St. Stephen's Musings

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:: St. Stephen's Musings

:: Sunday, May 18, 2003 ::

My Barber, the Relativist

I was sitting in a metal chair watching small tufts of blond hair cascade down a glorified bib, falling silently onto a recently swept floor. I looked around the barber shop and gazed at the old pictures on the wall, probably purchased before I even had hair. My eyes fell on the seemingly ancient juke box that would play 50�s music if you put a dime in the slot. The barber leaned in close to inspect his most recent snip, and I noticed a very faint, yet surprisingly inoffensive, scent of cigarette smoke on his breath.

My barber was making small talk, as he usually does, and asking me questions about politics and what not. I listened with only half an ear as he, being slightly hard of hearing, would not really notice the inattentiveness of my �Hmm�s� and �You got that right.�

My barber is what some would call �an old boy.� He doesn�t trust the government, the checker at the local grocery story, or anybody with power. A Vietnam veteran, he doesn�t have many good things to say about the local high-school student�s anti-war demonstrations. He values hard work, respect, and a good BBQ.

�So what are you going to do with your degree when you graduate?� he asks, catching me unaware.

He starts in on my bangs. �Well, I�m not sure yet,� I stutter, realizing this is probably the millionth time someone has asked me this asinine question in the past year. �Probably teach philosophy or literature.� I spit out after a moment of silence. With my bangs only half cut, he pauses.

�Well�,� he intones with a drawl, giving a subtle warning for those who know him that he is about to offer a morsel of wisdom. He continues, �What is philosophy anyway? Is it truth? Is it myth mixed with fact? Is it just about words and power?�

�Probably all of the above,� I say, as he finishes my bangs.

�Every man has his own philosophy.� he says, continuing his line of thought as if he didn�t hear me. He probably didn�t hear me. �Each man has to have his own philosophy because each man has his own truth. All truth is relative anyway.�

I smile. �But Mike, that last sentence is a totalizing, absolute truth statement. Truth, by nature, can�t be relative.�

�Well, that�s your truth,� he grunts, and begins to wrap up my haircut.

It never ceases to amaze me how postmodernism has seeped into the very heart of modern man�s consciousness. It just goes to show: you don�t need a college degree to have been infected with it.

:: Karl :: 2:41:00 PM [Link] ::

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