Thursday, January 17, 2013

Jesus and academic philosophy

Just as with such historically-relevant figures as Mortimer Adler, Mitch Albom, Woody Allen, Randy Barnett, Glenn Beck, Ingmar Bergman, William F. Buckley, Warren Buffett, Frank Capra, George Carlin, Dale Carnegie, William D. Casebeer, Andrew Dice Clay, Carl Th. Dreyer, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Anne Frank, Viktor Frankl, Ben Franklin, Erich Fromm, 'Good Guy Glenn' Greenwald, Hal Hartley, Bill Hicks, Alfred Hitchcock, Thomas Jefferson, Carl Jung, Martin Luther King, Stanley Kubrick, Akira Kurosawa, Hugh Laurie, Jeffrey Lebowski (the loser, deadbeat Lebowski), John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Seth MacFarlane, Gustav Mahler, Malcolm X, Bob Marley, Abraham Maslow, Ludwig von Mises, Theodore Olson, Thomas Paine, Robert Pirsig, Ayn Rand, John D. Rockefeller, Fred Rogers, Marquis de Sade, Carl Sagan, Arthur Schnitzler, William Shakespeare, Snoop Dogg (Snoop Lion), Steven Spielberg, Lysander Spooner, Howard Stern, Jan Svankmajer, Andrei Tarkovsky, Henry David Thoreau, The Ultimate Warrior, Jimmy Wales, Orson Welles, Kanye West, Ken Wilber, Billy Wilder, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Oprah Winfrey, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Thom Yorke, to name but a few, there appears to be surprisingly little attention paid in academic-philosophy circles these days to arguably the most historically-influential figure of them all, Jesus of Nazareth. (!)

I believe what we have here is a failure to integrate.

(ULTIMATE PHILOSOPHER: I'll tell you what I'm blathering about: I've got information, man.  New shit has come to light!  Now, has it ever occurred to you that, instead of running around blaming me, given the nature of all this new shit, that you could, uh, uh, uh, quite-readily, uh, observe how the Dude, Walter, and Donny map on amazingly well to Plato's tripartite division of the soul?  (Far out!)  Has that ever occurred to you, man?  Sir?  ACADEMIA: No, Mr. Ultimate, that had not occurred to us.  ULTIMATE: Well, okay, so you're not privy to all the new shit, so uh, you know, but that's what you're supposed to be paying me for.  Speaking of which, would it possible for me to get my new lyceum venture funding in cash?  I'll have to check with my accountant, but I think it might bump me into a higher tax)

Why is this so important?  Well, it's important to approximately a billion people out there in the unwashed masses, not to mention the billions more throughout history who were deeply influenced by this historical figure.  So uh, professional philosophers, in keeping with their professional obligations, should be dialecticizing quite rigorously with this historical personage along the following lines: what is it about this guy that appeals to so many decent, hardworking, upstanding folks, and how can that be seamlessly integrated into standard academic-style moral philosophy?  See, out there, across the fruited plain, there's much interest in this man.  Way up there in the gilded ivory towers, on the other hand, they're talking about other things, admittedly of considerable importance (at one time in history it was about such things as how many angels could dance on the head of a pin, but I think they might have advanced a little beyond that since then), but little by the way of tying-in with what is of deep and vital significance to those folks down there.  Seems very provincial and cloistered or what have you, am I wrong?  (AS: Those are good burgers, Spirited Warrior Soul.  SWS: Shut the fuck up, Appetitive Soul.)

I thought philosophy was supposed to be preocuppied to the point of overflowing with matters of deep and vital importance with respect to the human condition.  Meaning of life, and whatnot.  Would the non-ivory-tower-dwelling people way down there ever know that, looking way up at the gilded ivory towers?  They've got that one Book to provide them guidance, at least.  Are the gilded-ivory-tower-dwellers providing anything comparable, beyond a few stray crumbs once in a while?  You've got Rawlsy-pooh going on and on about maximin solutions to a hypothetical bargaining situation, while you've got the Good Book going on and on about preparing one's soul for eternal salvation; which of the two are the folks down there in thatched-hut land going to find of greater use and relevance to their lives?  Do the gilded-ivory-tower-dwellers even give a shit enough to make themselves more relevant to the plebs?  To the money-grubbing business owners who produce the goods that make many a comfortable ivory-tower lifestyle possible?

The very least the gilded-ivory-tower-dwellers could do (the pen being mightier than the sword, etc.), is launch a highly effective and coordinated campaign to get cannabis legalized, so at the very least those people way, way, way, way down there could experience the same cognitive advantages of which Carl Sagan and the strict-drug-regimented Dude spoke.  I mean, isn't that what Sagan would do?  (How many of the gilded-ivory-tower-dwellers way, way, way, way, way up there have even read Sagan?  What have they been doing all this time?  How many of them have even memorized every line in Lebowski, like they're fucking s'postuh so that they can communicate on a level field of play with all the achievers out there (and proud we are of all of them)?  If they have failed to achieve, even in that modest task which is their charge, then they're out of their element, like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie and)  What would Jefferson do?

WANDA: What would Plato do, Otto?

Okay, okay, I'll roll back point No. 7 in my list of Ultimate Cliff demands to account for the fact that world peace between nations, and between governments and their own peoples, is much more doable if all the nations are democratic, seeing as how, as a matter of inductively-certain fact, democracies practically never go to war with one another or have governments massacring the citizenry.  This is a fact widely and amply conveyed in no uncertain terms by the ivory-tower-dwellers to the fruited-plain dwellers, is it not?  And if not, why not?  So what desperately needs to happen is a way-fun-and-productive re-creation of the School of Athens, only all the participants are getting semantically hyper-primed with Kanye West music (e.g., "Get 'em High""Can we get much higher?"), and a lot of dudettes need to be there too, of course, for the music to make perfective sense, and there needs to be a thick, thick haze.  The cultural and technological singularities would happen in a jiffy, am I wrong?

10 percent finder's fee, at least?

What Would Duder Do?

What Would Bob Marley Do?

What Would Jesus Do?