So, now you’re an expert: You have successfully completed Psychology 101. There is no medium you are incapable of giving genius insights about. Movies, TV shows, books and poetry: The whole world is yours to dissect pretentiously.
You are now free to psychoanalyze everyone whose path you cross. Of course, you’ve only really covered a few chapters worth of Freud, but what more could you possibly need to diagnose someone? They’re mad at their father? Clearly, it must be an Oedipus complex.
Your intro to literature class was amazing, right? Now you know what the creator of that book you’ve been reading, or that show you’ve been watching, was really intending. No statements from the creator is necessary, because you know what’s really going on.
Or, perhaps you have just completed that intro to philosophy class. Armed with nothing more than a cursory knowledge of the Socratic method — answering questions with questions — you can win every argument. All you have to do is continue asking questions until your opponent becomes frustrated and leaves.
If you get bored of using the Socratic method, you can always bludgeon another person with Sartre’s concept of “bad faith:” the idea that you always have a choice, and a responsibility to make your own choice regardless of the situation in which you find yourself.
Then you can blame others for their awful situations from a secure place, with absolutely no potential harm coming your way.
Of course, nothing makes you feel more superior than the Communist Manifesto. Now you can complain about the government regardless of who is in office, and no matter what kind of policy or legislation is being passed. It doesn’t matter that the only thing you remember are the terms proletariat and bourgeoisie — because, honestly, isn’t that good enough?
In the end, I guess all you really require to be a learned scholar is basic intro classes. That’s all you need to let everyone around you know how much more you know than them. You are the greatest intellectual this world has ever seen.
Pseudo-intellectualism is a toxin in the academic world. It poisons the way education and disciplines are viewed from the outside world. It drives gross misinformation from student to student, corrupting and perverting the open minds of the younger students.
Instead of being a pretentious douche, take to heart the message Socrates repeatedly attempted to proliferate: “I know that I do not know.” To quote Kendrick Lamar: Be humble.
Lucas is a PPE major in University of Washington Tacoma, and he is graduating with a Bachelor’s in philosophy. His primary interests are philosophy, politics, and law. He is currently working as a teacher at a secondary school while preparing to attend law school immediately following graduation.