Fri 6 Aug, 2010 01:40 pm
The Purveyor of Used Philosophy
I first saw the giant pink Socrates, listing slightly in the wind. Then I noticed the banner stretched across the building. It read “A. O. Kay’s Used Philosophy.” I’d been considering trading mine in, so I pulled into the parking lot there.
I had foolishly hoped to peruse the various philosophies, without having to endure a sales pitch, but that was not to be. I was immediately approached by Mr. Kay himself.
“I bet you’re ready to trade in that clunker you’ve got,” he said, while handing me his card.
“Well, I’m just looking around.”
“There’ll never be a better day to trade; I’ve got everything priced to sell.”
“Your sign says the red tag sale goes through this weekend.”
“But, you won’t have this selection if you wait ‘till this weekend,” he retorted, never missing a beat. “You’re a young man; let me show you this little jobbie right here.”
He led me to a rather handsome looking philosophy that looked like it could run two hundred miles an hour.
“It looks rather complicated. What make is it?”
“It’s a Frege Super Analytica; it’s got Logi-spark ignition and Posi-lock differential and boy she’ll fly if you fiddle with ‘er enough.”
“I just need a good one to use daily; besides, I probably couldn’t keep that one maintained.”
“Hah, you can’t use it daily, that one’s just for exhibitions and special events,” he laughed. “You sure know how to get in over your head, let me show you something more your speed.”
“But you’re the one ….”
“Let’s look at this one,” he interrupted. “This one’s a Continental.”
“It’s roomy and looks good.” I said.
“These are pretty popular; they’re hard to beat for having a good selection of features.”
I opened the door and sat down on the comfortable seat. It did indeed seem to have everything one would need. But I was skeptical of its practicality, and cost.
“How much?” I asked.
“I can get you into this baby for just $30K.”
“Oh, that’s more than I wanted to spend.”
“Nonsense, you’ve got good credit don’t you?”
“I’m sure my credit’s good, but I don’t want that much debt.” I had learned lessons about debt. A man never lives for himself if he’s too indebted to someone else. All his decisions become someone else’s and not his own.
“Look at those features, and she’ll hold her resale value too,” he encouraged.
“I don’t think so … what about this one?”
“You don’t want that, it’s an Epicurean Zephyr; they went out of business and you can’t get parts for it.” He looked agitated. “The Continental is a much better choice.”
I was getting agitated with him as well. “I think I’ll stick with what I’ve got for a while longer.”
“How about this Bentham Utility?”
“No, I can respect it, but …”
“Well, I thought you had some self respect, but I guess you just want to stay with that piece of **** you have.”
“I’ll have you know that ‘piece of ****’ has served me well.” “I know every rattle and squeak intimately, it takes me everywhere I need to go, I can fix it myself when something breaks, and it’s paid for!”
I left Mr. Kay and decided to never set foot on his lot again, unless it was to toss a Molotov cocktail through his plate glass window.
I am currious as to what "Purveyor of Used Philosophy" means in this analogy. It is not as though philosophy is some sort of tent revival gospel. Other than in the case of academia, who would pay for their philosophy?
If you were considering trading in your philosophy (of which you have neither explained nor why you might want a new one), this analogy does not seem to demonstrate a particularly rational means of doing so.
And would throwing bombs into windows not be what the fundamentalist does?
He’s a used car salesman. No one would pay cash for philosophy.
Why else would the character arrive at the lot if he was not considering trading his in? The story takes place in another galaxy where such things are possible and are common.
Yes, it's what a fundamentalist does.