Updated: May 6
Early summer. Cafe overlooking the sea. The philosopher is waiting for the artist who is a bit late.
ARTIST: Well, here I am! PHILOSOPHER: Therefore you think?
ARTIST: I think I am, so I guess I am. Descartes was probably wrong that thinking was the basis of existence. PHILOSOPHER: So you agree with Hume?
ARTIST: Who? No! I figured it out myself. PHILOSOPHER: Oh no! This discussion has already taken place! In the eighteenth century…
ARTIST: Looks like all the discussions have already taken place... PHILOSOPHER: Yes...
ARTIST: So there's nothing left to talk about? PHILOSOPHER: Now we just take the discussions that have already happened and re-analyze them.
ARTIST: Like the rappers? PHILOSOPHER: Rappers?
ARTIST: Rappers! Sampling! Using snippets of old recordings and creating new qualities. PHILOSOPHER: Well, I guess so…
ARTIST: But what about Hume? PHILOSOPHER: Hume was a skeptic and did not agree with Descartes.
ARTIST: Oh: "I think, therefore I am"? PHILOSOPHER: Exactly! I think, but sometimes I don't think at all, which doesn't mean I'm not here. This sidewalk tile does not think either, but it IS, and quite painfully so, especially when someone stumbles over it.
ARTIST: But if I am, then I think I am, but if I don't think I am, then I may as well not be… PHILOSOPHER: This is a question of consciousness. Consciousness is not the same as thinking.
ARTIST: But where do you see the difference? PHILOSOPHER: Our thinking combines the raw elements of the world perceived in our consciousness and set into maps of connections and conditions. One results from the second, ergo: the third follows... Without thinking, we only have the drifting consciousness of a seahorse: look, swim, eat, fuck...
ARTIST: Sounds like paradise! PHILOSOPHER: Yes, thinking can be a burden. Especially when the connections of our consciousness elements are inappropriate, wrong, destructive...
ARTIST: Like you can actually think yourself to death, or convince yourself that you do not exist! PHILOSOPHER: You can! You can also just bring to life entire fictional worlds and accept them as real. How many people died just because they could not accept the deities of their invaders!
ARTIST: So how should we think? PHILOSOPHER: There is no clear answer to this question. After all, you can't force everyone to think in the only correct way, right? Many have already tried without success.
ARTIST: But there has to be at least some way to avoid the pitfalls of self-destructive or harmful thinking! PHILOSOPHER: You need a security system for that.
ARTIST: A what now? PHILOSOPHER: Let's say you have alcohol problem and you keep your liquors in a cabinet. One morning you wake up with a big hangover and decide to do something about it...
ARTIST: Well? PHILOSOPHER: You lock the cabinet with a key and hand the key to a trustworthy neighbor with clear instructions that he is to open the bar for you only once a week.
ARTIST: So my stronger present 'me' imposes a security system for the weaker 'me' from the future! PHILOSOPHER: Exactly! The same is true of thought traps, but it's a little more complicated.
ARTIST: I wouldn't even know where to start. PHILOSOPHER: Let's say from the ability to distinguish observed reality from imaginary fiction.
ARTIST: But how? PHILOSOPHER: Imagine a boundless yellow space that smells like cinnamon!
ARTIST: Okay! There it is! Imagined! PHILOSOPHER: Now imagine a cigarette butt on a dirty curb next to a puddle. There is still a trace of red lipstick at the end of it.
ARTIST: There it is! PHILOSOPHER: Which of these images reflect the truth?
ARTIST: I don’t know… The latter? PHILOSOPHER: None of them! They’re both imaginary situations that are equally fictional, even if one seems more likely than the other. It is enough to be aware that what we think is imagined, which should not be difficult at all...
ARTIST: And yet we still can't lock the liquor cabinet and find a trusted neighbor... PHILOSOPHER: Unfortunately!
ARTIST: How do you deal? PHILOSOPHER: I can't deal at all! I guess that's why I became a philosopher. I was mistakenly convinced that studying thoughts of others would give me a better understanding of reality. I have learned about all possible modes of thinking to a point of not being able to form an original thought. Now I feel just as dumb as any other person on this sorry planet.
ARTIST: Indeed… Even this very conversation could be recorded by some pretentious dick and published in the form of a Socratic dialogue in some obscure blog nobody reads... So why be a philosopher at all? PHILOSOPHER: For pleasure, if masochism is your game... Perhaps for the fun of observing trends of thought coming and going like tides... For example, until recently, talking about thinking and existence was passé, but now talking about it made philosophy relevant again.
ARTIST: Besides, when thinking fails, there is always the seahorse consciousness!
ARTIST: Alrighty! Let's try to experience reality with the consciousness of a seahorse. Look at that sunset! PHILOSOPHER: Beautiful!
ARTIST: That's what I'm talking about!
Moment of silence.
ARTIST: You know, now that I look at it, I think it reminds me of Monet's early color schemes... ARTIST, PHILOSOPHER (both): Bloody hell!
Moment of silence.
PHILOSOPHER: You know, it's been a long time since I heard someone say "bloody hell"...
ARTIST: Can we update it somehow? What about "oopsie daisy" or "holly cow"? How about "fuck this shit"? PHILOSOPHER: "Fuck this shit" does not fit. It's too vulgar. "Oopsie daisy" will make our Socratic conversation too grotesque.
ARTIST: So... "fuck"? PHILOSOPHER: No... too strong...
ARTIST: "Son of a gun!" PHILOSOPHER: Excellent! Curtain