Intellectuals as a subset of the society.

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Reply Wed 10 Sep, 2008 02:52 am
In my point of view, intellectuals like philosophers,artists and poets ought to be aknowledging themselves as a subset of the society, and whose purpose should be society's progress.

Based on this utilitarian notion, intellectuals' status is interellated with this aknowledgement.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Wed 10 Sep, 2008 07:05 am
@diamantis,
Intellectuals, as agents in history and as humans, are indeed a part of society, but very often their thinking runs "against the current," and it is because of this independence, their "marching to different drummers," that much of what we cherish in them has come forth. Certainly the difficult "progress" of civilization owes more to their difference from the contemporary intellectual idols than it does to their acceptance.
Moreover, one would be hard put to establish a standard to measure progress that intellectuals should foster. One would suppose that society would establish the purpose; but society is not always correct in its demands and to put intellectuals in the service of society could lead to the opposite, a smug and stiffling burgher existence, or intellectuals serving the Fuerher or the Party.
 
iconoclast
 
Reply Wed 10 Sep, 2008 08:16 am
@jgweed,
diamantis,

There's no such thing as philosophy. Not anymore. How many times have you encountered the words 'oh, yes, I see that now' on these forums? There's no-one here willing to put truth above ego - just people with opinions who get hurt when challenged, who get nasty when proven wrong, but then whom you find elsewhere - spotuing the same shyt. That's not philosophy - it's chat with the pretence of significance.

I think it's symptomatic of a society that has little intellectual worth - that speaks to, and caters for the lowest intellectual standard of the herd. A society that begins with everyone's right to have, and express thier opinion, and ends up celebrating stupidity - and mocking intellect. You can't tell an idiot to shut up anymore - you're trampling on his rights, and the idiot feels no obligation to shut up, because everyone respects his right to have and express his opinion.

Philosophy is lost to the barking crowd - a mob gathered tightly on the middle ground of the lowest common denominator, who grab at eachother to make sure they, and no-one else gets away, who are uninterested in different perspectives, but only in the self-affirmation of recognizing thier ignorant opinions in others.

iconoclast.

P.S. There are those here who know this doesn't apply to them, and those to whom it does, but don't know it.
 
Fido
 
Reply Wed 10 Sep, 2008 01:12 pm
@iconoclast,
Do you suppose it is possible that when refering to living beings that the proper word to use would be genus and species rather than set and sub set?

If that were true, I see no evidence of it. I have grease under my fingernails and oil and gasket sealer ground into my skin. But my hog is running, and it is good to get a ride out of it this year. Mechanical or athletic ability all take intelligence, and social interaction takes the most intelligence. Jobs take little intelligence except enduring them, when they take so much time, pay so little, and require less than a whole set of brains. Everyone is more or less intellectual, and every attempt to divide humanity on that basis is a failure, because it is always arbetrary, and subjective. Yet the word serves as an insult delivered first and always by ideologues, who do not think, but who only seize those ideas already filled out by popular support. So for them, the singling out of intellect and critical thinking as vices is meant by them to get all the support of those who cannot without a lot of heavy mental lifting discern fact from fiction. And still they are intellectuals who, like most of us, give our desires and fears greater weight than real solutions to real problems.
 
Fido
 
Reply Wed 10 Sep, 2008 01:14 pm
@iconoclast,
iconoclast wrote:
diamantis,

There's no such thing as philosophy. Not anymore. How many times have you encountered the words 'oh, yes, I see that now' on these forums? There's no-one here willing to put truth above ego - just people with opinions who get hurt when challenged, who get nasty when proven wrong, but then whom you find elsewhere - spotuing the same shyt. That's not philosophy - it's chat with the pretence of significance.

I think it's symptomatic of a society that has little intellectual worth - that speaks to, and caters for the lowest intellectual standard of the herd. A society that begins with everyone's right to have, and express thier opinion, and ends up celebrating stupidity - and mocking intellect. You can't tell an idiot to shut up anymore - you're trampling on his rights, and the idiot feels no obligation to shut up, because everyone respects his right to have and express his opinion.

Philosophy is lost to the barking crowd - a mob gathered tightly on the middle ground of the lowest common denominator, who grab at eachother to make sure they, and no-one else gets away, who are uninterested in different perspectives, but only in the self-affirmation of recognizing thier ignorant opinions in others.

iconoclast.

P.S. There are those here who know this doesn't apply to them, and those to whom it does, but don't know it.

Sir; ego is truth. No ego, no truth, and no of everything else for that matter.
 
Poseidon
 
Reply Wed 10 Sep, 2008 06:45 pm
@Fido,
The term ego has two meanings here.

"No ego, no truth" is correct in the Freudian use of the word (Id, Ego, Superego)
The other use of the word, is better used as 'egotistical' IE Ego without acknowledgment of the Superego, perhaps better understood as 'Id'. (not I.D.)

But the issues here are very important.

This is exactly the dillema that was faced by Christ, Samson, Socrates and the other prophets; and I fear there is no obvious solution. The moment the intellectual gains status; the imperitive to maintain his or her intellectual momentum meets a new challenge : comfort. Not insurmountable, just difficult. In a general sense status often saps the intellectual of the need to achieve. However, if there is no such result from achievement, then there is very little to move the intellectual forward.

If status is the result, then the egotistical ursurp that status, as the authentic would only take it if it were justified. When such a justification occurs, the egotistical keep out the authentic as they are seen as a threat; as the authentic will not tolerate the egotistical.

The non-egotistical (ego) would suggest 'the betterment of mankind' as reward enough. However, this is weakness, as to not acknowledge one's own authentic achievement allows the egotist to reign in one's stead! (And lead society astray) This is where the Freudian use of the word 'Ego' plays its positive role. The status is not seen as reward. More as a burden. A necesary burden; the next philosophical challenge after establishing the authentic philosophy.

Its easier and more comfortable to live the relaxed life of the authentic middle-class philosopher than to take on the daunting challenge of status, success, and the danger of egotistical notions of the self.

No real answers here, just more questions, sorry!
 
iconoclast
 
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 04:57 am
@Poseidon,
Fido and Posiedon,

I agree with you both to some extent, but who said NO ego? I said put truth above ego, by which I meant the egotism of asserting the value of what amounts to prejudice - in that people put forward ill-considered opinions and then howl for relativism, and throw around accusations of intolerance when shown to be incorrect.

It's a parody of philosophy - (yesterday it was a tragedy) - that sees a hundred Aristotle impersonaters, posing and gesturing, all speaking at once, while no-one listens.

Plato sat at the knee of Socrates, just as Aristotle sat at the knee of Plato. You have to sit at the knee a while before you can stand on the shoulders of giants - and that's what secularism has cost us. Instead false philosophers drag giants down to knee height so they can clamber on.

I fear this is turning toward tragedy again and so cut it short.

iconoclast.
 
Fido
 
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 06:59 am
@iconoclast,
The notion that the intellectual are some how different from others is the beginning of a caste society that is self perpetuating. In this country people were denied political power, and are yet, because they are uneducated, and then they are denied education because they do not have political power. Now, look... If you read Nietsche you see someone running down the little guy and building up the over man when the facts are that he was seeing the result of hundereds of years of feudalism, of one class who used to be only first among equals becoming masters of the other, and then denying to their brothers the essentials of political power and freedom. They were all the children of conquerors. They were all masters. They were all men. And to divide people on the basis of a result of a past division is wrong and stupid. History shows that only those societies which are united can stand, and ultimately, if you give power to people on the basis of some merit they will hold on to it whether they have merit or their children have merit in fact. And that is wrong, and a wrong to all.

All are more or less intellectual, and intelligent. And know one better knows his own needs than the preson who suffers them. No one is better able to curb excess than one neighbors. It is from all the people that power and authority should flow, and not any contrived class. And, socieities should be kept young, fluid, and dynamic, and the relationship between citizen and government should me kept active, and limber. Our society is ossified. It is all structure and no relationship. It is class divided, and the one thing I like about this election is that it demonstrates how far people can go given a moderate start and a decent education. That decent education is denied to people, and is sometimes outright refused to them by communities trapped in ideologies. You can count on the wealthy of any stripe being well educated, and you can count on them keeping the price beyond the reach of most of us. It is for a particular anf poisonous cause that people leave college buried in debt. It is to remove from them the thought that they might owe anything to the poor and disenfrachized. They pay the debt, so they think their education is only for themselves, and for their profit. The fact is that society benefits from everyone knowing as much as is possible. Armies may march on the bellies, but societies progress on their minds.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 08:48 am
@Fido,
After WWI, Julian Benda wrote a prophetic book much read at the time but neglected today, The Treason of the Intellectuals. He argued that culture was becoming politicised to the point where the aristocracy of intellect was turning away from the pursuit of truth for its own sake and its role of independent observation.

One has only to review the extreme example of Communist Russia and China to see the disastrous results of politics dominating history, art and literature, and science to understand Brenda's point. In the so-called "free world" the trend has been more subtle, and the intellectual class under the influence of democratic ideology has been forced into a dull conformity it finds difficult to abandon.

We hear from every soapbox in society that "everyone has a right to his own opinions" with the implication that all opinions are equal and equally true and that one is as good as another, which is an entirely different thinking from "everyone has a legal right to hold opinions and under most circumstances to voice these in public" without fear or terror. Now the question is, does anyone have a right to ignorance and error?

Isn't it indicative of the sad state of affairs that science is under attack from the smug and fanactical Christians who drag their children to a "Creationist Museum" or that the clear warnings of science about the present dangers to the ecosystem are relegated to "it is just their opinion"?

It is one thing to say that economic and social divisions of a static nature are not productive, and entirely another to desire all people to be in the same class, or argue that everyone is equal in intelligent or abilities?

Lastly, is it not significant that some interpret Nietzsche's ubermensch (and its origins in his thought) in terms of social, political, or economic class? Rather, Nietzsche seems to be saying that politics and society hitherto are obstacles to be overcome if the highest type of individuals, "single great human beings" are to flourish, and that these are " philosophers, artists, and saints."
 
Poseidon
 
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 02:57 pm
@jgweed,
Quote:
Isn't it indicative of the sad state of affairs that science is under attack from the smug and fanactical Christians who drag their children to a "Creationist Museum" or that the clear warnings of science about the present dangers to the ecosystem are relegated to "it is just their opinion"?


Could just as easily say

"Isn't it indicative of the sad state of affairs that religion is under attack from the smug and fanatical pseudo-scientists who drag their children to a "Eugenics University", or that the clear warnings of religion about the present dangers to the fabric of society are relegated to "if you believe in God you have schizophrenia", or "Homosexuals have a right to adopt as they are equally good at gender and parenting as heteros"

Its a tricky issue. I see science and religion as complimentary. I see little or no contradiction in their philosophy, and in their effect. Most people are not 'analytically correct', regardless of which philosophy they follow.

Eugenics is disastrous. Germany and Japan taught us that. Yet Eugenics is scientism of the most dangerous order. And the fastest growing ideology around today.

Equally, religion not open to question is just as disastrous, and reduces to Eugenics in effect if not in the exact phrasing of the language used.

IE The Eugenic pseudo scientist will claim inherrantly superior genes; which, illogically, are alleged to actually dictate behaviour. This negates free will and the ability to simply reason one's way out of a bad state of mind.

Also, Dogmatic religion will claim that all is the will of God (and not man), which is illogical and also negates free will and the possibility of redemption.

I see plenty of foolish Christians, and plenty of foolish Scientismists, and wise people in both bodies of thought.

A solution?

Put a free internet dial-up in every home, and let those who wish to learn, do so.

:detective:
 
Fido
 
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 05:31 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed wrote:
After WWI, Julian Benda wrote a prophet book much read at the time but neglected today, The Treason of the Intellectuals. He argued that culture was becoming politicised to the point where the aristocracy of intellect was turning away from the pursuit of truth for its own sake and its role of independent observation.

One has only to review the extreme example of Communist Russia and China to see the disastrous results of politics dominating history, art and literature, and science to understand Brenda's point. In the so-called "free world" the trend has been more subtle, and the intellectual class under the influence of democratic ideology has been forced into a dull conformity it finds difficult to abandon.

We hear from every soapbox in society that "everyone has a right to his own opinions" with the implication that all opinions are equal and equally true and that one is as good as another, which is an entirely different thinking from "everyone has a legal right to hold opinions and under most circumstances to voice these in public" without fear or terror. Now the question is, does anyone have a right to ignorance and error?

Isn't it indicative of the sad state of affairs that science is under attack from the smug and fanactical Christians who drag their children to a "Creationist Museum" or that the clear warnings of science about the present dangers to the ecosystem are relegated to "it is just their opinion"?

It is one thing to say that economic and social divisions of a static nature are not productive, and entirely another to desire all people to be in the same class, or argue that everyone is equal in intelligent or abilities?

Lastly, is it not significant that some interpret Nietzsche's ubermensch (and its origins in his thought) in terms of social, political, or economic class? Rather, Nietzsche seems to be saying that politics and society hitherto are obstacles to be overcome if the highest type of individuals, "single great human beings" are to flourish, and that these are " philosophers, artists, and saints."

I don't suppose I would have much trouble disagreeing with that fellow. It is ideals, and our tendency to put them before human beings that is the greatest problem we face. Forms, ideas, like government should always be the tools of human kind, but we see how often we are mastered by them. Even philosophers can be mastered by their ideals, and they begin to think the perfect form of society, or education, or government, or economy is how to produce the perfect human. The problem is, that there is no more perfect human than one that is living and breathing. Now, opinions are welcome, but it is a poor substitute for real power in ones life.

No one fears opinions in the West, because they are so meaningless, and the only thing that could make them meaningful is the power to make them into something more substancial. No person needs to be too smart to figure out better than all others what they want, and what is in their best interest. If people had to suffer the consequences of their own opinion, they would be more careful what they say. They know they can speak and even act irresponsibly at time, and why not, since it is all they have to show their freedom, and individuality. But it is meaningless. It is like some one at a funeral saying they wish it was them. I knew a guy once who pulled a 38 on a guy for saying just that, when he had contributed to the death of the man's niece. He changed his mind once the opportunity was at hand. If your words don't count you can talk all you like.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 05:58 pm
@Fido,
There seems to be an extension of the political and legal principles of democracy into cultural areas as well. One does not have to go afar---even within this forum---to read arguments that great art is determined by a show of hands---dirty and untutored to be sure---that sees Beethoven's late quartets held in the same esteem as some Beetle's ditty.
Others seem to want to argue that everyone who has an opinion (and who doesn't have opinions in today's world), is a philosopher.
For whatever reason, whether out of ressentiment, or a need for easy and painless achievement, the effect of this movement has been a leveling of cultural values.
 
Grimlock
 
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 12:27 pm
@jgweed,
I define intellectuals as people who are devoted to the destruction of old ideas, their own first and foremost.

With that in mind, my intellectuals are neither a peaceful nor a popular lot, and at any rate thoroughly unsuited to the service of society, except in the highest sense, of course. All we can do is prepare the soil; attempting to "cultivate" intellect is a fool's errand, as it is only those who seize the brass ring of their own accord who are worth a damn at the end of the day.
 
Fido
 
Reply Fri 12 Sep, 2008 05:04 pm
@Grimlock,
It is not because ideas are old that they are destroyed, and in fact, they are dropped in the dirt and never picked up when they are found to be wrong, and use less. I trust every mind is like my garage and just as full as it can be; but no one has space, mental, or otherwise, for any junk beyond reclaimation. So, when an idea is proved wrong, a better one is sought or picked up if available. That is what happens, I guess, unless nothing is riding on it, like religion, which counts for nothing, and can keep garbage in plain view to the offense of every rational mind.
 
 

 
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