Dulled by Manny’s narrations, Selma’s curiosity waned. Her brain was wandering idly through the maze of her reasons for going to the Netherlands. The tasks of discovery and delimiting of a topic for her dissertation had proven to be daunting, challenging and if not impossible, at least terribly time consuming and frustrating.
The endless search of the doctoral archives at Ann Arbor had uncovered a veritable mine of useless additions to the body of knowledge. It seemed as though that anyone, anybody or anything that had ever proven to be someone, somebody or something of merit or value had already been discovered, dissected, reassembled and published.
That pretty much covered everything in the microfiche catalogs under the heading of philosophy from Xenophanes to Aristotle to Wittgenstein and back again.
One glaring example was Xenophanes of Colophon, a traveling poet and sage who lived in ancient Greece and left a number of comments on religion, knowledge, the natural world, and other social teachings. He is mostly remembered for his critiques of religion as a byproduct of humans making gods look like people. This led Plato and Aristotle to designate him as the founder of the Eleatic school of philosophy, which endorsed a more rational interpretation of religious claims and encouraged a general humility and skepticism toward all knowledge and tried to discourage dogmatic arrogance.
When Xenophanes poetic lines made him the stepfather of epistemology and Alexander the Great of Macedonia hired a tutor named Aristotle, who insisted everything have a name; who could have foreseen the consequences, effects and ramifications for the course of humanity.
By this time, Selma’s search had brought her to the verge of inventing a whole new fictitious school of thought for her dissertation. Maybe she could use the eminent, yet undiscovered 12th century German-Dutch thinker, Dr. Frances E. Further or the even earlier Frisian, known as Zijlstra the Obscure that Schopenhauer the self-schooled German might have mentioned in a footnote.
If she were lucky, maybe no future scholar would be anal enough to find her fraud until it was too late to revoke her degree.
Abruptly, the flight attendant brought her back to now with,
“ What would you like to drink with your sandwich and chips? ”
Manny’s unusually loud, “ A beer and a V-8 juice.”
confirmed where she was and what was happening.
Putting down her tray, Selma made a decision.
“ I’ll take the juice without the beer, Thanks.”