What’s a thought worth? Just ask me.

Penny for your thoughts?

Well, a penny is worth $0.01 these days, says the government. Although when I was a kid back in 1963, the penny was worth $0.08 in today’s dollars, and it would have been worth nearly a quarter when my father was born back in 1915.

What’s that cent? I don’t know. It smells like a penny to me. Ha. Ha.

The origin for the saying, which basically means, “What are you thinking about?” is not certain. The question-and-answer newspaper and web column, The Straight Dope, places the saying’s first mention in print occurring in 15th century England. That column is entertaining although it takes some reading to get to the point, which is an answer to where did this saying originate? All of this is well and good, but it leaves one wondering about the worth of thought.

The old Greek philosophers were many times teachers of rich kids, or so I have heard. Aristocles a.k.a. “Plato” was one of these rich kids. He was a student of Socrates and apparently fell under his spell, according to this handy guide to ancient philosophers written by C. George Boeree Ph.D. He is a retired philosophy professor who taught at Shippensburg University, located in a Pennsylvania town of the same name. I mean Shippensburg, not University. I thank Dr. Boeree for this interesting article.

The Payscale.com site lists the earning power for those who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy at No. 75 on a list of earning power. Salaries for those with this degree ranges from $42,200 for starters to mid-career earnings of $85,000. That is somewhat lower than my degree in journalism fares. A Ph.D in philosophy is not listed in the rankings, curiously enough.

There are folks who credit study in philosophy for a successful career. The web site Business Insider published a list of very accomplished persons who majored in philosophy. Among them, Carly Fiorina the former HP CEO and failed candidate for the Republican nomination for president. Also mentioned in the article: investor Carl Icahn, progressive activist and zillionaire George Soros,  and PayPal co-founder and former CEO Peter Thiel. The latter is lately famous, or infamous, for helping wrestling legend Hulk Hogan take on the website Gawker in a lawsuit for invasion of privacy after the site published a sex tape of the wrestler. Oh well!

Once again, it is great that one who studied philosophy gains incredible wealth at some point in time of their career. But this highlights a fundamental question: What is a thought or what are thoughts, worth?

I would think it would depend on the thought and the action that is brought about or ignored with that thought. I mean, I’ve had some great thoughts. Some were impulsive and worked out. Others were not so successful.

Wealth is a topic near and dear to the hearts of my country men and women. Some people, among those women I have dated, apparently thought long and hard about the thought of wealth. I’m not saying that is why I am not married. I am just saying that is why I am not married to certain individuals who apparently thought wealth was more of a guiding thought than a young guy with a great sense of humor, nice hands and a cute butt. Hey, that was more than 30 years ago. Give me a break!

I hope that some day I might receive some compensation for my thoughts. If I don’t, that’s okay. Those thoughts are mine and mine alone. And many of those are near and dear to me. As a philosophy major once said: If Immanuel Kant perhaps Nietzsche will.



If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.