Intellectual who?



I recall the time when I understood  intellectuals as a professional class  who
use their education simply to make a good living and earn a respectable status within the framework of a society they fall in. But it just turned out to be a wishful thinking - wishful because during the journey of my life, I came
across a good number  of very smart people  who have no particular attachment to the life of mind. There are people who have spent a lot of time in classrooms but seem  not really educated. Another class is the people with relatively modest abilities who are trained to expert levels  of competence, but cant be considered as original or serene thinkers. So who is an intellectual becomes a very curious question to answer.
The word `intellect' conveys the general notion of a literate thinker or a curiosity driven mind. Thus an intellect involving a thought and a reason is the one who tries to use his intellectual instinct  to work, study, reflect to speculate, ask and answer questions about a wide variety of different ideas in either professional or personal capacities.
There are broadly three modern definitions about intellectuals in this day and age. One class of  intellectuals are those who are deeply involved in ideas, books and the life of mind. Intellectuals   "as a recognizable occupational class" consists of professors, lecturers, engineers, doctors, lawyers,& scientists. Cultural intellectuals are those of notable expertise in culture and arts, which gives them cultural authority which they can use to speak in public on other matters. Thus intellectuals are people who take  ideas seriously. When conversing intellectuals try to pursue a topic cooperatively. They may be competitive and fall in debate to win, but winning is not the point. It is to subject ones own and others ideas to critical examination in order to expose weaknesses in ones knowledge or logic that prevent one from coming to new level of understanding of something.To this end they argue scrupulously and cooperatively and criticize constructively. They help one another  define their terms so that they do not argue past one another. What distinguishes an intellectual from non-intellectual is not so much of their cognitive ability or their education but a strong natural thirst and curiosity  which sets them apart  from those around them. As Aldous Huxley once remarked that an intellectual is a person who by adolescence had discovered something more interesting.
(Naseem Ahmad Sofi is Lecturer at University of Kashmir)

Lastupdate on : Tue, 12 Mar 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 12 Mar 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 13 Mar 2013 00:00:00 IST

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