Slightly panicking, Julia thought to herself. Okay, I just need to find someone who works at this school and I'll be alright. She walked out to the other end of the hall and exited the building. She stepped outside into the brisk wintery air, crunching her way through the snow, until she reached a paved path between a row of buildings. She followed it, hoping that it would lead her somewhere where there were people, but it reached a dead end at a large building. She looked up. It said, “Humanities.”
She was about to turn back around, when the front door opened and out came a tall, bearded man dressed in a coat and a top hat. Failing to notice her, he walked down the steps and looked straight ahead.
Julia went up to him and said, “Mister, mister!”
The man jolted in surprise, his hat falling off his head. After regaining his composure and picking up his hat, he responded in a smooth, English accent, “Oh why, hello there.”
“Could you help me out please? I’m lost.”
The man looked at her with a sympathetic expression, “You're lost? Well my dear, I’m sorry to hear that. But tell me, what do mean you are lost? Do you not know your location? Or are you saying you’re a lost soul in need of salvation? Or perhaps you have lost your mind?”
Julia looked up at him, puzzled.
The man chuckled, revealing a contagious smile. “I’m just kidding with you. Of course you’re lost, I’m sorry, is it your parents you are looking for?”
“No, I was with my class on a field trip.”
“I see, well let's try and find your class then. I am Donald, by the way. Donald Lee.”
He led her around the Humanities building and asked, “So what is the purpose of this field trip of yours, if I may ask?”
“Well, Mrs. Campbell, my teacher, said that we're trying to get an idea of the different areas of study in college, so we can figure out what we want to do when we grow up.”
Donald nodded, “Ah, yes, and a very important decision that is, not one you must make right away of course. What you study in college will pave the way for the rest of your life, and not just in terms of a career. What you study affects the very way you look at the world.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, for example, my area of expertise is philosophy; that's what I teach here. Now, while most people who study philosophy do not become professional philosophers like myself, they enter the working world with a sharp, analytical mind. For instance, a philosophically trained business person will not be content with simply following orders and performing a business task, but he or she will want to understand what the purpose of the task is and how that task is in line with overarching business goals. A philosophically trained lawyer will be extremely adept at argumentation, knowing how to construct and pick apart cases and...”
Julia had stopped paying attention, unable to keep up with his monologue. After a while she finally spoke up and said, “I'm sorry, but I'm not really following.”
“Oh,” Donald said. “Sorry about that.” He scratched his forehead for a few moments and then a thought suddenly struck him. “How about this. Rather than tell you what philosophy is like, I will show you. Come, follow me.”
Donald continued on across the campus and led Julia to an open lawn full of ice sculptures. “Wow!” Julia said.
As they drew closer, Julia realized they were all carved into the images of men, incredibly life-like. Donald looked to her and said, “Julia, I present to you the great philosophers of the past.”
Julia walked in between the sculptures, staring into their icy faces. “This is amazing,” she said.
She stopped at one philosopher, who was dressed in a tunic with bare feet and a long beard. She peered closer at his face when the statue suddenly came alive and spoke to her, “What are you looking at?”
Julia jumped and screamed in surprise.
“Well,” the sculpture continued. “You did not answer my question, what are you looking at?”
Julia was trembling, “I...I...I'm looking at a talking iceman.”
“An iceman?” The sculpture looked at his hands. “Oh, I suppose I am made out of ice. Yes, you are physically looking at a man made of ice, but do you know what you really should be looking at?”
Julia shook her head.
“Should I get a mirror?”
“No! You are still focusing on the physical. Look at your soul! Examine yourself. Examine yourself every moment of your life and learn to accept the fact that you cannot know but one thing, and that is that you know nothing.”
The other sculptures around Julia started to come alive as well. One was off to Julia's right, sitting on top of a large pile of snow. He yelled out in a Scottish accent, “Oh won't yah shut up Socrates. You're making the girl uncomfortable.”
The Scottish philosopher then waved at Julia to come closer to his pile of snow. “Come here, what's your name?”
“Julia, very nice name. What are you doing here Julia?”
“I'm trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up.”
“So you're exploring your career options?”
“Well, let me tell you something Julia, if you work hard, you can make the mercantile system work to your advantage. Just remember this rule: the purpose of production is to benefit the consumers, not the producers. Too often in the mercantile system do the producers only care about their own needs and ignore the needs of the consumers. If you follow that rule, you will be successful, and if you are successful, you can have all the snow you want, like me!”
Someone shouted out, “Adam, that's the people's snow! Stop hoarding it all to yourself!”
A bearded sculpture with a German accent walked up next to Julia, staring at the Scottish philosopher on top of the pile of snow.
“Aw, shut your trap, Karl! I worked hard for this snow, and you know it.”
“Adam, you come down here right now, and equally distribute your snow to the people.”
“It's mine, you Kraut!”
“Stubborn Scott,” Karl muttered under his breath. “Fine then!” he yelled. “You have given me no choice. I must take it from you.”
In a mocking tone, Adam responded, “Oh, I'm so scared, an old German man is threatening to take my snow from me. Ha!”
With surprising speed, Karl climbed the pile of snow and punched Adam in the face. Adam did a double take and answered Karl's blow with one of his own.
As the two continued to fight, another sculpture appeared next to Julia, startling her. He spoke in a thick French accent, “Bonjour, 'ow are you?”
“I'm fine thanks.”
“I 'ave a question for you.”
He lifted up his hand and said, “ 'Ow do I know zees icy body of mine eez not a product of my imagination?”
“I mean, 'ow do I know zat I really exeest?”
Suddenly the sun got brighter and water began to drip from the figure's arm.
“No!” he shouted. “I'm melting! I'm melting! 'Elp me, 'Elp me!”
“Oh no, why don't you find some shade or something,” Julia answered.
The French sculpture suddenly stopped shouting. “Wait!” he said. He was looking carefully at his arms, which continued to melt. “If I am melting, zen zere must be somesing zat is melting. If I am melting, zen zere must exeest somesing zat is melting. Zat is it! I am melting, so I must exeest. I melt, zerefore, I am!”
“Huh?” Julia said.
The sculpture ran around the lawn and continued to shout out, as if it were the best news in the world, “I melt, zerefore I am! I melt, zerefore I am!”
Julia tried to sneak away, but she ran in to Donald.
“So,” he said. “What do you think of philosophy?”
“Um, I don't think it's for me.”
Donald sighed, “Well, philosophy isn't for everyone.”
Julia started to walk off, but then turned back around to ask Donald for directions. He was gone. She looked behind him and all the ice sculptures were gone as well. Nothing, not even puddles.