Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Magical Gods of Repetition

It’s safe to assume that the Church of Ireland never had a weight room. Further, I doubt George Berkeley never carried two 60-pound dumbbells back to the rack after four sets of incline presses. At that point, to argue that esse is percipi (to be is to be perceived) applies in this situation seems to defy every fiber of muscular and skeletal sense perception. I was exhausted from the repetition. At that moment, I felt like I had a perfectly clear picture of reality.

Across the room, a student-athlete was straining to complete his final rep of bench press. The 225-pound barbell sunk to his chest as he cried out for help. “Spot!” he yelled. I strolled over and couldn’t help to notice how the weight pressing against his chest restricted his breathing.

Don’t worry,” I said. That 225-pound barbell is nothing but a mind-dependent collection of ideas—it’s immaterial. I felt better about myself. “Get ya mind right, son, get ya mind right!” (I remembered that phrase from my football days, so I’m sure that helped.) My philosophy degree was really paying off. He clearly needed to do more repetitions.

The death of student athletes notwithstanding, I had bigger concerns. I had a test on Wednesday. Forty-five chapters on my dresser, yessir, I gosta get paid. I had to cash out this bitch goddess of academic success in the form of a high mark. But how? Then I had an Archimedean moment—an epiphany. Eureka! I cried. I would circle the campus with my notes in hand—undisturbed. It seemed like a humble way to begin an expedition, putting one foot in front of the other. Not only would I live longer from the walk, but I also wouldn’t fall asleep like I might writing professional memoirs or constructing a montage of French Renaissance philosophers.

With notes in hand, my pace around the casual campus stroll gave me an immense joy of being. I wasn’t just killing time; I was walking with a purpose and an open mind. As I walked past the liberal arts building, I noticed AAGGRML above the entrance. I had no Idea or Ideal what that meant, but after a bit of conative haggling, I was sure the answer would emerge.

All in all, the repetition began to bear fruit, until I ran into this guy named Walter Benjamin. Walter was a pimp. He looked like a cross between Samuel L. Jackson in "Snakes on a Plane" and Bernie Sanders on a bad-hair day. Walter hated the moniker “pimp.” He preferred to refer to himself as a businessman—a merchant—one who supports Capitalism by the mercantilization of the world. I laughed when he said that. Then he got annoyed. “The dude down at Best Buy selling the Gandhi Autonomy Treadmill—he’s the pimp,” he said.

I just walked away.

I knew how important my walk was—learning this information by rote repetition—but I was getting hungry. My Frigidaire brand refrigerator was on the blink, so I decided to head down to Best Buy and check out the new models. Besides, who wouldn’t want to see the Gandhi Autonomy Treadmill.

I opened the door, and a salesperson met me two steps in. “Hi! My name's Luther. What can I help you with?” he said.

“I’m looking for a new refrigerator.”

“Right this way!” I followed him to the appliance department; there was a huge selection of new refrigerators.

“My old one was a Frigidaire, and I kinda liked it.”

“We don’t sell those anymore, but we have our most popular model in stock. It’s been around for over two thousand years,” he said. “It’s called the Religare.”

“The Religare?”

“Yes! It keeps everything at the perfect temperature, you don’t have to plug it in, and it provides you with all the food and nourishment you need for eternity.”

“Why won’t it open?”

“You can’t open it on your own; you have to have faith.”

“How much is it?”

“Only ten percent of your income for the rest of your life.”

“That seems kinda expensive,” I said. “I’d like to see another model.”

“There are no other models—those other modes are false models.”

“Well, ok, I better think about it.”

“But here's the thing. Now that you know about the Religare, if you don’t buy it, you’ll suffer for eternity in a fiery pit of hell.”

“That’s a new sales tactic.”

“You’d be surprised how well it works.”

"It sounds like nonsense to me." 

I got out of that as fast as I could. I heard him yelling “sinner!” and “arrogant pagan rascal” as I darted out the store. 

I needed a drink. Luckily, a new bar just opened up on the square called Erasmus’. Kind of a philosophy hang-out. I decided to try my luck there. Besides, my pecs were starting to get sore, and it was only a short walk. Gotta keep the world going. 


  1. I love it! Berkeley in the weight room is brilliant. Reminds me of the old cartoon philosopher who says "I got clear on the nature of reality a long time ago, now I'm looking for loopholes."

    Meet you after class at the Erasmus, under the banner reading “When I have a little money, I buy beer..."

  2. THIS IS AWESOME. Love this post. Glad that the philosophy degree could be used peripatetically to save the life of a student-athlete. Great metaphor of the Frigidaire. Indeed also.

  3. Good post! I in no way shape or form can relate to to 60-pound dumbells;however, encouraging students peripatetically is something I've experienced and I'm pretty good at...in the dance world.

    1. I'm sure you are good at it! Now you can add a bit of philosophy in with your encouragement.

  4. “Get ya mind right, son, get ya mind right!” (I remembered that phrase from my football days, so I’m sure that helped.) This probably the funniest part of this entire post. I like how you were able to capture the main points of the Herman book in a walk. Well Done