Black Panther – Education’s Limits

Black Panther – Education’s Limits

Black Panther – Education’s Limits

Thinking how to think is a primary benefit of a good education. You might never have to use the Pythagorean theorem again, but those math problems involved a level of learning that will, in fact, be used again.

Like how to control your emotional response when something is a bit challenging and/or frustrating and/or pointless.

Control of one’s emotional response, one’s animalistic instincts if you will, is what allows humans to construct civil societies in ways sharks never could. Because when you really think hard about your thinking, you realize that knee-jerk reactions are examples of “not thinking.” There is a place for following these impulses, but there’s also a place where overriding them is wise (i.e., “God I’m so sorry. I just wasn’t thinking. I didn’t mean any of that.”). An education often translates to better segmenting of these places.

But education is no guarantee – it’s merely shifting probabilities in favor of ever-more advanced thinking. This whole “no guarantee” business helps explain Black Panther’s Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan).

He’s mad about the many childhood years he spent without a father. He’s even madder because his father was murdered. This is all totally understandable.

In this situation, some humans would devote their lives to revenge. They would come to the ludicrous conclusion that vengeance will come by killing the son of the murderer – a person who obviously had 0% involvement in the killing. The juvenile thinking would continue by conveniently ignoring that the murder happened because of treason.

This is the thinking of someone with poor segmentation. Killmonger graduated from MIT, one of the finest institutions of higher learning in the world. People from MIT have so shifted the odds in favor of proper segmentation.

So there’s this: Black Panther is a nice reminder to avoid giving people too much or too little credit based solely on an academic résumé.

Editor’s note: There’s a chance that a different viewer believed Killmonger was driven by greater principles like wanting to help black people. Yes, Killmonger did mention this. But this “philosophy” was given such little play so as to be forgettable. 

Editor’s note: There’s a chance that a different viewer believed Black Panther was really about “honor culture,” and that the exploration of honor is especially worthwhile for our modern society which seems to have forgotten its value. That viewer would be correct that evaluating honor is worthwhile, and that there was a great opportunity to do so in Black Panther. Unfortunately, the movie gave us nothing more than a few sentence discussion of the topic. If anything, the movie showed the shallowness and convenience of allegedly honorable people via the actions of Killmonger who immediately stopped caring about honor the moment his rule was rightfully challenged. Which maybe is exactly what Black Panther wanted to say, but I doubt it.


“Black Panther” did not make me THINK.



Adam Schaefer

Adam Schaefer

Adam likes banana flavoring more than bananas. His first R-rated movie was "Beverly Hills Cop 3." He is also a semi-famous somniloquist.
Adam Schaefer

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4 thoughts on “Black Panther – Education’s Limits

  1. It’s about time that Mr. Schaefer “found himself” in a review. Couldn’t agree more with the disappointing nature of this film. A 0/3 in my book as well.

  2. Great review Adam. I too was unimpressed for the most part by this movie, from an emotional standpoint. I thought the protagonist was boring and uninspiring. Jordan is an amazing actor, and his physique inspires me to eat fewer carbs, but overall the movie was MEH.

    P.S. Love your line, “Control of one’s emotional response, one’s animalistic instincts if you will, is what allows humans to construct civil societies in ways sharks never could.” Nice.

    1. Also a big Michael B fan. I daresay this is my least favorite performance of his (of what I’ve seen):
      1) Friday Night Lights
      2) Fruitvale Station
      3) The Wire
      4) Chronicle
      5) Creed
      6) That Awkward Moment
      7) Black Panther

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