When I was in academia I once attended a multidisciplinary conference on the sciences and the humanities. The following interesting exchange occurred between a literature professor Emil Brody Duffet and a professor of astrophysics, Harland Watley Wentworth-Jones.
Duffet: As Blake pointed out, if the sun and moon could doubt, they’d immediately go out.
Wentworth-Jones: Not necessarily. Let’s just take the sun. Supposing it were something like a giant intelligent firefly. It would be able to doubt, but it would not immediately go out.
Duffet: The poet is not spinning an entomological fantasy, he is making a point about consciousness. Our activities have to be engaged in wholeheartedly on some level. As Wordsworth pointed out, “to murder is dissect”.
Wentworht-Jones: Don’t change the subject. Why would a self-conscious able to doubt star necessarily go out? What if he liked giving off light? Or we were able to pay him.
Duffet: You are completely missing the point.
Wentworth-Jones: Maybe you think I am because you try to make it seem like the things you know are important but they really aren’t.
Duffet: Maybe you think you’re smart because you’re such a social retard that you avoid anyone who can criticize you’re boring knowledge and bullshit about giant fireflies.
Wentworth-Jones: Fuck you you shit-speckled retard!
Duffet: Bite me you spastic masturbating dwarf!
Wentworht-Jones: Pompous mentally-damaged baboon!
Duffet: Bad-smelling, lying, vain crippled clown!
Wentworth-Jones: Shit-gobbling pederast!
Duffet: I look forward to when you are struck down with Alzheimer’s dementia because then the shit pouring out of your asshole will at least match in quality the shit pouring out of your mouth!
Wentworth: I drive a better car than you.
Everyone agreed that it was an effective conference and the proceedings were published in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies. Several graduate students wrote research papers on the discussion, the most interesting one of which revealed that although Professor Wentworth’s car was of a more fashionable model than Professor Duffet’s it was also several years older.