The Annals of Petronius Jablonski: An Odyssey of Historic Proportions and Priceless Treasure of Philosophy unveils the paradigm-shattering contributions of Petronius’ Shovel, Petronius’ Blender, Schadenfreude Before-the-Fact, and Petronius’ Garage. They take their rightful place in the philosophical pantheon beside Occam’s Razor, Plato’s Cave, Aristotle’s Golden Mean, Heraclitus’ Stream, and Russel’s Teapot.
“[R]eads like a surreal existentialist crisis, a stream-of-consciousness narrative that employs secrets and intrigue as a driving, page-turning force.” Publishers Weekly
Just as William of Occam gave philosophy his Razor (undeniably useful but somewhat overrated), I hereby contribute my Shovel. This tool will prove to be as easy to use as its namesake. An example of it in action will serve as a good first approach to understanding it.
Now, by what criterion are things considered strange or normal? According to the regularity by which they occur, one might respond. Unfortunately, by this standard a halo above a car is quite peculiar and the strangeness vs. normalcy of a great many things becomes a relativistic mishmash. But this is the mere surface of this issue. A true philosopher feels instinctively that the line separating them is, to an enormous extent (if not altogether), arbitrary or illusory. But how can he dig straight to the root of this quandary, to penetrate the imaginary surface and demonstrate the chimerical nature of the distinction for the common man to see?
“Is the halo stranger than the existence of life itself?” the philosopher asks.
“Certainly not. What can be stranger than that?” comes the reply from any man with the barest semblance of cognition. “Explanations of life, its origin and purpose, always seem inadequate, as though nothing could feasibly constitute an answer, as though the question is a gasp of dismay, not a serious inquiry. I’d rather not think about it. Isn’t there a ballgame on?”
“Is the halo stranger than the fact that Something exists instead of Nothing?” the philosopher asks.
“Absolutely not,” comes the reply from even a business student. “That’s the most peculiar and disturbing fact there is.” Rubbing his temples he cries, “My mind is awhirl. Bring me a video game. I beg you.”
“And so,” the philosopher concludes, washing off my faithful Shovel, his labor at an end, “the halo is not really strange. Compared to the existence of life, which we see every day, it is perfectly banal. Compared to the existence of everything, it is more akin to a sleeping pill than a mystery. Rather than giving it a pejorative label and running about in a tizzy, it is simply a matter of getting used to it.”
“Agreed,” chime the man with the barest semblance of cognition and his comrade, the business student. “Let’s all compare cell phones.”
Now, far from being a mere principle or abstract utility (like Occam’s much-ballyhooed Razor), my Shovel has the unlimited potential for practical, everyday applications. In fact, as the Reader is about to behold, it saved my life, holding my wits together in the face of what a non-philosophic mind would have deemed unbearably strange.