Ignorant Young’un: “So, you’re majoring in English and philosophy, what are you going to do with that?”
Padawan: “Save the fucking world? Duh.”
This is the typical route of conversation being an English and philosophy major. There are a bunch of spin-offs of this as well. Some are nastier than others but they all conclude in the condemnation of English and philosophy as useless majors.
It’s not a surprise. English has no intrinsic job-market appeal and neither does philosophy, of course, unless you want to be an English teacher or a philosophy professor. This is where the conversation usually gets to: Ignorant Young’un: “I mean… do you want to be an English teacher?” They usually cannot conceive the idea that someone might want to teach philosophy, so this is the end of the conversation.
Today, however, I will retort Ignorant Young’un‘s claims about my majors and about all of the other English, philosophy, arts and humanities majors. First and foremost, Ignorant Young’un‘s view is narrow and basic. It’s as though by majoring in anything that the only thing you can then do with that degree must have the title of your major in the job description. This isn’t true. Aside from the countless journalistic jobs, the multitude of companies needing social media experts, the expansive amount of people needing documents to be edited by a keen eye and the endless amount of companies that need people that can organize large amounts of information, read them coherently, and then summarize them effectively there is even a more basic point.
And that’s what this entire post is about. Yesterday, I thought about my majors and what they mean to me. So, without further ado, if you take English and break it down into what it is all about you could generate a rather extensive list, but for the sake of the post I will say it’s about this: expressing your thoughts effectively. Philosophy, in this same vain, is about acquiring the ability to effectively think. Therefore, when you combine the two majors, the pursuit of a double major in English and philosophy is really about this: acquiring the ability to effectively think and then being able to express these effective thoughts, effectively.
Thus, I have a question for Ignorant Young’un – what else is this world about, than making your imagination tangible?
Finally, I just wanted to bring this in as a meter of analogy, we hear this nursery rhyme as kids:
“Sticks and stones will break my bones,
But words will never harm me.”
Words, while they say never harm them, are the largest source of hatred but also the largest source of love: because words are a transmission of message. Words may not break bones but words can shatter spirits. And shattering spirits is a way to control but also to liberate. I’m here for the latter.