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Why did the chicken cross the road?
Fowl humour: “A Cluckwork Orange”
Albert Einstein Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road crossed the chicken depends upon your frame of reference.
Aristotle To actualise its potential.
B.F. Skinner Because the external influences which had pervaded its sensorium from birth had caused it to develop in such a fashion that it would tend to cross roads, even while believing these actions to be of its own free will.
Buddha If you meet the chicken on the road, kill it.
Carl Jung The confluence of events in the cultural gestalt necessitated that individual chickens cross roads at this historical juncture, and therefore synchronicitously brought such occurrences into being.
Charles Darwin It was the logical next step after coming down from the trees.
David Hume Out of custom and habit. Douglas Adams Forty-two.
Emily Dickinson Because it could not stop for death.
Epicurus For fun.
Ernest Hemingway To die. In the rain.
Henry David Thoreau To live deliberately… and suck all the marrow out of life.
Hippocrates Because of an excess of light pink gooey stuff in its pancreas.
Jack Nicholson ‘Cause it [censored] wanted to. That’s the [censored] reason.
Jacques Derrida Any number of contending discourses may be discovered within the act of the chicken crossing the road, and each interpretation is equally valid as the authorial intent can never be discerned, because structuralism is DEAD, DAMMIT, DEAD!
Jean-Paul Sartre In order to act in good faith and be true to itself, the chicken found it necessary to cross the road.
J.F. von Goethe The eternal hen-principle made it do it.
Karl Marx It was a historical inevitability.
Ludwig Wittgenstein The possibility of “crossing” was encoded into the objects “chicken” and “road”, and circumstances came into being which caused the actualisation of this potential occurrence.
Machiavelli So that its subjects will view it with admiration, as a chicken which has the daring and courage to boldly cross the road, but also with fear, for whom among them has the strength to contend with such a paragon of avian virtue? In such a manner is the princely chicken’s dominion maintained.
Mark Twain The news of its crossing has been greatly exaggerated.
Nietzsche Because if you gaze too long across the Road, the Road gazes also across you.
Plato For the greater good.
Pyrrho the Skeptic What road?
Ralph Waldo Emerson It didn’t cross the road; it transcended it.
Salvador Dali The Fish.
The Sphinx You tell me.
Thomas de Torquemada Give me ten minutes with the chicken and I’ll find out.
Timothy Leary Because that’s the only kind of trip the Establishment would let it take.
Werner Heisenberg We are not sure which side of the road the chicken was on, but it was moving very fast.
Zeno of Elea To prove it could never reach the other side.
(This piece has been floating around the world on the Internet. We haven’t managed to identify the twisted genius who concocted it; if it was you, please contact us and we’ll credit you in the next issue. Many thanks to Hans Pietersen (South Africa), Wei-Choon Ng (Singapore) and Kessack Young-Smith (UK) for forwarding it to Philosophy Now.)