Vladimir: So….you take a watch and you put it in a bag….
Estragon: What type of bag?
Vladimir: It doesn’t matter.
Estragon: Well, what type of watch is it?
Vladimir: Again…not important. You put the watch in a bag. Now, you take a hammer and you smash it.
Vladimir: Just see if you can follow me here. You smash the watch into a hundred pieces….
Estragon: Is it a digital watch or a nice one?
Vladimir: It doesn’t matter….You take the watch and you smash it into….
Estragon: Well, why are you smashing the watch?
Vladimir: Okay, that’s really not important! The important thing is…
Estragon: What kind of lunatic would break a perfectly good watch?
Vladimir: It’s a metaphor. Nobody is really breaking a watch with a hammer. The idea is to prove a point.
Estragon: But how can you prove a point using an example that is completely unrealistic.
Vladimir: I don’t know. It’s not important! Just listen.
Estragon: Well, if it is a digital watch with one of those plastic bands it’s not going to break with a hammer
Vladimir: Fine. It’s a Rolex. A really nice gold Rolex.
Estragon: A Rolex is really expensive. Why would you want to break an expensive watch? And I don’t know if a hammer will break a Rolex into a hundred pieces.
Vladimir: Fine. It is an inexpensive magical watch that magically will break into a hundred pieces. Can I get back to my point?
Vladimir: Okay, so you break the watch. You shake it up in the bag?
Vladimir: Does it re-form into the same watch?
Estragon: Well, of course not!
Estragon: See what? I’m not sure I follow.
Vladimir: Evolution is impossible.
Vladimir: Something has to be there to assemble the watch if it’s going to come back together, right?
Estragon: I guess.
Vladimir: And the watch has been reassembled into a perfect whole, right?
Estragon: That is what you said.
Vladimir: Well, then there has to be a watchmaker who has a plan, right?
Estragon: Uhmmm. Okay. So, who is the watchmaker?
Vladimir: God is the watchmaker! Otherwise the watch would still be in pieces.
Estragon: Wait…so God reassembled the watch?
Vladimir: What do you mean why? He’s God. He doesn’t need a good reason.
Estragon: So, God just goes around putting broken watches together? We’re not sure why. That’s just what he does.
Vladimir: Exactly. He loves us. Maybe he wants us to have a nice watch. Maybe he wants us to be happy. That’s for Him to know.
Estragon: If he wanted us to be happy, why didn’t he just stop us from breaking the watch in the first place?
Vladimir: Free will!
Estragon: So, wait, he loves us so much he is willing to fix the watch, but he won’t stop us from breaking it?
Estragon: That’s not a very efficient system.
Vladimir: Well, He doesn’t have to be efficient. He’s God. He doesn’t have to explain anything.
Estragon: Well, if he’s going to go around smashing watches, I think he owes somebody an explanation. That’s pretty rude. If he smashed my watch I’d be really angry!
Vladimir: Okay…forget the watch. We’ll use another example. Pick something.
Estragon: A piece of ham
Vladimir: So, you put a piece of ham in a bag…
Estragon: Ham….in a bag?
Vladimir: Yes! And you smash it into a million pieces.
Vladimir: It still tastes like ham and smells like ham and looks like ham. RIGHT?!?!?
Estragon: Yes…I think.
Vladimir: So there has to be some kind of ham designer, right?
Estragon: Yes…well….maybe…I guess….
Vladimir: Evolution couldn’t have designed ham.
Estragon: Wait…why not?
Vladimir: Because it is perfect.
Estragon: What is perfect?
Vladimir: Ham! Ham is perfect!
Estragon: Compared to what?
Vladimir: To a universe without ham.
Estragon: How can you tell?
Vladimir: God wouldn’t have created it if it weren’t perfect. Ham is in our universe. Therefore, ham is perfect.
Estragon: Okay, now I’m really confused. If God is perfect and created a world that is the most perfect possible world for us, why does he create people who smash ham and watches in bags?
Vladimir: To test us.
Vladimir: To see how much we love him.
Estragon: Oh…so we show him we love him by not smashing things in bags?
Estragon: I see. So that’s the point of the whole thing!
Vladimir: YES! That’s the point. We have the choice whether to smash ham or watches or even possums in bags. If we choose not to, we do it because we love God. And if we do that we will be rewarded.
Estragon: With a nice watch?
Vladimir: Maybe with a watch. Maybe with eternal happiness. We’re not exactly sure. We just know that the reward is going to be REALLY good.
Estragon: And if we smash things in bags?
Vladimir: Then bad things happen to us. REALLY bad things. Things like sickness or eternal suffering or boils on our face.
Estragon: Boils on our face?!?!?!
Vladimir: It won’t be a problem for you if you just do what you are supposed to.
Estragon: So these are the rules?
Estragon: And if I follow them, I’ll be…………happy???
Vladimir: Unless God has another plan for you. But eventually you’ll be happy. At some point.
Estragon: Will I get a watch?
Vladimir: If that is what you desire and that is God’s plan and you follow the rules then, yes, you will get a watch.
(At this exact moment, a giant meteor hits the earth obliterating smashing it into a million pieces. The entire human race, including Estragon and Vladimir, are destroyed in a firey, horrible instant without warning)
#1 by John Erickson on May 24, 2011 - 3:28 PM
So,what happens if you smash a watch, a slice of ham, AND a possum in one bag? Do you get Heaven, Nirvana, Paradise, whatever you call it? And if ham is perfect, then what is bacon, the highest evolution of ham? Can you have something MORE perfect than perfect? And how do you actually smash ham? Ham just goes squish under a hammer. (Don’t ask how I know, I just do.) For that matter, so do possums. (Ditto) And if you put the possum, the ham, AND the watch in the bag, but don’t smash them, is THAT how you get to Heaven?
Hmm? What’s that, doc? You’re ready to do my lobotomy?
Excuse me for a minute……. 😉
#2 by Keith Spillett on May 24, 2011 - 3:34 PM
Ha! Well said Dr. Erickson!
Let me know how the lobotomy goes. I get one every May and it has done wonders for my complexion.
#3 by John Erickson on May 24, 2011 - 3:49 PM
The doc just kicked me out of the OR. He muttered something about “carving on a non-existent turkey” or some such. Guess I’ll go find some dinner. Know of any good drive-thrus selling ham AND possum? 😀
#4 by Keith Spillett on May 24, 2011 - 5:31 PM
Actually, in Georgia most drive-thrus sell possum.
#5 by Jim Wheeler on May 24, 2011 - 4:04 PM
The Blind Watchmaker meme is that evolution violates entropy, but the meme is flawed of course. Entropy still applies, it’s just that the universe is allowed to take wildly-varying paths, within the bounds of natural “laws”, on its way from the Big Bang to ultimate heat death. I don’t recall how long that’s supposed to take, but Harold Camping should know. No, wait, he’s always wrong. Never mind.
#6 by Keith Spillett on May 24, 2011 - 5:36 PM
Good old Harold! Every time I think I’m having a bad week, I thank my lucky stars I’m not getting blamed for the world not ending.
I’m looking forward to an ultimate heat death. I just picked up some Coppertone 6,900,123 at the neighborhood Walgreens. Looking forward to October.
#7 by afrankangle on May 24, 2011 - 4:25 PM
Being relatively new here, I have the problem of trying to figure out the point.
#8 by Keith Spillett on May 24, 2011 - 5:44 PM
I think I am going to get around to having a point in one of these articles soon. I don’t want to rush it. Maybe next month. As for now, I plan to continue to rejoice in the subtle charms of absurdity.
Salvador Dali once said “Confusion is the greatest form of communication.” I have no clue what that means, but I totally agree with it.
#9 by John Erickson on May 24, 2011 - 6:20 PM
Don’t worry about Frank, Keith. He has this unreasoning attachment to things making sense. I am trying to nudge him off the deep end, but I haven’t pried his fingers off the diving board. Yet. Gimme time! 😉
Oh, and thanks for the drive-thru info. Unfortunately, I live in Ohio.
What, there’s supposed to be anything after that? (A band of online friends have given me the nickname of No-hio. I can’t figure out why…..)
#10 by Keith Spillett on May 24, 2011 - 6:53 PM
I like that! If I came upon this weird blog I’d probably want to know what the lunatic writing it was getting at. The man probably has no idea that I have a single-minded unrelenting goal to purge the world of anything resembling sanity.
You, sir, are a diamond in the rough. Keep fighting the good fight!
#11 by John Erickson on May 24, 2011 - 7:15 PM
“Diamond in the rough”? Does that require a 7-iron or a pitching wedge? And who plays golf with diamonds? (‘Course, in order to play golf, you DO have to be rich enough to afford diamonds. After all, who ever heard of “a cubic zirconium in the rough”?)
Never fear, though, I am indeed well-armed. Well, moderately well-armed – the biceps could use a bit of work. Though I have plenty of swords to go with my cutting wit.
I’m sorry, who are you again? For that matter, who the heck am I, and why am I here? 😉
#12 by afrankangle on May 25, 2011 - 7:35 AM
Ok … I’ll ask this question … How would Sarah Palin respond to this post?
#13 by Keith Spillett on May 25, 2011 - 8:08 AM
Probably in crayon!
All kidding aside, it’s probably a bad idea for me to talk about Palin. She wrote something for the blog a while back and we have been on bad terms since then.
#14 by MichaelEdits on May 24, 2011 - 11:32 PM
Ham is perfect. I found a Rolex at my apartment in China, with a “Made in China” stamp that was perfect until it quit being perfect. But the universe is not perfect, or else this post would be on my blog. How do you feel about reprints with full attribution?
#15 by Keith Spillett on May 25, 2011 - 6:04 AM
Ha! Don’t you hate it when things stop being perfect?!?!
Please feel free to reprint this. I would be honored. You have an excellent blog and I’d be thrilled to be associated with it!
#16 by MichaelEdits on May 25, 2011 - 6:44 AM
Done! Thank you!
#17 by nondualmind on May 25, 2011 - 6:41 AM
You know, of course, I’m coming at this from a totally different place, but — my take is that
1. It is impossible to figure out the meaning of life through mental manipulation
And 2. It doesn’t really matter anyway….
Am I getting warm????
#18 by afrankangle on May 25, 2011 - 8:32 AM
OMG … and I asked the question NOT knowing of your history with her. LOL.
#19 by John Erickson on May 25, 2011 - 9:06 AM
You know me quite well, Frank, so you can assure Keith the following is epic for me.
I read the post from Palin. My official response?
#20 by Keith Spillett on May 25, 2011 - 9:45 AM
It would be even better if it were true! I am doing everything humanly possible to get on the Palin family X-mas card list this year. I keep hoping and checking my mailbox. It never comes.
#21 by John Erickson on May 25, 2011 - 10:09 AM
I would say shoot a moose, but moose are sacred to me. It’s a long story. Suffice to say my very close friend, Blackjack the Goat, would NEVER condone me suggesting harm to moose.
Maybe you need to get really drunk and tackle Bristol? (Naw, that wouldn’t work, you aren’t NEARLY scuzzy enough. 😀 )
#22 by afrankangle on May 25, 2011 - 10:25 AM
LOL. Meanwhile, my fav post (that I did) regarding SP.
#23 by juan don on May 25, 2011 - 7:52 PM
I don’t know if it’s true but I’ve heard that there are two correct answers on any philosophy-related essay test: Why not? and Because.
I’m more of a why not? kind of guy.
#24 by Keith Spillett on May 26, 2011 - 2:45 AM
Well said, sir. I would have to agree with you.
#25 by G-LO on May 26, 2011 - 12:03 PM
I don’t know what I just read, but I did chuckle at the end, so I guess I enjoyed it.
Well done Sir!
#26 by G-LO on May 26, 2011 - 12:06 PM
And one more thing…
I’m a bit of a watch aficionado (though I’ll never be able to afford anything above a Seiko) and also a lover of all pork related food stuffs. I would never put them in a bag and beat them with a hammer. Not sure about the possum though, so perhaps I won’t be let into the Pearly Gates afterall.
#27 by Keith Spillett on May 26, 2011 - 2:12 PM
Possum is a bit of an acquired taste. Great with a light chardonnay.
#28 by G-LO on May 26, 2011 - 8:53 PM
Fava Beans? Chianti? Just sayin. 🙂
#29 by Keith Spillett on May 27, 2011 - 4:07 AM
Ha! They are great with spleen.
#30 by afrankangle on May 26, 2011 - 12:25 PM
Psssst … Keith …. see this.
#31 by Cuzzort on June 26, 2011 - 12:02 AM
Pretty brilliant, Spillett.
#32 by MichaelEdits on February 11, 2012 - 1:21 PM
You’ll have pie in the sky when you die
#33 by John Nelson on April 2, 2014 - 2:10 PM
What wooly-headed rubbish! Even a child knows that through simple probability, if you shook the bag for billions and billions of years, the watch would HAVE to reassemble. Not only that, but it would make little watches, which would soon domesticate plants and wild swine and then there would be ham. No watchmaker required.