I joke, therefore I am

This is the forth speech in the Humorously Speaking manual. The objective of the speech is to open with a self-depreciating joke and use at least two sets of series of jokes in the body.

Many of you may already know I am studying philosophy in SFU part time. I have learned to reason like Descartes, debate like Socrates. I though my arguments are invincible, until I have an disagreement with my wife. She simply says, “Honey, you are wrong.”

Dear Mr. Chairman, fellow toastmasters. I joke, therefore I am. Many people think philosophy is useless, boring and difficult. The mafia boss gives offers no one can reject, a mafia boss who studies philosophy gives offers no one can understand. I was a curious little boy since I was young. I like to answer weird questions like, Is there a God; What is good and evil; Do I exist? When my mom annoyed by my questions, she would just told me to shut up. Later when I grew older, I found all those questions all under a discipline called philosophy. Philosophy means the love of wisdom literally. I found philosophy very interesting and thought provoking.

The first course I took in philosophy is the history of philosophy. I learned philosophers from Plato to Aristotle, Descartes to Hume, Kant to Hegel. If you asked me what do they have in common? They are all dead. I learned that for every great philosopher, there exists an equal an opposite philosopher; and both of them are wrong. I did not get the answer for my questions, instead I got ten different answers and why each of them is wrong.

I still could not answer my questions, but I learn a few things about philosophers. I learned Occam shaves with a razor; Hume eats with a fork and Russell’s teapot is lost in space. I know Schrodinger has a cat, Pascal is addicted to gambling and God said Nietzsche is dead.

The mind-body problem always intrigue me. How do I know I really exists, not merely a brain living in a test tube hook up to the Matrix? I took a course in metaphysics to find the answers. Metaphysics means studies beyond our physical world, question the foundation of reality. In the end I figured out the answer to the mind-body problem. What is a mind? No matter. What is a body? Never mind.

Recently, I took a course in ethics to learn what is right from wrong or how to argue a wrong is a right. In the class, I learned different ethical theories. Aristotle said doing good is a virtue; Kant said doing good is our duty; Locke said doing good is having a good end result; Hobby said doing good is like we agree not to kill each other. I am a bit confused where ethics comes from. As an engineer, I know electricity comes from electron, so morality must comes from morons.

Although I am inspired to become a philosopher, but I end up being an engineer. Do you know what is the difference between a philosopher and an engineer? About 80k per year. Philosophers think hard on many great questions of all time. They think about the meaning of life, the dilemma of truth, the existence of the world, but they forgot the most important question: How to make a living?

The philosophy department in SFU is having a meeting. Suddenly an angel appears in the room in front of dean of the philosophy department and says, “I’ll grant you whichever of three blessings you choose. Wisdom, beauty or ten million dollars.” Without hesitation, the professor chooses wisdom. There is a flash of lighting, the professor is transformed, but then he just sits there, staring down at the table. One of his colleagues whispers, “You have great wisdom. Say something!” The professor says, “I should have taken the money!”

2 thoughts on “I joke, therefore I am”

  1. It will be neat if we can listen or watch one of this speeches of yours. May be you can record one of your practice or even your actual delivery?

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