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Thread: Intellectuals?

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by bananatrombones View Post
    Funny, how?
    because intellect without a byproduct is useless, so to describe someone as an intellectual, to me, is to say they are ineffective. otherwise they'd be known by what they produce. in my opinion, an intellectual is a fraud who hides their ineffectual intellect behind empty rhetoric and word games.


    i can always tell when im talking to an intellectual. they tend to say (or write) a lot and all I hear is blah blah blah blah blah.

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    Quote Originally Posted by foolish heart View Post
    because intellect without a byproduct is useless, so to describe someone as an intellectual, to me, is to say they are ineffective. otherwise they'd be known by what they produce. in my opinion, an intellectual is a fraud who hides their ineffectual intellect behind empty rhetoric and word games.
    You have those who teach and those who do
    Im out, its been fun

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    those who teach effectively are known as teachers, they are also known by what they produce.

    what do intellectuals produce? intellect? see: intellect without a byproduct is useless. it just goes in a circle. a circle of uselessness.



    at least this thing gets rid of useless shit. imagine if it only produced more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by foolish heart View Post
    those who teach effectively are known as teachers, they are also known by what they produce.

    what do intellectuals produce? intellect? see: intellect without a byproduct is useless. it just goes in a circle. a circle of uselessness.



    at least this thing gets rid of useless shit. imagine if it only produced more.
    Do teachers produce teaching or do teachers produce producers. Those who produce dont actually teach unless they stop producing and which point the producer becomes the teacher who teaches how to produce. Round and round in circle we go
    Im out, its been fun

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    Quote Originally Posted by foolish heart View Post
    because intellect without a byproduct is useless
    Some of us love to think for its own sake.

    This is called thinking intrinsically rather than thinking instrumentally.

    And doing something for its own sake is a uniquely human activity which has given us art and religion and philosophy and science.

    However an employee is measured by how much they can produce. Charles Darwin, for instance, had independent means and produced nothing his entire life, except of course the understanding of life itself.

    But most of all doing something for its own sake brings joy.

  6. #46
    Senior Member LunarMoon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    People who are really intellectuals aren't really conscious of it... it's more a matter of who they are than who they try to be. Straight-up intellectuals I can deal with, but self-conscious pseudo-intellectuals are the worst.
    This view has always struck me as being extremely silly. When a person has a history of winning several athletic competitions, it would be absurd to despise them for thinking themselves an athlete. But being an intellectual doesn't even revolve around skill or ability above a certain benchmark. It simply implies that one is inquisitive and possesses a level of respect for abstract pursuits (art, science, etc.). I honestly can't help but question whether this view is commonly held based on a combination of insecurity and anti-intellectualism, though not necessarily in your regard. It almost seems as if the high opinion that another holds of their own intelligence worries such people in regard to their own and instead of doing something productive such as volunteering at a charity or writing a novel to raise their self esteem, they would instead rather have others lower theirs.

    As for the question at hand I would say that as most things, intellectualism can't simply be regarded as good or evil, if there even exist such concepts. Like any other implement such as a butcher’s knife, which simultaneously can be used to feed one's family or too slaughter some poor innocent human being, intellectualism is a positive or negative force based purely on how it is used. While obviously the medical scholar who through years of contemplation arrives at the cure for a deadly disease is difficult to label as evil, a character such as 1984's O'Brien, the archetypical image of an abusive intellectual, is substantially easier to place into that bin. The vast majority, however, are simply morally neutral individuals, like everyone else, who make several contributions to art and science through activities that they find enjoyable. So honestly, I would regard intellectuals as a force of good overall, if I really had to simplify it since there are a far greater number of intellectuals who make a contribution to medical science and art than there are those who contribute to weaponry, political tyranny, and general human suffering.
    Surgeons replace one of your neurons with a microchip that duplicates its input-output functions. You feel and behave exactly as before. Then they replace a second one, and a third one, and so on, until more and more of your brain becomes silicon. Since each microchip does exactly what the neuron did, your behavior and memory never change. Do you even notice the difference? Does it feel like dying? Is some other conscious entity moving in with you?
    -Steven Pinker on the Ship of Theseus Paradox

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    Quote Originally Posted by LunarMoon View Post
    This view has always struck me as being extremely silly.
    Yeah... same to ya, pal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    Yeah... same to ya, pal.
    How so?
    Surgeons replace one of your neurons with a microchip that duplicates its input-output functions. You feel and behave exactly as before. Then they replace a second one, and a third one, and so on, until more and more of your brain becomes silicon. Since each microchip does exactly what the neuron did, your behavior and memory never change. Do you even notice the difference? Does it feel like dying? Is some other conscious entity moving in with you?
    -Steven Pinker on the Ship of Theseus Paradox

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    IMO, there is one baseline qualification for being an intellectual: You must not only participate in the "marketplace of ideas", but you must participate in the specific sector known as "ideas about 'what it means to be human'"

    The best intellectuals are those who can make philosophy, religion, psychology, literature, evolutionary biology, and quantum physics all seem like one inter-related subject.

    That said, there are possibly two kinds of intellectuals. Both have to be forged through higher education, but one type is almost fated to develop into an intellectual, independently of his environment. He is the type who "always finds a way" toward his passion. And, to make him an intellectual, he needs to have both a passion for learning and that combination of high moral sensitivity and self-awareness that liberal arts colleges pride themselves on cultivating. He is naturally bookish and idealistic, taking his often highly-abstract passions extremely seriously. He doesn't have to be especially intelligent, just a seeker of enlightenment. NFs and NTs are grossly overrepresented in this group, with the introverts probably leading the way.

    The other type is the highly intelligent student who is, on his own, unlikely to throw himself into the near-manic pursuit of moral/intellectual enlightenment, but who possesses an unusually wide area of interests and talents. If he is directed toward the arts and sciences, he emerges as a professional in his field and easily becomes adept in a few other fields as well. What makes him an intellectual is the versatility and professional insight/wisdom he has acquired, and of course, his specialization in "ideas about what it means to be human".

    In the end, the two types are virtually indistinguishable. But if you know them personally, the difference is clear. One is an intellectual for personal reasons; he has to be. There is no other way; his work is an outgrowth and extension of his soul. The other is an intellectual because that is his profession and it his cultivated interest. He is probably more detached and clinical about his work, while the former type, the "born intellectual", is more likely to be seen engaged in fiery debate or spending his lifetime absorbed in a specific quandary of human existence. Both types are most common in the fields in philosophy, psychology, and literature. I think Kierkegaard, Freud, and Ernest Becker are stellar examples. And so are C.S. Lewis, James Joyce, and Henry James. Those who are involved in the hard sciences are more likely to be your broad-minded "polymath" types, like Einstein, Luther Burbank, Stephen Hawking, Christopher Hitchens, and James Watson.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by LunarMoon View Post
    This view has always struck me as being extremely silly. When a person has a history of winning several athletic competitions, it would be absurd to despise them for thinking themselves an athlete. But being an intellectual doesn't even revolve around skill or ability above a certain benchmark. It simply implies that one is inquisitive and possesses a level of respect for abstract pursuits (art, science, etc.). I honestly can't help but question whether this view is commonly held based on a combination of insecurity and anti-intellectualism, though not necessarily in your regard. It almost seems as if the high opinion that another holds of their own intelligence worries such people in regard to their own and instead of doing something productive such as volunteering at a charity or writing a novel to raise their self esteem, they would instead rather have others lower theirs.
    It might be in some, but more often I think people are antagonistic towards intellectualism because of its pretension. In terms of insecurity, I think it also works in the reverse meaning that there are people who build up an image of themselves as intellectuals so that can they feel superior others. After spending a few years at an ivy league college I've seen a lot of this. There are these arrogant kids who yes, are very smart that attach to the idea of being intellectuals, but are not necessary any smarter or "intellectual" than those who aren't so concerned about it. I definitely think a person can be intellectual without claiming to be an intellectual.

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