Philosophy

Is death final? Ans.:Only if you’ve turned in all your borrowed library books.

What is the American dream? Has it come true yet?

Ans.: All the Winnebagos jamming up Route 1 along the Eastern Coast suggest it has arrived. But are we happy?

Is there a God?

Ans.: There are over 200,000 books in the Divinity School Library that can be consulted in your search for the answer. As a member of the Duke community, you have full access to these materials.

What will happen when you die?

Answer from another patron: If you are not born-again you will burn in Hell! If you are saved, you will be with the Lord in Heaven.

Ans.: Didn’t Mark Twain say something about preferring hell because that’s where all the interesting people would be?

Nullify the `social contract,’ as elucidated by Jean Jacques Rousseau, whereby “Man loses … his natural liberty and an unlimited right to everything he tries to get and succeeds in getting,” and whereby he gains “civil liberty and the proprietorship of all he possesses.” There’s no civil liberty in the Greek system, and property begets greed. So what’s the use?

Ans.: “Good friends beat out property any time” — found on a non-Celestial Seasonings tea bag.

Tell me who wrote the Book of Love.

Ans.: The Beach Boys at an abalone bake on the California coast in June of 1963.

How come the Duke microfiche (periodicals) is Carolina blue and the Carolina microfiche Duke blue?

Ans.: It’s the work of the same conspiracy that gave us the Proctor & Gamble devil. Your watchfulness is appreciated and we’ll turn the spotlight of your question on the perpetrators to see them squirm.

Why, with such a pretentious reputation, is Duke in actuality an intellectual backwater, and, at least among the students, a cultural vacuum?

Answer from another patron: Because some of us can’t even spell.

Ans.: I beg to differ; just this morning I overheard a group of students discussing the Aristotelian qualities in “General Hospital” and “As the World Turns.”

It is summer and I’m hating life because I was dumb enough to take classes in the summer. Do you have a suggestion!

Ans.: Take a walk in Duke Forest, wade in the creeks. Give yourself at least four hours for solitude and exploring the forest’s floor.

Do you think the universe is controlled by a malignant force, or a positive one, or do you think there is no ordered reality at all excepting the one we project into the void for the sake of our own sanity? (I’m reading Pynchon.)

Ans.: Sweet, someone illustrious once said, are the uses of adversity. The challenge is there for us to define ourselves.

The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up.

Is the “No Exit” gate at the entrance to the 1st floor in any way related to the “No Exit” at the Gates of Hell in Sartre’s play?

Ans.: Vaguely. Our sign above the main entrance, “Abandon hope all ye who enter here,” is more relevant.

Why is the only Joy in my life a bottle of dishwashing liquid?

Ans.: Very good.

 

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