The Why and How of Unemployed Philosophers Guild
There┬'s a bad joke: The engineer asks ┬Ĺhow can I build that?┬' the scientist asks ┬Ĺhow does it work?┬' and the philosopher asks ┬Ĺdo you want fries with that?' In all fairness to the McPhilosopher, he┬'s probably not referring to ontological French fries, but the 18th centrury thinker Jacob Fries. Or maybe, post 9-11 he┬'s thinking about freedom. Anyway, some people think unemployed philosophers are funny. But why? Was it funny when we philosophers gave you Democracy, Justice, Truth, Science, the analysis of intramundane social practices, Freudian Slippers?
What was that last one?" you┬'re asking. How did that get slipped in there? Let me tell you.
In your first philosophy class you┬'ll read about Thales, the first Greek to ask the big philosophical questions. He┬'s famous for asking about the fundamental structure of the world (less famous for his answer: the world is water), but really it┬'s that other fact about Thales that makes him a favorite anecdote for philosophers. Thales reportedly used his knowledge to predict a huge olive season, bought most of the olive presses in town and made gobs of money out of it. (The question is never answered as to how his philosophical thoughts led him to this conclusion, we┬'re left to surmise that maybe since the world was water it would rain a lot?) Anyway, Thales stands out because he was not only the first western philosopher per se, he was also the first philosopher to actually make some money out of it, pro se.
Moving on, in the 19th century philosophy retreated to the university and became a strictly professional if not esoteric and silly affair. (I mean is there any wisdom in the modalities of the apodictic proposition, let alone a job?) For decade upon decade philosophy searched in vain for its own purpose until late in the last century when it was declared dead, (paradoxically, this was declared by philosophers).
Well, not everyone took those Cassandras to heart and out of the ashes like a phoenix rose the Unemployed Philosophers Guild. Here in the Ivory Tower we haven┬'t yet discovered the first principles of Being (though we concur that the world is watery and pace the whole 20th century Anglo-philosophizing, not formalizable!), but we have discovered that people seem to really like the giants of our educations reduced to little finger puppets, mugs and witty jokes. (Alright, we really should leave Hegel alone, but oddly he sells!) The Unemployed Philosophers Guild kills two birds with one stone: We make people laugh and earn enough money to read Spinoza and raise some families.
Despite what you may think, we think deeply about the things we do and the objects we bring into this world. Personally, I tested the Kierkegaard finger puppet while reading Hegel┬'s Geisteswissenschaften. (I knew Kierkegaard didn┬'t know shit about Hegel!) David and Alison did temporal thought experiments while wearing relativity watches. Subsequent to eating a ┬ôWill to Power Bar┬ö Jay had the energy to continue his day after declaring ┬ôGod is dead.┬ö
Anyway, suffice it to say we┬'re proud to return philosophy to the days of Thales, when a philosopher could, with some crackpot ideas, make a living and make the world a better place. How do we do it? We just do.
And what's better, part of every purchase you make goes to philosophically profound causes. The other part goes to extra gold plated faucets in the Ivory Tower bathrooms.
From the Philosophers Guild website