Discourse on Intercourse

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Discourse on Intercourse is a well-intended though basically wrong-headed philosophical tract formulated by delusional Austrian librettist Otto Büchstein in the depths of dengue fever delirium in 1769.

Outraged by René Descartes suggestion in 1637 that the only indubitable thing in the universe was one's own existence as a thinking thing, Büchstein attempted to deduce an entire multi-personal epistemology from the commercial inevitability of conference calls.

His logic was this: all-hands conference calls must exist, since no-one in her right mind would make the idea up if she didn’t have to. So, since someone has made them up, conference calls must be a necessary fact of corporate life.

On that predicate, it follows that as it is an a priori fact that a conference call must comprise more than one person (“a man cannot meet alone”, he quipped), to give effect to conference calls, the most basic irreducible ontology of the universe must contain multiple individuals. At least three, thought Büchstein: the “meetor” (which he regarded as an analog of Descartes “thinking thing”, or “res cogitans”), one “meetee” (which Büchstein characterised primarily as a talking thing (“res verbositans”) and, since transparently neither of these would willingly meet without some kind of compulsion, a third person (usually a management consultant or project manager) to force the meeting to happen and assign actions and timelines at its conclusion (an “action-assigning thing” or “res bossitans”). In any case, since they were all engaged on a conference call, none of them needed to be God.

“God is omniscient,” he said. “God doesn’t do conference calls.What would be the point?”

Rather than simply rebutting Descartes’ proof that there must be a God, by illustrating one was not necessary, Büchstein went further: “a universe in which conference calls necessarily exist,” he contended, “is logically inconsistent with the continued presence of an omniscient, benign, omnipotent deity”. He took this as an a priori proof of the non-existence of God.