I graduated college with a Bachelors degree having concentrated my area of study in both English Literature and Philosophy, dealt in equal parts. Only now, as an adult looking back, can I understand the depth at which these areas are diametrically opposed.
At its best, an authentic study in Philosophy is the quest for Truth- deep Truth, big picture Truth, real talk Truth; sadly the modern education system makes this pursuit increasingly difficult, but the beauty of Philosophy is that it’s teaching the student how to think, not exactly what to think. The student can then use these tools for whatever Truth they wish to seek.
The basics of argumentative logic should be required study for every High School student, but High School education isn’t about learning Truth, it’s about teaching ideology- and such urgent basics are excluded for reasons which must remain entirely unspeakable.
The study of English Literature is the practice of masturbating to ideology. While I love the great works of literature, my English Literature course work really served as my first exposure to understanding the concept of bullshit double-talk which makes up the mainstream narrative.
See, English Literature professors will never admit to structuring their courses around ideology– they’ll simply tell you that their ideology- the mainstream narrative, the necessity of diversity, the oppression of women, the evils of white men- is simply reality… and there isn’t enough time in the day to question the nature of reality!
Questioning such premises, to the English Literature professor, would be akin to questioning the necessity of oxygen or the inevitability of death… Why bother, right?
So when my hardened Feminist English Lit professor balled her claw-like hand into a fist, as she read from “Cloud 9,” and pounded her desk while shouting “Patriarchy! Patriarchy! Patriarchy!” in time with each pound, there is no way anyone there- especially your humble, white, masculine narrator- could have raised his hand and asked, “…you sure about that?”
When another professor started us on “Lolita,” he called careful attention to a quote on the cover culled from a Vanity Fair review which cited the novel as “the only convincing love story of our century,” and told us in no uncertain terms that “Lolita” was not a love story. Vanity Fair is “goofy and stupid,” and this angle on the book was not to be discussed in class.
The professor here limited the scope of our discussion- something that would (theoretically) never fly in a Philosophy class. He was creating a kind of bottom-line premise for us that could not be questioned, and built a framework from there; this is Intellectual Alchemy.
Intellectual Alchemy is constructing an understanding of the world built from faulty premises that are purported to be unquestionable; the entire mainstream world is built on faulty premises which only serve to create faulty conclusions. This dichotomy limits the intellectual potential of the alchemist in question despite whatever their genetic aptitude may be.
To put this in perspective, take a Harvard professor with a high-IQ. Despite this person having the genetic capacity for great intelligence, they most likely understand the world through the unquestionable premises of mainstream culture- like gender as a social construct, or women as systematically oppressed– which makes everything constructed after the acceptance of these inaccurate premises highfalutin thought junk, with the same kind of misguided enthusiasm like Michael Jackson with a black Amex in an overblown Vegas gift shop.
Had these alchemists studied the basics of Philosophy they would understand that the sheer existence of an “unquestionable premise” is entirely faulty from the outset- there are (theoretically) no unquestionable premises in a true Philosophical discussion, even down to arguments over the definition of single words- which is where every Philosophy student needs to begin their course of study.
As a student of Philosophy (theoretically), I find it fascinating to examine the big picture ideas of which the Progressive narrative is built upon. If you take a look at “Star Wars” (1977), the real reason Lucas didn’t need any explanation or set-up is that for an American audience “rebellion as virtue” is a premise; a fascist government is an “inherent evil”- further proof isn’t needed on either end.