Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Not a genius, I just play one…

As many of you know, I am majoring in philosophy at Cal State University Fullerton. It’s not the best college but I can… well, I can’t afford it… but I can not afford it better than I could not afford other colleges…

There’s a lot of hubbub going around about the annual philosophical symposium. It’s not exactly excitement about the symposium; the hubbub is about how little excitement there is. But then, how could you blame anyone for not being excited? The presentations are on personal identity and time travel, philosophical language in ancient Chinese thought, the philosophy of global warming, and the ever-popular and done to fucking death topic: Are we living in a computer simulation. BORING! I mean, let’s face it, how does this apply to anyone? Even the topical idea of global warming is made moribund by not addressing the fact of the matter head-on! And that’s the problem with philosophy in the 21st century… it’s fucking dull. It’s paste served up as an entrée. We’re surrounded by the most mind-rending problems and some asshole decides he wants to do 20 minutes on a bong-hit about The Matrix… “Dude, we’re all like machines!”

Son of a bitch.

But wait. Step back a minute.

Because this blog is being written by the guy who knows the answer to the question “What is Success?” He’s written a book about it. He’s provided an essential answer to one of the biggest questions that plagues modern man… and can’t sell it for shit. No one wants it. No one cares.

So what the fuck does Ken know?

But enough third-person… You’d think I’d learn a thing or two but you’d be horribly wrong. Last night, I was talking to Vicky about my latest topic: Free Will. Why is that still even a question? After many millennium, you’d think humanity would have that one licked, right? It seems pretty much like common sense. The common cold must be a bitch but free will is pretty much a YES or NO answer. And what do we get? MAYBE. Depending on your religious and practical beliefs, we may or may not have free will.

That’s not an answer. Do we have free will or not?

It depends.

It’s the answer a child would give. It’s been avoided and shoved in the back with the rye krisps. And yet, these are exactly the kinds of questions philosophers are supposed to be answering, lest they end up looking like a bunch of circle-jerk monkeys. “Personal identity and time travel”, my ass.

Well, here’s the thing… I know the answer.

I know, you’re thinking the same thing as when I started the book on success: “He’s loony.” I won’t discount that as a possibility. After all, other people are making money ripping off the Matrix, so what the fuck do I know? I’d like to make this my next book, as I’m nearly finished with the current one, but I’m too busy with school to do the research necessary for an entire book. So, I may need to hold on to the idea for a while… it’ll wait…

The reason I tell you all of this is to get to my topic. (I never said I wasn’t long winded.)

So, I’m lying in bed last night and I’m telling Vicky some of my ideas… and it’s giving her a headache. She says, “I’m just not smart like you are.”

Suddenly, DeAnna’s “Table for one” comment comes back. She was also one of those people who put me in a class by myself and told me that I’d always be alone. Nice.

I tend to cringe when people call me smart. I did last night, too. My defense, and I think it’s a good one, is that I’m not particularly bright; I just approach problems from a different angle than most people. The idea that I might be smarter, or just smart… I was picked on a lot as a kid because I was smarter than most kids my age and I ended up turning that around and, by high school, became funnier than most kids my age. I avoided being tarred with the epithet “smart” for many years.

Now, cringing is like an automatic response. When I cringed last night, I realized I was getting defensive, trying to brush away the label, and I found it kind of funny in a way. It was like, “Who are you calling smart?!” I’m 42 years old. I’m a philosophy major. I’ve written over a dozen books. I solved the question of success. And I know the answer to free will.

I’ll admit it: There’s a chance I’m smart.

But please, don’t hold that against me.

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