Oct 13
Yellow Sweater's picture

Intellectuals

I have always identified, rather sheepishly, as an intellectual. Considering that I am interested in linguistics, classical history, and mathematical philosophy, It’s the only title that has fit. But for me, the label has both a frivolous quality and dark romance. When I think of an intellectual, I see a Raskolnikov like character, holed up in some filthy apartment, drinking plum brandy and furiously typing idealized political theories. A professor who lectures in their bathrobe. Or maybe an amoral speech writer, spinning grandiose lies for despots. I think of the Lenins, Kierkigaards, and Brucans of history. And to be perfectly honest I wouldn’t be terrible opposed to joining their ranks. Communism looked great on paper; I would love to pen a political philosophy just as preposterous. I think it would be fascinating to spend my life attempting to reconcile devout lutheranism with existentialism. And if I lived in a dictatorship, I would definitely want to be the one subtly influencing the dictator.  

I understand that most intellectuals don’t fit into these classic trops. In fact they are often the complete opposite. They do important research grounded in empirical data, and have the remarkable ability to explore minutiae, turning esoteric questions into fascinating quests. These quests not only add to our understanding of the universe, but also help to embellish it. 

It is my belief that our subjective selves are engaged in a constant dialog with objective reality. And I think it’s the intellectuals job to find the facts, but also to give them character. We, as humans, have the unique power to highlight patterns. We get to explore the permutations, and choose the most beautiful arrangement.