A Bradburyan Nighmare: The Shunning of Intellect

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by gendanken, May 1, 2004.

  1. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

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    Let a man quote Shakespeare and he is seen as an eccentric whose company is best avoided for fear of the mania being contagious. A girl is known to find comfort or amusement in the brilliant wit of Shaw or the clumsy confessions of an Algerian saint and an onslaught of ridicule for what is seen as female compensation for the meaningless gloom and misery in her life as a woman is used as fevered attempts to explain her idiosyncrasies- “Because my dear chap”, said a famous nihilist in Turgenev’s world “as far as I can see only scarecrows go in for free thoughts among women.”
    A youth who is found so enamored of literature that he makes its writers small gods in his temple is singled out as a fumbling, immature snob.

    Yet a person who has lost themselves in this same love for the cheap glitz of television, gossip, and spectacle is seen as a petty nuisance for whose company small sacrifices are made tolerable if only to have their friendship and comfort.
    Why such antagonism towards those whose objects of love are books then?
    Why such avoidance of them as though they were lepers and misfits?
    Why the curiosity of them as strange species from odd lands, or that clear disgust when we find them resorting to a page written ages ago by a wonderful thinker who said what is weighing on their heart so clumsily now so beautifully and far more precise?

    Its said that during the French Revolution a certain Marquis de Condorcet was singled out as an ‘hors de loi’ or outlaw on account of his wealth and after fleeing, beat and bleeding he stops at an inn where a group of yokels search him and kill him after finding a copy of Horace in his pocket. In their eyes he was a filthy elitist of gentle breeding, curse the enemy of the revolutionary state!
    We are seen as posers- if one quotes Sartre:

    In vain would I seek within me the prickly memories and sweet unreason of a country childhood. I never tilled the soil or hunted for nests. I did not gather herbs or throw stones at birds. But books were my birds and my nests, my household pets, my barn and my countryside”- The Words (autobiography)

    ….we frown at the pompous, inexperienced highbrow. Or if one imagines a Bradburyian nightmare where books burn in the twilight like a sick carnival and quotes that ghastly Beatty:

    I’ve read a few books in my time, to know what I was about, and the books say NOTHING! Nothing you can teach or believe. They are about figments…imagination, if they’re fiction. And if they’re non-fiction its worse- one professor calling another an idiot, one philosopher screaming down another’s gullet. All of them running about, putting out the stars and extinguishing the sun”

    But then pointing to Faber in redemption:

    “So", says Faber, "do our books serve to remind Ceasar of mortality. The things you are looking for are in the world but the only way the average chap will ever see 99% of them is in a book. Don't look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library (gendanken: amen). Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown in it at least die knowing you were headed to shore."

    …lips curl in disgust and the act is seen as haughty necrophilia.

    Why?

    All life shares the same fundamental characteristics- consume, produce and reproduce and in the mammal world the lemur shares as much with an Einstein, yet truly I say the mark of distinction, the very stamp that makes our Einstein and his human brethren wonderfully different from all life is this extraordinary simplicity he has of looking down at dead symbols and weaving them together into a meaning he calls ‘reading’. In it he opens worlds and changes them, no? The impossible is made possible and the walking on the moon or a stroll through an Hesperide garden for an apple of pure gold become as real as the paper its written on.
    I begin to see the mind as a functioning along an endless continuum of strange psychological dynamism of negetive and positive in ecstactic union, oil and water in bondage, lamb and lion cohabiting- a magical absurdity whose mark of genius is a kaleidoscope of image and fantasy. Mingling among them is both a heathy scepticism and naïve credulity with most fierce above all a pure love- need- to simply know something and use it.

    Why then the aversion towards such people? Or the dislike and disinterest in this wonderful potential in each of us? Its almost like a man detesting his hands so much that he binds them and letting them atrophy dies without having made or held a thing in his life.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2004
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  3. LeoDV Obstinate idiot Registered Senior Member

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    In all of history, for better or for worse, there has always been an elite, be it culturally, politically or economically, and this elite has always been resented and misunderstood by the rest.

    The very fact that you can gawk on an Internet forum about uncultured swine mocking us cultured folk is the stamp of a priviledge unthinkable by a more than substantial chunk of this planet.

    Bradburyan nightmare? Yes and no. It is a nightmare? Perhaps. But is it Farnheit 451 suddenly coming to life, crawling in search of blood to terrorize y'awl's neighborhood? As you pointed out, people are no less cultured today than in Condorcet's time. More, even. We don't even think about what a priviledge it is to know how to read and write, because we take it so much for granted. How many of those who guillotined Condorcet could have even deciphered the title of the offensive book he was caught carrying? How many of those had access to a public library, not only with books that we can read and they could not, but with machines that allow to communicate and gather information from all around the (industrialized) world?

    And finally, don't be so contemptuous of people who don't think as much as you do. We thoughtful folk, we aristocrats think of them as apes, living in the dark, jealous of the worlds within our skulls. It ain't so. Some people simply don't care about smarts. And why should they? Yes, they bind their hands, but what if they're happy with their hands bound? You can't force someone to learn stuff.

    You say this potential is in each of us? Hardly. Not everyone wants to, but not everyone can be smart. Some of us are born to be tall, some born to be small, blonde, dark haired, some are just smart and some are just dumb.

    And also, at the risk of sounding like an asshole, if we were all smart, the world would fall apart. For a few of us self-righteous "smart" people, so proud of their superiority it borders on masturbation, how many people to bring us coffee, broom our doorstep, build our computers and clean our cars?
     
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  5. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

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    Leo:
    More like submitted to morally.
    But this is true and pastiche.

    I never once used the word cultured, and it is not gawking.
    This is neither a scheme to come off as an aristocrat (ha) as you've just called yourself, or some gimmick for highbrows.
    Much simpler- nerds are far from the patrician ideal, one does not look on them as the stuff of 'elitism' to be resented as you'd have it.

    I want you to think of nerds.

    They are downright despised and feared as if diseased with some jungle bug that must be erradicated. They are treated as lepers and 'asswipes' in their own classrooms and out of them, and I doubt that is jealousy.
    Intimadation? Don't think so.

    Perhaps its the willful opportunism of finding a weakling and making him prey- but still I don't think so.

    Only used 'nightmare' in place of 'bullshit'. Porfiry's a softy.


    Good point, but don't let me be the first to tell you this age among many is the most watered down 'culture wise'.

    Gone are the feelings invoked by an adagio, gone are the tears and fury spent on philosophy, the proud, solid warmth in one's circle- gone. The whole wide fucking world is spread on an internet, each individual a globe wide and an inch thick.

    Even the gusto of a Savoranola would be met with indifference nowadays among these 'cultured' New Agers.

    Hmm. Wonder what rumors you've been indoctrinated with around here. Eeenie, meenie.....

    Do you a favor and point out where in this thread that I have held people that don't 'think as much as I' in contempt and I'll give you 5 dollars. If anything, its a saddened wonder at the contempt of those that don't think hold for those that do.


    Then you'll agree, I doubt its jealousy.
    Its the disgust of being around a nerd that amazes me.....why?

    Yes, potential.

    As in capable of being but not yet in existence; latent. As per Webster: The inherent ability or capacity for growth, development, or coming into being.


    Every last fucking one of us here, I don't care who you are from the mechanic to the president, barring faulty biology, has this wonderful ability to make meaning from nothing.
    Yet its either shunned or seen as somehting ....eccentric that's best avoided.

    Asshole. Kidding.

    Its when they find themselves cleaning a toilet and scrubbing out someone's septic tank in their later years that they look back with remorse and nostalgia to finally appreciate those nerds they spat on in high school but what good is it then?
    Its only the knowing they've wasted a whole life playing with their fingers chasing shadows that has them looking back with pity not towards them (nerds) but themselves for being such pathetic cunts with their own lives.

    Its mostly in selfishness that we find a nerd not being depreciated or avoided.
     
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  7. sargentlard Save the whales motherfucker Valued Senior Member

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    From a point of view of someone who doesn't indulge in reading I can conclude that most of those I know, who do, indulge in reading have this sense of pride that borders on arrogance, which is a turn off. Also these same beings, if not arrogant, are totally eccentric because once they quote Shakespeare they do not stop....they procede to enact his mannerisms (like they know what they are?). They get so warped and lost in their fictional world that simply being near them in an embarrasment.

    Well mostly because these literary enthusiasts aren't witty, charming fellows who introduce literature into conversations, they are flaming weirdos who have stayed in their basements too long. Note* These are the weirdos I know.

    ...but coming from a person who is always correcting people on their misguided information I understand exactly where you are coming from. Showing any evidence of potential and intelligence is a social mudslide these days. Too often I find myself dumbing down conversations to suite their needs because if anything even remotely concerning ethics, philosophy, religion or science is brought up and overheard by others I become victim to strange looks. Why? I have basically come to this conclusion: Intimidation.

    People became intimidated when someone breaches their bubble of discussion to something less paltry, they become aware of their lack of knowledge and become confused. They realize that someone moving their lips at breakneck speed, putting out information that baffles them is a threat to their self image and they see it as an insult. That maybe they aren't as smart as they thought and that being constantly corrected in front of their peers is public humiliation brought on by this "geek" or "nerd". Since the idiots are the ones that draw attention they also hold the social power ergo the "brain" is shunned.

    Discovering one's potential is hard, it is easier to have an idea of your limits rather than knowing what they are and pushing them. In this T.V land we are all taught we are special....but why we are?..who cares...we just know we are and thats all that matters.

    My real dilemma is: Why aren't the intellectual elite running this world? How do the sheep organize in far batter ways than we do? Great minds really don't think then do they!
     
  8. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

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    Sarge:
    Good.Fucking.Point.

    Newton was avoided for this very reason with the only exception being his cumming to numbers, not literature.

    Lies.

    (you'd better be talking about the 'real world' or you, sir, are a dead man)

    Then you're still a dumb bitch- never tailor yourself to the needs of swine.

    I get what you're saying, but I see intimidation only thriving among a group that actually gives a fuck. Give me or yourself a wannabe who's just swallowed cliffnotes on objectivism and watch him blush when he finds that you've not only read Rand but you've actually submitted your own essay when the contest was on about 7 years ago.
    An honest rustic that doesn't give a shit just looks at one with confusion, but its by and large the majority of people that look on the intellect with digust or aversion.

    Also- what of the quiet nerds? The Louises that never bother anyone? Turing was teased his whole life and who the fuck did he bother? Intimidation?

    Cha!

    That ghastly Beatty:

    " We must all be alike.......Each man the image of the very other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against.
    Give the people contests, chock them so damn full of facts and data they feel stuffed but absolutely "brilliant" with information. They then feel theyr'e thinking, they will get a sense of motion without moving......Don't give them any of the slippery stuff like philosophy or biology to tie things up with for that way lies melancholy."

    'cuase Billy Graham thinks I'm beautiful.

    Becuase they're too busy obsessing over stupid shit.. That's why.
     
  9. sargentlard Save the whales motherfucker Valued Senior Member

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    6,698
    Yes, the real world. These guys are weirdos. Either they are arrogant and only snicker behind others backs or total space cases. In my neck of the woods intelligence either takes shape of a loudmouth, narrowminded loudmouth, or a cosplay dressing hyper nut. Ofcourse I am being general in a grotesque way but that is what I see.

    Tis true, tis true....I wouldn't do it so much if I didn't enjoy it so much. It gives me a foolish sense of pride to adapt to someone elses dialect and train of thought in mere seconds, ofcourse if I agree with that train of thought is another thing.

    Well then either everyone gives a fuck to a greater degree then you thought.
    If it isn't intimidation then what is it? Do they feel bad about themselves or would they like me to be more laymen in my terms when going on about artistic composition or string theory....I am hardly a expert in either but I seem to have people confused in seconds.

    Is it downright apathy for knowledge because they don't see knowledge as a worthwhile pursuit? Or just dissolution of the foundation of their ego?

    Could it be the same reason we attack animals at a reflex, fear all things with the word "Nuclear", get scared of people with different color of skin? Fear? Fear of what we do not understand right away? A pretty blonde is easier on the eyes because we know what is expected, we know of what social and gender norms she must reflect but if she has a head in there...then...watch out...she must be a "bitch" or a "femi-nazi".

    Or could it be too much occurence of my case...Overly aggressive people who READ AND REMEMBER WHAT THEY READ? Why is that for me 95% of the time Intelligence and modesty are mutually exclusive!!!

    Not intimidation....general assholeness perhaps? A docile and timid man being pushed about by prudes and when the prudes learn of his superior wealth of knowledge they push around the man with a bruised ego and further enhanced assholeness? Could it be that once a man realize that beyond his fleeting physical strength and looks there isn't much to make him a presentable human being...an adverse reaction to that epiphany?

    Hmm...I do the former but the result is never the latter.

    Yes...How to make this fucker shut up?

    You obviously have too much hope in people. I like people but do not expect me to teach them....as a horrible student myself, even the thought of teaching people, what I consider is worthy knowledge, is beyond me.

    So the mighty fall to the same traps that hold back the rest of humanity and they get teased and picked upon....hahaha intelligence really is a curse.

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  10. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

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    Sarge:
    Ick.

    We call these Q-Q-Q-Quinzubros.

    And ain't it like a hit of cocaine when one finds one was able to manipulate a complete idiot in his own language?
    So long as we don't find you crouching to 'fit in'....empower thyself, Oh my brother.


    I'll tell you what- I remember in grade school getting this cold feeling everytime I was associated with 'nerds'. This bitch (yes, bitch. She went to a fancy boarding school whereas gendanken was too filthy poor even for community college) named Patricia Barrientios- flaming genius. Butquiet as fuck, and I remember hating being associated with her in any way.

    Its not that she was intimidating- it was something like being linked with the guy in class with the canker sores and the headlice, you know?

    When you're powerful as fuck with your knowledge, then can we speak of dissolution of their ego. Or maybe not, I don't know.

    Becuase you're a weakened asshole with the runs.
    Kidding.

    Could be.
    Something like the jock despising the very sould out of another man for being homosexual, a clashing of machismo or a fury in finding it absent.

    Or a self hate distilled from closet homosexuallity, a self hate projected externally for internal ineptness.

    Ha!

    Curl his lips shut with an iron.

    Yes, which is why I think me a sick hybrid. I love and hate people, see so much in them and then.................blah, nothing but an abyssmal hole with no meaning. I'd love to teach them many things- learn as well- but how easily its seen as arrogance and condensation.

    The loveliest curse, like shingles but fun.
     
  11. sargentlard Save the whales motherfucker Valued Senior Member

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    6,698
    Fucking concious keeps getting in the way.

    Crouching? never....a little bend here and there for a minor snuggle every now and then?...yeah, why not. I am no flaming genius seeking a social inn to retain sanity.

    I tell you what - Present time. A classmate who is humble and intelligent but horribly loudmouthed and very opinionated. Her company is enjoyable but I still get that leery feeling when I am seen with her in her rant time in front of more preetier and social kids. Horrible stupid? yes....but that is my cross to bare.

    You and I are still human and no matter how non-chalant I may be about fitting in or how distasteful humanity may be to you we still care of their opinion even though we both know it is worth as much as a bad fuck behind a cheap bar in Mexico (???). Call it a weakness if you will but we are no worse than anyone else for having it are we? I swear so many people on this board go on as if they were above humanity and judge it so harshly when they themselves exhibity every flaw they judge in brilliant fucking detail. A dog of any other species will still lick it's ass...no?

    Intelligence is shunned but are the enlightened any better?....I remember a thread of yours where you mentioned how the intellectuals were the dregs of society, at that time I did not agree but now I see those words being more and more true. How many here, including me, stay away from real life only to bicker about it here with other lost causes? It might be the hunger talking but what does one get from seeing through society and its practices....what does the "truth" get you? Fucking headaches in the night from the mealstorm of confused thoughts and self-proposed, self-proclaimed eminent theories on what we think life is.

    Don't count on it

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    *DING DING DING.

    Do you find yourself knowing your friends for no more than mere months? Before moving on to more prospective applicants.

    Whats worse for me is the hopefuls who work so hard to tear away at their own lives. So many who have considerable worth but work day and night to rip away their value and make shrines for their faults. An empty soul is not as painful to leave as an amazing presence who is riddled in self-doubt to such extent that being near them either makes you want to

    a)Join in and enjoy the self wallowing pity
    b)Slap them out of it
    c)KIll them for wasting their lives.

    Well a lot of times it is arrogance isn't it? And only those who want to learn take heed of any wise words.....the ultimate sadness is how so many do not wish to learn and the greater sadness is how I am one of them....fuck, now you've got me thinking, I was going to go around throwing more witty retorts but now......fuck.
     
  12. LeoDV Obstinate idiot Registered Senior Member

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    First of all, you have to set something straight. Are you talking about smart people in general or nerds specifically? (and even then how do you define a nerd?)

    Tendencially, smart people are an aristocracy. They're the ones with the degrees, they're the ones with the high paying jobs, who get waited upon by the ones who used to beat them up. Take the richest man on the planet. Is he a jock? Is he a prince? Nope, you may hate him but he's a nerd.

    Anyway. Your post basically asked (a) why don't people read more books? And (b) why do they despise those that do?

    Answer to question A is because they can't and/or won't. Either because of education ("I never needed no books son, now go outside and play!") or simply genetics, some people are smart and most people are not. I teach in a school which has classes for gifted children and normal classes. I see these kids, excited, with a glint in their eyes, intensively curious about everything, I can sense the potential in them. I've come to regard it almost like the Force. I can go to the schoolyard, and even if I don't know the kids, and I'll point out the ones who are in the gifted class. And not because they're the ones sitting in the corner reading, simply because it's written all over their faces. The issue is more complicated than that, and I realise I'm coming off as an elitist asshole, partly because that's partly what I am but mostly because I'm playing devil's advocate here. Education has a lot to do with it and reading is certainly an acquired taste. Still, you act like intellect is the ultimate blessing of life that we should all struggle to find. Maybe that's true. But the fact is, many people don't care about being smart -- and that's probably where they're smarter than most of us, because people who spend too much time on thinking often end up spending not enough time on living. What gives you the right to declare they dedicate their lives to the pursuit of something you regard as holy but that they don't?

    And answering question B entails answering why humans behave like humans. There is lack of understanding and contempt on all sides. Don't try to tell me nerds don't despise jocks at least as much as jocks do nerds. Tendencially, people who don't understand each other won't communicate and will come to despise and come in conflict with the other. Human nature...
    You asked why people don't read more books. Books are what culture is made of. Someone who reads as opposed to someone who doesn't is someone cultured as opposed to someone uncultured.
    That's just not true!

    Even the mass entertainment that only wants to dumbify you so you'll just drool while media execs rob you clean, the kind of TV so terrible I can hear my braincells screaming before they fry when I watch it, is better than the nothing there was for 90% of the population before that.

    People go to movies, and even though they'd rather watch Mission Impossible 7 than Being John Malkovitch, that's still culture they're watching, no matter how infinitesimal the amount may be! If memory serves me, it's Spielberg's E.T. that is the most watched movie in history. That movie tells a touching story, and promotes good values, and even if out of the hundreds of millions who watched it only one is profoundly altered by it that's still better than before movies, that's still progress! No matter how ridiculous the amounts of smartness that somehow, against all odds, percolate into the brains of those that go to dumb movies and read magazines, that's still infinitely more than the ZERO most homo sapiens have had for most of history!

    This kind of short term view annoys me. It's like people talking about obesity like it's a catastrophy. Thanks, but I'll take rampant obesity over famine and plagues as my main concern any day. You're sitting here outraged that most people don't read books but the fact that they can read a road sign is a testament to the unprecedented wealth of culture of our era!
    Gone?

    You seem to forget that something cannot be "gone" if it never was there to begin with.

    Could the rural workers in the 1950's midwest appreciate an adagio? Certainly not. Could the mine workers killed slowly by the industrial revolution in the 1900's appreciate an adagio? Certainly not. Certainly would most men living in Vienna in the 1800's, the very place and time Beethoven was living, appreciate an adagio! Most certainly not. Only his patron the Prince of Lobkovitz and his court could. Do you think in the late 1700's the world cried, hearing Mozart's Requiem performed post-mortem? Certainly not! Not only had 99% never heard of it (no radio, no tee-vee, no Intarweb!) but the 1% that had were much more interested in dancing to Salieri's mediocre works. Even in the Renaissance courts there was bland popular music and better but more challenging music that appealed to a clique.

    Gone are the feelings invoked by an adagio, you say? For you, maybe. Not for me. Those feelings are not gone and I treasure them. There aren't less people today who cry when they hear great music. Those feelings haven't gone anywhere, they're not in vacation in Aruba.

    As a matter of fact, there are more (and yes, I'm talking proportionately) people touched by culture, simply because mass media gives us music, movies, books and magazines, because mass media showers us with culture. Bad music, movies, books and magazines, bland culture, certainly! And a great many, who are sensible only to crap, will listen, watch and read only crap (if anything at all). But if everyone gets to hear music, no matter how bad, a tiny portion will look for more music, better music, books or movies. I know a kid whose favourite movie was Jurassic Park, he only liked movies with action scenes and chases. He loved only shitty movies , but that was simply because that's all he'd been exposed to, but since he loved movies, he found out about the Coen brothers, about David Lynch, and now he's like a born-again indy film lover. None of that would have happened, he would never have been so enriched and grown so cultured, if mass media hadn't assaulted him with mindless entertainment! Thank you, mass media! Thank you, era where the feelings invoked by an adagio have been dumbified, standardized, mass produced and showered upon the masses!

    Gone are the tears and fury spent on philosophy? Tears and fury? Yeah, sounds about right. What was Socrates' reward for trying to enlighten his contemporaries? Oh yeah -- death. And by contemporaries, I mean the elite among his contemporaries. Plato couldn't have spent so many years travelling round the meditteranean in search for truths, learning from Egyptian mystics and writing books if he hadn't been the son of a rich merchant. Ever read Socrates argue with a slave or a foreigner? Or with, gods forbid, a woman? His philosophy was by citizens, of citizens and for citizens at a time when citizenship was a priviledge, the birthright of a small minority. Fast forward some two millenia (more or less), the 1600's. I don't think you would find it easy to convince Descartes that his time was so much better, when he had to go into exile to get his works published, under penalty of censorship and prison (at best!). You're right, gone are the tears and fury, and I'm grateful. I should start each day by praying that they never return.

    Gone the proud, solid warmth in one's circle? I'm not sure what that means. One's solid, warm circle? Are you talking about sphincters? If yours' solidity, warmth and, er, pride is gone, you may wish to consult.

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    Yes! And thank $deity for that!

    That's what I love best about the Internet : it is such an uncompromising portrait of human nature. So much porn, countless dumbass homepages, thousands of Internet forums where people can anonymously display their stupidity, their idiotic ramblings stacked on top of each other like the multicolored layers of some exquisite cake. It's fantastic!

    And the best part is that, like everything human, the 99% of bullshit are made worth it by the 1% of greatness. The MIT's OpenCourseWare is an example of that and -- oh, does the word "Linux" ring a bell to you? It's born of Usenet, the same place which probably has the highest dumb idea-per-word ratio of the world. And yet, this unprecedented, unthinkable even fifteen years ago collaborative project, born of the gratuitous volunteer work of enthousiasts, is set to conquer the world!

    The whole wide fucking world is spread on the Internet, and it has already been and will be bettered by it.
    You must mean Savonarola and in which case I'd like to know how our (supposed, have you seen at the state of American politics these past few years?) reluctance to fall prey to crazy bloodthirsty religious leaders is a bad thing.
    I... don't understand. Those that don't that do that do... that don't?
    They don't understand us. And they're afraid. And we let them be, with our low self esteem.

    Maybe the jocks are the smart ones. They're the popular ones, they're the ones who get the girls. What do we get? Books, and grades.
    Sounds awfully like a statement of faith. What makes you say all human beings have that potential?

    What exactly does "make meaning from nothing" mean? How does one *make* meaning? Especially from nothing? If that capacity to "make meaning" comes with the reading of books, then it's not from nothing. It's from our understanding of culture.

    And, that's barring faulty biology? So biology can have something to do with it? Where do you draw the line?
    I haven't scrubbed many septic tanks, at least for a living, however I don't think that people who do that tell to themselves "Damn, if only I could be more like that nerd I beat up in high school!" all through the day.
    What what what? It must be my short attention span, but I'm afraid you'll have to use shorter sentences for me to follow.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2004
  13. airavata portentous Registered Senior Member

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    1,352
    It must be epidemic.
    From my experience... the situation you speak of starts quite early, in school itself.
    Quite a few people in my class very proudly state the fact that they've read 6 books in their entire life. Inevitably, gthe topic of discussion is sports, or films, or the latest gossip, never about books. There's only 1 person in my school with whom I can talk about Poe or Orwell. I think much has to do with the perceived implosion of social standing that comes with having an interest in something remotely intellectual. Whenever an intelligent topic is brought up, a quick remark, a 'witty' statement, and all the fools are laughing and the topic is changed.

    Bottomline - laziness. It's so much easier to be forcefed the whole gamut of emotions available on TV, than to explore the mind of a true genius, as is the case with books. A slow discovery, revealing unknown situations, unknown words, unknown ideas, compared to instant gratification. Cheap love, sleazy sex, blaring melodrama, .... all available at the click of the button. It's so much easier to sink into putridity than it is to rise above the normal.
     
  14. P. M. Thorne Registered Senior Member

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    574
    Wow! Well, I liked the first post on this thread, but was not too surprised with the dialogue that follows. There are a few matters I wish to address. One is that you who think that people without a formal education do not think, ...do not think enough, or you would know better. The sad truth is that some who verge on becoming professional students could not think their way out of a paper bag.

    Therefore, those who labor, or do menial tasks may be thinking far more than one who simply memorizes phrases from commentaries about writings -with sentences too long for someone's attention span.

    It makes me feel a bit nauseous when one compares those who take advantage of existing technology to those who made beauty from the basics. As for intellect and ignorance, sometimes they walk hand in hand, but thinking is quite another matter.
    No one has mentioned intuition, or wisdom. Just knowing enough to say, "I think therefore I am," does not mean that one has read Descartes, and who cares if they have. Being able to forumlate thoughts in a way that serves us well is what is most important.

    In addition, I disagree that people who are well read are necessarily arrogant. Some read for their own edification. Further, being better read than others need not create a gulf, whereas thinking more than others, holding to a purpose, discipline, sobriety, (and I am not talking about booze here), civility, and other such qualities are often resented, because many people do not wish to be reminded of the more serious things in life, like responsibility. I am able to share much of what I read with those who do not read much more than People Magazine or the TV Guide. Of course, I do not call them names or tell them they are full of that which has passed through the intestinal
    channels.


    The noisy pictures, no matter how grand, are just that. As for ET, it was a good, touchy feely movie. Cannot say that I learned any values from it, however. Little House on the Prairie taught some good values, but I cannot say that I actually learned anything new from it, when I was exposed to it. I do learn about values when I read history, and about humankind. There is far more to ponder than that which I learned in my Sociology classes.

    As for passion. What is it? Is it jumping up and down, while clapping one's hands, as in the The Wheel of Fortune, or The Family Feud? Or is it one's shrieking that would indicate that passion at work? I believe there is nothing more gratifying than a passion for learning, and that there is nothing more grand than the old writings, when man's passion for learning could get him killed.
     
  15. LeoDV Obstinate idiot Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    40
    I have little to add to that excellent post, except that the moving pictures are just that, yes, but in the same way that literature and poetry are just words words words.

    My point is that those who cry out that we live in a cultural dark age forget too quickly what the actual dark ages were like. And when those (closet) conservatives refer to a grand past where people cared about art and philosophy, that past is fictitious. Human nature (whatever that is) is pretty much a constant, and only a fraction of people will care to read books and generally learn about stuff -- and guess what? It's fine. I believe one can have a great, satisfying life without being able to quote Critias and I don't have the pretention to claim that what I love and enriches me is the universal path to happiness or enlightenment.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2004
  16. SwedishFish Conspirator Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,908
    "Why aren't the intellectual elite running this world?"

    they're busy congratulating each other on being superior to mere mortals.
    yeah, i'm arrogant. so what? i also know i'm as limited as the next genius.

    i wouldn't call dumbing it down 'crouching'. i call it being bilingual.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!


    aaalso, when you're around other people who are so-fucking-intellectual-it-hurts all the time, you need to take a break and do something decidedly unitellectual like watching cartoons and talking about shallow pursuits.
     
  17. water the sea Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,442
    High culture (" ") is for the elite, so the blanket statement, and originally, high culture was a matter of the social elite.

    It has also been regarded as bad, at least in Europe, trying to skip between social classes, be it up or down on the ladder of social hierarchy.

    That value remained till today.

    If you apparently aren't a member of the elite, you are regarded as a wannabe if you like Shakespeare.

    What non-elite people find disgusting in such who are non-elite but do hi-culture, is that they perceive them as WANNABIES. And being a wannabe is bad - it indicates that you are trying to skip from one social class to another. Therefore, liking hi-culture but not being a member of elite is bad.

    It also goes the other way: A member of the elite will be disgusted by you, if you like hi-culture, but are not a member of the elite. "You messed up fields of self-realization", is the slogan here.

    It doesn't matter at all how well you know an artwork. Once I was at a concert of Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony, the place packed with elite. But I love Tchaikovsky, of course, and I know most of the pieces I go to listen. The Sixth ends slowly, queitly. ONE man in the audience applauded, the rest didn't -- they obviously didn't know the piece. Seconds of embarrassing silence. Then they realized that the conductor layed down his Dirigentenstab (sorry, don't know the English word), and then they massively applauded. The whole thing being even more bizzare because it was the Mariinsky Teatr with Valery Gergiev (highly famous here).

    I knew when the piece ended, but I didn't start applauding, nor stood up -- I felt pressured by my actually not belonging there. Two posh old ladies sat next to me, and they didn't even bother to reply "good evening" to me as they came to sit down.
    If anything, I feel bad for not showing my appreciation for the music, they really played a remarkable performance. The orchestra and the conductor would very much understand it and accept it.


    On the whole, it's a dog eat dog world, or so some like to call it -- and thus it became. (Classical) art and literature go into depths, touch the soul deeply -- but who can afford or be able to deal with that nowadays, when what is asked are factual knowledge, coolness and a certain "rationalizing everything"- approach??

    P. S. Hey, you've got to hide your love away.


    "Words are just words, unless they are true."
    David Mamet
     
  18. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,343
    Not much time here so I'll just offer a quick observation. In agreement with gendanken, I note a distinct difference in the way intellectual ability is responded to in comparison to physical ability. If the response, as some would have it, is merely a reaction to elitism or arrogance one would expect the response to be similar. Yet the demonstration of athletic prowess is typically applauded while a similar display of intellectual prowess is publicly denounced. Meanwhile I find that the intellectual 'elite' are typically far more humble than the athletic 'elite'.

    ~Raithere
     
  19. P. M. Thorne Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    574
    LeoDV wrote: My point is that those who cry out that we live in a cultural dark age forget too quickly what the actual dark ages were like. And when those (closet) conservatives refer to a grand past where people cared about art and philosophy, that past is fictitious. Human nature (whatever that is) is pretty much a constant, and only a fraction of people will care to read books and generally learn about stuff -- and guess what? It's fine. I believe one can have a great, satisfying life without being able to quote Critias and I don't have the pretention to claim that what I love and enriches me is the universal path to happiness or enlightenment.

    I used to love visiting my aunts. We would sit for hours and talk, often about the most simple things, but more about thoughtful, meaningful things. None of them completed grade school, but they thought about things and contemplated our existence and our connection with nature and with each other. Yet, there is something in me that like satire, repartee, and sometimes I smile at arrogance, but this is not what inspires me. What inspires me mostly is philosophy and history, not arguing about it, but learning about it. Anyway, thank you for your post.
     
  20. P. M. Thorne Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    574
    RAITHERE: You are correct, of course, but words might stay with us longer. No???
     
  21. LeoDV Obstinate idiot Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    40
    I don't really see what your point is, but let me convey an other anecdote :

    The guy who washes my windows (see, I'm an elitist asshole, so I have someone do that for me) once came with his apprentice, that he left alone with me. While I may be arrogant I'm rarely rude so I hung out with him while he did his thing and we chatted. I watched in silent amazement how carefully, precautionously he washed every window. Once I left him alone in my bedroom and had to come back because I heard loud bangs : he had locked himself out washing the windows and was hanging there (I live in an apartment building). Of course I opened the window and let him in, he finished his job, and then his boss came back, checked out his work and critiqued it, saying here you could've done this, look, and washed my window a second time.

    I could see that these two guys love what they do for a living, even though it's something I dislike so much I pay them to do it instead of me. They take pleasure in the intricacies of this seemingly mundane skill, and in witnessing their finished work. I loved that spectacle, because it went to show that everyone can do anything he likes, as long as it's fullfilling. I know the guys who wash my windows don't give a shit about my books just the same way that I don't give a shit about washing windows, and I thought about how pretentious and simply false it would be for me to say that this guy is "binding his hands behind his back" while I contemplate delicious otherworldly ideas like the philosopher out of Plato's cave. I love books and culture, and can't imagine what life would be without them (maybe I'd be washing windows for a living), but I don't believe that they are The Way and that anyone who doesn't care about that is blind, lame and foolish.

    And hey, wouldn't the world be boring if it was only filled with intellectuals? What about diversity, for chrissakes!
    I would say that generally intellectual prowess isn't denounced as much as just met with indifference. The answer here is that people want to be athletes, they identify with them, they understand the exceptional nature of their skill and the kind of dedication they take. It isn't quite so with intellectuals. Athletes are viewed as an enhanced version of the common man, an expression of the strengths we would all want to have. In comparison, intellectuals are misunderstood, simply because it's hard to understand what it's like to be smart unless you're smart.

    I was chatting on the bus with a lady, who was a secretary or a cashier or whatever, and she asked me what I did and I simply answered "Well, I work with my brains." and she qutie genuinely replied "Oh, well I couldn't do that!"
     
  22. SoLiDUS OMGWTFBBQ Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,593
    Unfortunately, that is surprisingly accurate: what can be seen usually takes
    precedence over what can only be understood.
     
  23. BigBlueHead Great Tealnoggin! Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,996
    Gendy: I'll answer your question if you can answer me this one.

    Why, after the LOTR movies came out, does everyone think that LOTR is "historical fiction"?

    I mean it, even a few people on this forum have said that "things were better back then"... y'know, back in the age of giant spiders where people had magic powers and were immortal and stuff ... those were the days.

    LOTR movie = millions of instant nerds, but these are nerd MORONS. It's just not right. The nerd movement has been co-opted by mainstreaming just like any other, and if you want to be a REAL nerd, you need to do the real stuff. These days even pretending to like anime isn't nerdy enough to be hardcore.

    DVLeo and PMT: Socrates, such as he is in literary circles, is a fictitious character. There was a real Socrates, but sort of like there was a real Santa Claus... almost everything we know about the 'Crates was written by Plato, who had a serious crush on the guy. That Plato's Cave thing may have been inflated a leeeeetle.
     

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