Identify as a Cowboy Philosopher


I heard some people bashing philosophy the other day. I guess I like to defend those things that get bashed. Philosophy can be really fun. It all depends on the philosopher. Here’s a little bit of philosophy now, so you can make up your own mind:

A man sits in a bar peeling the label off his beer. He’s wearing boots, jeans, a plaid flannel shirt, and a wide-brimmed hat. In walks a woman wearing hiking boots, jeans, and a leather vest with no shirt underneath. Her hair is short. She sits next to the man and orders a bourbon. After a time she looks at the man and asks, “Are you a real cowboy?” He looks at her and says, “Well, I spend my whole day riding a horse and herding cattle, so yep, I reckon I’m a real cowboy.” She tells him, “I spend my whole day thinking about women. Even when there are no women around, I think about women. I think about women all day, ’cause I’m a lesbian.” She finishes her bourbon and leaves. A couple comes in shortly after and the man and woman sit next to each other near the cowboy. They order mixed drinks and while they’re waiting, the woman asks the cowboy, “Are you a real cowboy?” The cowboy takes off his hat and looks at it, then says, “I thought I was. But a few minutes ago I found out I’m a lesbian.”

Bash away at this all you want, but it makes a twisted kind of sense. Nothing changes in the story except some perceptions. Stereotypes are all over this scene. . .they’re also destroyed within the scene.

The age-old stereotype of a philosopher needs to be rescinded. A stereotypical philosophical being is not a stuffy, wrinkled creep with low social skills. The philosopher is one who dares to ask the question, “How does a snake scratch an itch?” Or, “Why do you think violence will prevent violence?” Or even, “Who would win in a fight between Wolverine and Freddy Krueger?”

My definition of philosophy is not to study books so deeply your nose gets ink-stained. My definition is continual learning. That’s what philosophy is to me: to be forever curious. It seems like the curious ones in this world get punished for being curious when they should be encouraged.

In other words: don’t bash on philosophy, man. Revel in it!

Published by Kurt Gailey

This is where I'm supposed to brag about how I've written seven novels, twelve screenplays, thousands of short stories, four self-help books, and one children's early-reader, but I'd rather stay humble. You can find out about things I've written or follow my barchive (web archive, aka 'blog) at or follow me on twitter @kurt_gailey. I love sports and music and books, so if you're an athlete or in a band or you're a writer, give me a follow and I'll most likely follow you back. I've even been known to promote other people's projects.

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