious for a moment.

    As an empirical matter, this story rings true. It’s obvious, even.

    But are we comfortable with the implication — which I detect, and which others might not — that the content of the philosophy itself is always irrelevant?

    Put less confrontationally, are some philosophies more immune to these processes than others? Or are all equal in this sense?Report

    • Avatar patrick in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      Philosophies? Or frameworks of thought, more generally?

      I’d say that generally speaking, philosophy progresses like any other discipline. However, I’d also say that applied anything suffers from similar implementation details.

      We’ll see, when we get to colonization. Self-selecting your starting group might make a big difference.Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to patrick says:

        Two quick replies.

        First, even some philosophers would beg to differ about whether philosophy really progresses.

        Second, I can’t imagine anyone putting any faith in colonization.Report

        • Avatar patrick in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

          > First, even some philosophers would beg
          > to differ about whether philosophy really
          > progresses.

          I suppose this depends on how one defines progress. If you’re trying to solve the same problem, and you’re all developing frameworks that have to punt on some serious deficiency in order to claim to solve the problem, then your particular framework suffers from the same weakness that the last guy’s framework did, really. On the other hand, if I have six different frameworks to look at the same situation and they call come to the same conclusion about what’s the right thing to do, I’m likely better off than if I only have one.

          Every framework has its own blind spots. I’d rather have six different instruments to measure something than only one. Seven’s even better.

          > Second, I can’t imagine anyone putting any
          > faith in colonization.

          The Universe will outlast the Earth, Mr. K. Indeed, by a stretch of time so unimaginably large that they don’t even compare.

          Sooner or later, we’re going to get our butts off this rock. Or, this rock will be uninhabitable and the point will be moot. As pessimistic as I am about many things relating to the human condition, we’re feisty buggers and we have a tendency to survive pretty major crises.Report

        • Avatar Murali in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

          We call them charter cities now. The other word c****y is verbotem.Report

    • Avatar RTod in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      @ Jason: “But are we comfortable with the implication — which I detect, and which others might not — that the content of the philosophy itself is always irrelevant?

      Put less confrontationally, are some philosophies more immune to these processes than others? Or are all equal in this sense?”

      I think the issue is that philosophy is a single blade that we assume we can use as a swiss army knife. (Yep, I’m going to leave this terrible metaphor there just cause I’ve already typed it.)

      Philosophy seems to work phenomenally as an academic exercise, and I do not use that phrase facetiously. As a way to hone logical thinking and problem solving (in a purely verbal way) philosophy is a great tool; it may be second to none when it comes to sharpening a mind.

      But when we decide that we can – for lack of better wording – use it as a noun and not a verb, it never works.

      I think philosophy works well when sharpening policy. I think it leads to bad things when used as a goal in and of itself.Report

  5. Avatar Kyle Cupp says:

    Even the best of all possible philosophies wouldn’t rid the kingdom of corrupt, vain rulers or eliminate the people’s lingering sad sense that the kingdom could be better. The boy set out to do the impossible, and learned (maybe) that whatever benefit philosophy has, the kingdom isn’t governed by it. It’s ruled by people who will use whatever they can, the good and the bad, to hold and gain power. The boy really should have started a cable news network.Report

  6. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    “As Trippyism grew in stature, some of the Thinkers were joyful to learn that their place in the movement brought great personal boon. Shopkeepers often gave them meat pies for free, or refilled their tankards without extra charge.”

    Of course, since Trippyism had privation and asceticism as two of its most fundamental tenets, those Thinkers who availed themselves of these benefits were not truly practicing Trippyism. But admitting this would wreck the parable so we’ll pretend it doesn’t matter.Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *