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The Angry Philosophers

By Al Schumann on Friday January 7, 2011 01:52 PM

I get email from them. They want to leverage the power of the internet into a tool for revolutionary irredentism; for change; for progressive Rooseveltian change; perhaps change we can believe in, even if that's looking shopworn and cynical. After a while, they wonder why the power of the internet hasn't led to the desired revolution. Then they blame elitists, perfectionists, purists and some dude named Ralph.

Their reasoning is masterful. They are revolutionary philosophers and they are using the internet. They have thought deeply and concluded that this is the best possible use of their time. Therefore it's best possible use of my time. Get active, they tell me. Do something. Do something progressive. So I do, but I suspect mocking their entreaties is not what they have in mind.

I have labored to express a home truth to them. My direct approach hasn't worked. It makes no sense to them. I've tried, but we're not operating on the same wavelength. My most recent response takes the form of a ludicrous, disingenuously enthusiastic syllogism.

Something needs to be done.
This is something.
Therefore it needs to be done.

This doesn't work either, but it has the virtue of being philosophically irrefutable. It also makes them angrier, but that can't be helped. Progress and its cheerleaders will have to learn to cope.

Comments (10)

Who needs to do something, when we have Carl Davidson to continue the rebellion? Just follow.

Al Schumann:

That's cyber-radicalism I can believe in.

Fucking words.

May I play?

Something needs to be done.
This is being done.
Therefore this is something.


It needing to be done is a state that is never satisfied by this (i.e., your something) b/c even if it is something, it will always be needing to be done. Doing it accomplishes nothing; its existential (modal) state being one of continual need, i.e., never being done.


Something needs to be done.
This is being done.
Therefore it needs something.

Al Schumann:

Yes, painfully. Corporate operant conditioning gradually eradicates all meaning from communication. It tropes to tactical status games and advocacy posturing from people who try to make a living selling a postured existence. They take rejection as a threat to their livelihood.

Al Schumann:

Lovely syllogisms, Jim. The last is one I could live by.

Al, nice catch.

Al Schumann:

Thanks, Jack. Exposure to said operant conditioning has left me a with a tendency to edge away. My nose itches and my feet start tingle. If I were a squid, I'd jet some ink. Instead, I have syllogisms that serve more or less the same social purpose.


ya thanx jack..for everything

and oh ya ...thanx ralph

[laughs, chokes on third cup of coffee]



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