Monday, August 29, 2005

From Information Clearing House (who always offers an even and fairhanded look at world events*) Finding Closure
"While in Iraq, I never once saw a terrorist with extreme inclinations for senseless bloodshed, but only angry farmers and shop keepers who for one reason or another wish to end our empirical domination over their homeland."
* That was sarcasm.
The sun burns angry and red over the dusty village, as a U.S. Army HUMVEE pulls up in front of an Iraqi market. Four marines in full combat gear exit the vehicle, their weapons ready. The marines approach the market, stopping when they spot an Iraqi farmer and a shopkeeper engaged in intense discussion. The marines surround the two Iraqis, and a sunburned marine sergeant in Ray-Bans growls "What are you two doing?"

The Iraqi shopkeeper responds:
"Well sergeant, based on fundamental propositions of logic and mathemetics, which can be intuited by everyone, we are constructing a comprehensive metaphysical system."

"That's right!" exclaims the farmer. "You see, given that there are certain things we can be said to know a priori, and given the superiority of pure reason over knowledge gained through the senses, we can..."


The two Iraqis stand in shocked silence, their ears ringing from the gunfire. The Marine sergeant has just emptied a full magazine into the dirt at their feet.

The sergeant starts shouting: "We did not come all the way over here to liberate you people, only to have you start messing around with some kind of... Cartesian Epistemology!" The sergeant's face twists in disgust as he says the last two words, and the other marines grumble in assent. "How can you claim that some kind of knowledge exists... BEFORE EXPERIENCE?!?! That doesn't even make any sense! There is absolutely no such thing as an innate idea!"

A younger marine, a Lance Corporal, joins in: "Sarge is right. Nihil in intellectu quod prius non fuerit in sensu. Wait- how do you say that in Arabic?" He pulls a tattered dictionary out of his pocket and starts to search.

"Save it Corporal, we've still got to find that hidden cache of Platonic Dialogues before the sun sets." says the sergeant. "And you two," he adds, pointing at the two Iraqis, "I don't want to hear any more about the use of reason as a primary source of knowledge." With that, the marines climb back into the HUMVEE and it speeds off.

The Iraqi farmer looks at the Iraqi shopkeeper with a resigned expression, but the shopkeeper is furious. He raies his fist and shouts "Curse these Americans and their empirical domination!"


Sean Reilly said...

Karl, that was inspired!

At first I thought you were baiting me with the cheap shots at Infoclearinghouse, but the prose that followed.

I am in awe. You should write a book in that style. It reminds me an updated version of one of Asimov's vignettes.


foobar said...

Awesome. Hilarious.

Karl said...

Glad you guys liked it. "empirical domination" irritated me to the point of inspiration. By the way, have you heard this one...?

A Rationalist and an Empiricist are traveling on a train. The Rationalist gets out his bread and spreads butter on it. It falls. It falls the butter side down. The rationalist says, "Why is it that every time you drop a piece of bread it falls the butter side down?" The Empiricist says, "Just like you rationalists ? you ask why, you don?t even know if! Let?s try it and see!" He takes a piece of bread and he butters it. He drops it. It falls the butter side up. He says, "You see, it doesn?t always fall butter side down." The Rationalist says, "Fool... You buttered the wrong side!"

"As the Rationalist finishes his reply, a Pragmatist at the next table looks over and says, "Why are you guys throwing your toast on the floor?"

Michael Turton said...

ROFL. I'll be snickering whenever I think about that for at least a week.

apostropher said...

That is too funny, Karl. And the toast joke is priceless.