Understanding Engineers & Philosophers - Take One
Two engineering students and a philosopher were walking across a university campus where
one said, "Where did you get such a great bike?"
The second engineer replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday, minding
my own business, when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike, threw it to
the ground, took off all her clothes and said, "Take what you want."
The second engineer nodded approvingly & said, "Good choice; the clothes
probably wouldn't have fit you anyway."
The philosopher thought for a minute and said, "You do realize, don't you, that if you had taken the woman, she might have led you to an super-bike that was waiting for you at her home?"
"Darn", said the first engineer.
"You did the best you could", said the philosopher, "Hell, is a room full of those other bikes, and no repair kits."
Understanding Engineers & Philosophers - Take Two
To the optimist, the glass is half full.
To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.
To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
To the philosopher, whether the glass is there or not depends on whether there is someone there to drink it.
Understanding Engineers & Philosopherss - Take Three
A priest, a doctor, an engineer, and a philosopher were waiting one morning for a
particularly slow group of golfers.
The engineer fumed, "What's with those blokes? We must have been
waiting for fifteen minutes !"
The doctor chimed in, "I don't know, but I've never seen such inept golf!"
The priest said, "Here comes the greens keeper. Let's have a word with
He said, "Hello, George! What's wrong with that group ahead of us?
They're rather slow, aren't they?"
The greens keeper replied, "Oh, yes. That's a group of blind fire fighters.
They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we
always let them play for free anytime."
The group fell silent for a moment. The priest said, "That's so sad. I think
I will say a special prayer for them tonight."
The doctor said, "Good idea. I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist
colleague and see if there's anything he can do for them."
The engineer said, "Why can't they play at night?"
The philosopher said, "From their point of view they're already playing at night, I'll bet they can't understand why we don't wait till daytime like a normal person. Besides, they're having the time of their lives."
"What do you mean", said the engineer?
"Well", said the philosopher, "haven't you noticed the reason they're so slow?"
"No", said the engineer.
"You'd be slow too", opined the philosopher, "if you had to stop every hole to celebrate four holes in one!"
"Four holes-in-one", complained the engineer, "that's outrageous, "how can they possibly think that four blind golfers are making holes-in-one!"
"One of them must been a part-time carpenter", snickered the philosopher, "and he's estimating for the group!"
Understanding Engineers & Philosophers - Take Four
What is the difference between mechanical engineers, civil engineers & philosophers?
Mechanical engineers build weapons, civil engineers build targets and philosophers start or stop wars in the first place.
Understanding Engineers & Philosophers - Take Five
The graduate with a science degree asks, "Why does it work?"
The graduate with an engineering degree asks, "How does it work?"
The graduate with an accounting degree asks, "How much will it cost?"
The graduate with an arts degree asks, "Do you want fries with that?"
The graduate with a philosophy degree asks "Hey, you at the fries vat, how many times do I have to tell you, you don't punch in, you don't get paid"!
Understanding Engineers & Philosophers - Take Six
Three engineering students and a philosopher were gathered together discussing the
possible designers of the human body.
One engineer said, "It was a mechanical engineer Just look at all the joints."
Another engineer said, "No, it was an electrical engineer. The nervous system
has many thousands of electrical connections."
The last engineer said, "No, actually it had to have been a civil engineer.
Who else would run a toxic waste pipeline through a recreational area?"
Then the philosopher chipped in, "interesting hypotheses, but all of your arguments fail, it had to be a philosopher, only a philosopher would create a body where an undistributed middle term could so often defy reason and cause so much irrational motion."
"I give up", the first engineer said, "I'm through Hegleing with you about this, your arguments have too much Sartre to them."
Understanding Engineers & Philosophers - Take Seven
Normal people believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.
Philosophers believe that if we think its broke, we may just misunderstand its true purpose.
Understanding Engineers & Philosophers - Take Eight
An engineer was crossing a road one day, when a frog called out to him
and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess."
He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket.
The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a
beautiful princess, I will stay with you for one week."
The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to
The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a Princess,
I'll stay with you for one week and do ANYTHING you want."
Again, the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his
Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful
princess & that I'll stay with you for one week and do anything you want.
Why won't you kiss me?"
The engineer said, "Look, I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend,
but a talking frog, now that's cool."
Later in the week he ran into his friend the philosopher who had talked him into coming to a wine and cheese party where he was giving a paper on Camus's writings about Sisyphus (Camus and the Myth of Sisyphus: Or A Rolling Rock is Here to Stay, ©1980 by PJF). The engineer came only because the quantity of wine consumable always vastly exceeded the attendance.
After the groans had driven the audience into harder than usual drinking, the very inebriated engineer told his friend the philosopher about his new talking frog. The philosopher, from Missouri, the "Show Me" state, and a born skeptic, demanded proof, so the two made their way drunkenly back across the quad to the Engineer's room so that he could show off his new pet who promptly asked the philosopher to kiss the frog.
The Engineer panicked, but the philosopher said, "don't worry", who believes a talking frog"?
So the Engineer allowed the philosopher to hold it and pet it.
Once again the frog promised to do "anything" the philosopher wanted, if only he would kiss it. This was too much for the philosopher and skeptic or not he kissed the frog who promptly turned into a Princess.
The engineer was livid.
"I trusted you. You are my friend! How could you betray me like this! If anyone should have kissed the frog and gotten this, wow, very beautiful princess willing to do anything you asked, it should have been me!"
"Im sorry man," said the philosopher, "I really didn't believe the frog would turn it into a beautiful princess, that's just a really great bonus. But look here, I have to turn in a 40-page analysis of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason by next Friday and I'm terrified. I'd take anyone's help with that. Even a frog's!"
And they lived hoppily ever after.
Understanding Engineers & Philosophers - Take Eight
And it came to pass that in a certain department all of the employees but one became afraid to enter the office of their boss. An excellent, well meaning, but very precise engineer.
Her meetings with her staff were legend. Though the meetings with the staff as a whole were not long, woe be it the staffer called into her office for a project review for projects that she deemed to be in trouble or in need of her minute and detailed help.
Week after week this went on, some of the engineering staff having daily meetings that lasted as long as one or two hours, until they became nervous and fearful, even though the engineer was no ogre.
One day it came to pass that one of the engineers who was worst afflicted saw one of the staff coming from the dreaded bosses office with a smile on his face, even whistling a bit.
"Wait a minute," as the light dawned on her, "why is he happy? How can he be coming from that office without fear and dread on his face?"
As she thought about it, she realized that he had not had one of those long meetings in months. Not months and months.
"O.K. buster", she said, "what's your secret? I've been going crazy here with daily two hour meetings with the boss, and you seem to be exempt.?
"There are two reasons, the real reason, and how I do it. Which do you want?"
"Ooooh, you are nasty. I want both. None of this either or, you share this cubicle with me, now out with everything or...", he realized that she was beyond the point of no return and liked her enough to want to really help her.
"O.K. You aren't going to believe either one, but I'll tell you. The real reason you and everyone else get trapped into these meetings is that you are planners and engineers. You create the box then stay inside it. I was a philosophy major. If I see a box, I look at the box, consider its structure and form, and question it, and figure out if its moral, right, and ask, what if everyone did it. Then, if I see a problem with it, I try to work around the box or create an escape hole."
"And that's what you've done", she said.
"Sort of, In this case, the box is that our boss needs to feel that she knows what's going on with the projects in her domain and that the people running those projects know how their doing, where they are on their deadlines, what problems they face and how they are going to address them. Anyone who doesn't give her that information, she meets with UNTIL SHE GETS IT."
"Nooo." The cubicle mate said. It can't be that easy.
"I just dropped off my daily report. It lists all my projects, and everything that got done yesterday. At the end of the week I have another form that lists the goals for next week and I give her a copy of this week's sheet with done things scratched off and undone things explained.
I haven't had a single meeting since. I can email you the forms if you like, with completed copies."
"I'm going to kill you!"
"I tried to tell you this a month ago and you didn't believe me!"
"No you didn't!"
"Check your email"
Performance review time.
"In conclusion, my effort to convert the staff to our new reporting system went better than I thought."
"Great work." "I Talked to my boss. The Promotion is yours."
See, Engineers and Philosophers CAN work together.
Similarities between the individuals in this story and actual people and circumstances are coincidental and are really, really stretching the truth. Especially where alleged promotions are concerned. But as Checkov said approximately, it is nice when stories end like that, isn't it? And they all moved to Moscow and married the Princess and lived in a castle.
Thanks to my friend Andy for the original engineer jokes. All of the philosopher references have been added by yours truly.
I edit many of the jokes I get, from simple typo corrections, to complete re-writes. Sometimes there are huge improvements, sometimes I fail miserable. Only you can tell me how I did. Please tell me.
Because philosophers wind up taking hard core courses in logic, they actually tend to get along very well with engineers, at least serious ones do. Except that philosophers can write. Hee hee.
There really is a paper called Camus and the Myth of Sisyphus: Or a Rolling Rock is Here to Stay. I wrote it for my Existentialism class in college an got an A+. Thanks Babs, wherever you are.
Peter, Chief Editor and Spelling Wrecker
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