Round Four: Settling Scores
This is the cruelest round, where only the best of the best survive, and where former friends begin to realize that there can only be one winner. If they have made it this far, their stamina and strength are already proven. The determining factor here is increasingly their personal philosophy.
Only twenty-one finalists remain, and the old armies are now skeleton bands of worn and bloodied soldiers. Thales still stands a god among men, and the Greeks rally to him willingly. Pythagoras and Empedocles still form their own tactical squad of ranged sorcery, but they do not direct their storms of hail and fire at the Greeks. They fire wave after wave of infernal weather at the modern philosophers about them. From across the battlefield, Wittgenstein and Sun Tzu share a silent moment of understanding. Knowing what must be done, the two warriors rush forward and fall upon the magicians. They quickly dispatch of Pythagoras, but Empedocles slams Wittgenstein in the face and gets away.
Socrates is with Plato, Aristotle, and Thales. When the destructive Derrida approaches them, hell-bent on destroying the father of dialectic, the indefatigable Greek steps forward and challenges him to a battle of wits. Whoever loses the battle must kill themselves. Derrida loses to the sharp tongue of Socrates by universal agreement and falls on his own knife.
When the amusing “battle of wits” is over, random killings begin again. Francis Bacon convinces his fellow Freemason Voltaire to help him take out Aristotle; while Bacon respects Aristotle, they both loathe his philosophy. Afterward, they convince Marx to assassinate Pope John Paul II. Marx throws his knife, but it misses the Pope’s major organs. The Pope then forgives Marx and publicly protests the way Marx has generally ignored human dignity. Marx is so ashamed that he stops fighting, and he is killed by Sun Tzu.
Marcus Aurelius overhears Machiavelli trying to convince Sun Tzu to turn against him. Already sick of Machiavelli’s unvirtuous scheming and eager to prove the extent of his imperial influence, the Caesar has Sun Tzu drag Machiavelli into the woods and behead him.
Voltaire tries to assert his French revolutionary independence from the monarchist Bacon and claim a leading seat among the Freemasons, so he stabs Bacon in the back, literally. Tycho Brahe sees his fellow scientist die and challenges Voltaire to a duel. Voltaire chops off Brahe’s nose, but Brahe is drunk and has no inhibitions. He charges madly at Voltaire and runs him through. He then escapes to cover up his ugly injury.
Thoreau and Locke temporarily join forces as an unstoppable tank of colonial anti-big-government. They team up against Hobbes (with his horrid notions of a Leviathan state), Locke charging at him from the front and Thoreau spearing him from the trees with a hand-whittled javelin.
The Greeks come by, and the rational Plato ends Locke’s empiricism with a knife stroke. Wittgenstein then ends Plato’s cerebral ponderings with analytic precision.
Only Nietzsche and Schopenhauer have not joined the fray. They are arguing. Schopenhauer wants to go and find the Buddha before the final round so he can properly detach himself. Nietzsche rejects the Eastern idea of Nirvana and wants to fully embrace the hard-boiled reality of the knife fight. Schopenhauer threatens to make the little Nietzsche squeal if he goes on about all that overman bullshit. Nietzsche slits Schopenhauer’s throat. “I am the overman,” he cries, “the destroyer of things human-all-too-human, the anti-Schopenhauer, the anti-Buddha, the Antichrist!”
Thus ends Round Four.