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Old 2010-08-29, 19:00   Link #21
roriconfan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
Sometimes I think being smarter is a curse.

I'm a really smart person. I learn new concepts very quickly and I'm extremely creative when it comes to problem-solving. My success rates in these areas are also very high--rarely do I undertake an important task or job and find myself unable to complete it, or fail entirely.

The biggest problem with being very smart is that I'm not easily amused. It's very easy for me to get bored. My brain constantly craves input, new challenges, difficult problems to solve. Considering the current economic climate and my job--which requires virtually no brain activity--I am thoroughly, miserably bored most of the time.

I know some of you will immediately chime in with an admonition to stop my whining, there are people out there with no job at all, people who can't go to college, people who have no hope--and you know what? I don't give a shit. It's already been proven time and time again that boredom can be very bad for your health.

Being mind-numbingly bored is very stressful, and as we all know, high stress levels are very deleterious to one's health. Boredom is just one major contributor to a host of issues piling stress on top of me, and my health has been adversely affected as a result. I'm constantly cold. I have headaches frequently. I don't sleep well, nor do I derive much rest from the sleep I do get. All of these things just further increase my stress level.

I know things will get better and the huge lead blanket of stress will be mostly lifted from my shoulders once I get out of the shelter, but for now I'm still feeling the effects.
I got over the boredom phase. I just do creative stuff like writing and sketching. Boredom is almost like a trigger for creativity.

As for the snob part, if someone mentions 10 reasons of why he / she likes something, and someone simply calls him / her a snob, well, the jerk here is the acuser. Interllectuals for once provide an analysis of their POV, when most just use unsupported one-liners.

And let's not forget that opinions are not like math. There can be more than one answers to a given situation. At best, you can just hope to make clear why YOU have such a stance towards something and do the same for the other side. Convincing is an extra bonus and not be the main target.
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Old 2010-08-29, 19:09   Link #22
ChainLegacy
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Originally Posted by Mr. Wang View Post
People's minds don't change easily. If they do change easily, than that means they don't have much grip on their own beliefs to back up their claims.
I agree with the premise that most people won't change their viewpoint over the course of a debate, but if someone does acknowledge they may not have been thinking about all aspects and begin to see why the other person thinks that way, I say more power to them. That's intellectual honesty.
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Old 2010-08-29, 19:19   Link #23
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"I am not convinced but I find the way you excused it very interesting. I never thought of it like that."
That's enough for me.
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Old 2010-08-29, 21:26   Link #24
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After reading through all the posts, I think I found the answer to the "stigma" against "intellectuals".

It is jealousy, plain and simple. Since when is anyone able to swallow his/her pride in front of someone who is more knowledgable and willing to share it? When technical attacks fail, there is always the personal - by simply calling the person as a smartass and arrogant, or find an opportunity to fault him when he/she makes a misquote.

Personally, I find that discussing a really outlandish and alien topic, over a period of time, everyone gets to participate as long as everyone is thinking. There's nothing wrong with saying everything out everything you know - in fact, it is an excellent way of hardening your fact base and trading for rare pieces of information.
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Old 2010-08-29, 21:31   Link #25
Langus
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Originally Posted by Yoko Takeo View Post
It's always best to be an intellectual but that the same time humble. True intellectuals don't act like they know everything, but instead realize that they are always students who learn and study each day of their life, and understand that as intellectuals, they are always walking the path of learning. Imo, snobbish intellectuals are more ignorant than the ignorant.
@ SaintessHeart - I'm quoting Yoko because their post makes complete sense.

The smartest intellectuals I have ever met in my academic career and travels have also been the most humble people I have ever met. This is the mark of a true intellectual. They would rather teach and share knowledge than make another person feel insignificant for their ignorance.

There is a great Indonesian saying to this effect - when the rice grows ripe and heavy, the stalk bows down. It means that the more knowledge one acquires the lower they bow their head (the more humble they are because they realize how much they still don't know).

Snobbish intellectuals and the types who talk down to others are insecure about their own abilities/talents/knowledge.
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Old 2010-08-29, 21:45   Link #26
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Originally Posted by Langus View Post
@ SaintessHeart - I'm quoting Yoko because their post makes complete sense.

The smartest intellectuals I have ever met in my academic career and travels have also been the most humble people I have ever met. This is the mark of a true intellectual. They would rather teach and share knowledge than make another person feel insignificant for their ignorance.

There is a great Indonesian saying to this effect - when the rice grows ripe and heavy, the stalk bows down. It means that the more knowledge one acquires the lower they bow their head (the more humble they are because they realize how much they still don't know).

Snobbish intellectuals and the types who talk down to others are insecure about their own abilities/talents/knowledge.
Insecure, or flabbergasted at other's opinions. I really do reject this notion about the best intellectuals being humble because the outward appearance of such people can often times be very different from what they are actually thinking. So many times you see well respected individuals in public that seem humble be extremely arrogant in private.
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Old 2010-08-30, 01:39   Link #27
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The smartest intellectuals I have ever met in my academic career and travels have also been the most humble people I have ever met. This is the mark of a true intellectual.
IMO, charisma and smarts are two different things. Basically it boils down do you like the guy or not: if not, he's a snob. If yes, he's "a true intellectual and a humble man of the world."

Then you also have to factor in jealousy. I really can't talk about my schools anymore, because if I say anything about them I'm immediately labeled. Probably because I don't care to be a charmer >.>
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Old 2010-08-30, 01:55   Link #28
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The most overused defenses I ever receive as reply to a negative comment I make about a series, are the following:
"If you don't like it, don't watch it."
"Why did you bother watching it and making the post if you don't like it?"
"This series is not for you so stop bothering us."
"You have no taste."
"You are a troll."
"OMG, this is da best animu evah and you a stupid idiot fag to not like it."
"Snob!"

You will notice that none of the above have anything to do with my opinion. They have to do about me. They attack me and don't counter my opinion. Because for some reason, my personality are those 3 sentences of a comment and must be exterminated like Muslims during a crusade. So I just call it ad hominem and I win. Pretty simple and it works most of the times because most of them really have no way to excuse anything or their own opinions.
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Old 2010-08-30, 04:05   Link #29
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Hey! Sorry for being a troll, but didn't we already have this thread before. I know I saw a thread with the same subject like this couple months ago.
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Old 2010-08-30, 04:16   Link #30
Langus
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Originally Posted by roriconfan View Post
"If you don't like it, don't watch it."
This one has nothing to do with you. It's simple logic.

If you don't enjoy a series why waste your time watching it or, for that matter, others' time making posts about how much you dislike it in a thread dedicated to that series?
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Old 2010-08-30, 06:31   Link #31
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Quote:
IMO, charisma and smarts are two different things. Basically it boils down do you like the guy or not: if not, he's a snob. If yes, he's "a true intellectual and a humble man of the world."

Then you also have to factor in jealousy. I really can't talk about my schools anymore, because if I say anything about them I'm immediately labeled. Probably because I don't care to be a charmer >.>
Arguments can be seen from an objective pov, based on the language used and the mannerisms of the participants. Snobs are the ones who will always try and bring the convo to something they want to say, regardless of whether or not the other members will like it or hate it. I believe that others would refrain from provoking people into such conversations and only participate as long as nobody is left out.
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Old 2010-08-30, 07:44   Link #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Langus View Post
This one has nothing to do with you. It's simple logic.

If you don't enjoy a series why waste your time watching it or, for that matter, others' time making posts about how much you dislike it in a thread dedicated to that series?
Are you nuts? How can you know it's bad if you don't watch it and how will you tell others you didn't like it if you don't post? And what is there to post if you agree with everything others wrote before you? And as I said many times already, negative criticism can be just as fun.
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Old 2010-08-30, 07:55   Link #33
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Originally Posted by roriconfan View Post
The most overused defenses I ever receive as reply to a negative comment I make about a series, are the following:
"If you don't like it, don't watch it."
"Why did you bother watching it and making the post if you don't like it?"
"This series is not for you so stop bothering us."
"You have no taste."
"You are a troll."
"OMG, this is da best animu evah and you a stupid idiot fag to not like it."
"Snob!"

You will notice that none of the above have anything to do with my opinion. They have to do about me. They attack me and don't counter my opinion. Because for some reason, my personality are those 3 sentences of a comment and must be exterminated like Muslims during a crusade. So I just call it ad hominem and I win. Pretty simple and it works most of the times because most of them really have no way to excuse anything or their own opinions.
What exactly do you "win"? Just because someone's argument is wrong, doesn't mean their position is wrong.

In any case, the first three aren't actually Ad Hominems because they're not inferring anything towards your opinion and whether it's valid or not.
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Old 2010-08-30, 08:40   Link #34
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Originally Posted by roriconfan View Post
Are you nuts?
Why, how interesting.

Honestly, it may have something to do with your tone. "Surprisingly" enough a lot of the flamewars has little to do with the fact that somebody criticizes somebody's favorite anime and a lot to do with the way said somebody say it.

Protip: avoid criticizing anime when one has to resort to "lol moe" as a justification. Of course it's going to rile people up.


...which leads me to a certain point of sorts: I see in this thread a fundamental disagreement of what an intellectual is. Are we defining intellectual as merely in the pursuit of knowledge? As a synonym for wisdom? In academic terms? Reckoner seems to define it very strictly, while others demand much more of the moniker than he does.

Try, for example, the way the term "public intellectual" is understood to include greater responsibilities and sensitivities to public affairs of the day as well.
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Old 2010-08-30, 08:43   Link #35
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I think there are people naturally born with this innate ability to do great in academics. Like they can probably memorize stuff with ease and they don't forget it thus people wonder why they spend lesser study time than others but are still able to ace tests. Of course this isn't an excuse that if you feel you're not smart enough then you shouldn't put in effort to study.

Smart people gain praise and admiration so eventually they will become proud of being all smart and hardworking. It's something they've "earned." Based on the definition you guys are speaking about regarding a "true intellectual" those have got to be a rare breed. Reckoner has a valid point. You can't really tell what a smart person is thinking. Not everything is what it seems. You could be doing something wrong or silly in front of the class answering a math question that comes off as strawberry pie to your smart classmates and they'll be thinking how stupid you are. You can't really tell. Only they know what's going on in their own minds.

A true intellectual for me would be someone who's truly humble and will not use their intelligence to stomp over other people.
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Old 2010-08-30, 09:45   Link #36
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What I define intellectualism as, is not only the gathering of knowledge, but the desire to gather knowledge, and the awareness that one is ignorant and needs to know things. We all start off ignorant, and intellectuals are the ones that realize they don't know something, and go out to get said info.

The best way I can put this, is certain arguments about socialism. You get your standard conservatism talk show host spewing about socialism is evil, it's the devil, and is going to ruin your life. The intellectual goes:

Hmm. Your alarm clock gets you up in the morning because the electricity delivered to your house is relatively constant, thanks to socialism. The breakfast you eat is safe because of the FDA, a socialist program. The water is clean and drinkable because of socialist utilities. The car you get into has an extremely small chance of killing you because of socialist safety regulations. The roads are generally maintained well enough for you to drive on, thanks to the socialist DOT. Then you arrive at work, which is made bearable by socialist employment regulations, and sign onto your show using the socialist-regulated airwaves that allow you to have your show in the first place, and/or log onto the internet, a government developed network, to rail about how socialism is bad.

Socialism isn't the best thing, but neither is pure capitalism. Anti-intellectualism is trying to push one extreme or the other, when the real truth is that it's near the middle and we must study each thing to determine how to best apply it. The intellectual, when confronted with this information, would go, "Yeah, even if I don't like socialism, I have to admit it has it's perks. It's not totally evil and it's not going to ruin my life, because we have many socialist programs that work (to various degrees)."

We can argue how well they work, but they do work relatively well, all things considered.
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Old 2010-08-30, 10:55   Link #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoko Takeo View Post
It's always best to be an intellectual but that the same time humble. True intellectuals don't act like they know everything, but instead realize that they are always students who learn and study each day of their life, and understand that as intellectuals, they are always walking the path of learning. Imo, snobbish intellectuals are more ignorant than the ignorant.
This is true. However I would also go a step beyond this. The main flaw I see in a lot of intellectuals is not that they don't recognize and respond to intellectual arguments that challenge their current beliefs, but rather that they only respond to intellectual arguments and dismiss non-intellectual arguments out of hand.

I am an intellectual myself, but I have come to learn that intellect is not the only path to finding truth. So when someone presents to me an argument that is not intellectually based but instead based on instinct or emotion, instead of dismissing it as illegitimate, I ask myself to consider why the person is taking that position, and to think about how to express it in intellectual terms.

Often then I express it back to them, at which point they will either say that I got it right, or that I'm off base. Once I understand their position in intellectual terms, then I can express agreement or disagreement- but even if I disagree the other person is usually pleased that I have understood them and recognized their position as legitimate.

Often these non-intellectual arguments have caused me to reconsider positions that intellectuals usually only see from one perspective. Just because someone express themselves in a non-intellectual manner does not mean there can't be truth in their position.

Take for example the "Ground Zero" mosque issue. It's essentially an emotion laded argument against placing a mosque there. The opponents to the mosque rarely express themselves using intellectual framing. This has led many to dismiss the opponents as illegitimate haters of Muslims.

However, there is an intellectual argument behind the emotion. The argument goes like this:

1: The mosque builders are the ones who originally highlighted the nearness of the mosque to Ground Zero, expressing the idea that it would serve as a "healing gesture".

2: The original proposed name of the mosque "Cordoba" has overtones related to the Islamic conquest of Spain. This combined with several other connections of the mosque builders leads many people to feel that the intention of this mosque is to give America the middle finger, and not to promote healing as the builders claim.

3: This leads to the conclusion that opponents of the mosque at Ground Zero are not opposed to Muslims or mosques, but rather opposed to people giving America the middle finger. (Of course, people who are opposed to Muslims will also join in opposing the mosque).

This explains many things. For example, it explains why Americans are not at all upset about there being a mosque in the Pentagon. Why? Because that mosque is for the use of patriotic American Muslim soldiers- the precise opposite of people who give America the middle finger. Yet liberal supporters of the mosque keep bringing up the Pentagon mosque as if they are making a point, when to opponents it's a point for them- highlighting the difference between good Muslims (who they like), and Muslims who want to give America the middle finger (who they don't like).

Note that understanding the mosque opponents position does not mean that you have to agree with them. A person could have several reasons to disagree:

1: You might decide that the builders really aren't connected with extremists, and that they don't want to give America the middle finger, but are instead culturally ignorant of how Americans would feel about this and really thought that the mosque would serve as a healing gesture. Therefore we should be generous towards them and not attack them for their good intentions however awkwardly expressed they are.

2: You might grant the mosque builders are giving America the middle finger, but argue that being tolerant and not objecting to the mosque gives us a propaganda victory by showing that America really is tolerant of Muslims and not their enemy. (Of course you must be prepared for the counter argument that letting people get away with showing America the middle finger makes us look weak).

3: You might accept that the mosque builders are giving America the middle finger, and that it's a propaganda victory for them, but argue that even so, it is more important to preserve the Constitutional protections of religious liberty. You'd argue that trying to carve out an exception to those Constitutional protections for this specific case would set a bad precedent, and weaken the protection of religions from unjustified sanctions. Interestingly enough, from the polling data I've seen, this argument would be very effective. But this argument has not be well made.

Instead the argument by supporters of the mosque seem to go like this: "You are a bunch of bigots. Shut up!" Occasionally with the added: "This is protected by the Constitution, don't you know that you idiot?"

These are not effective arguments. Mainly because they refuse to recognize the true emotion driving the opposition to the mosque: Americans don't like people who flip them off.

An effective argument in support of the mosque can be made, but not without recognizing and responding to the actual concerns of the opponents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricky Controversy View Post
What Yoko said is on the money. The problem is that you rarely encounter--either in real-life, or in fiction--a TRUE intellectual. Most people who fancy themselves intellectuals are actually pseudo-intellectuals who are more interested in trying to condescend to people that do not agree with them. This holds true regardless of a person's academic standing, too. Many a PhD-holder falls into this behavioral trap.
This is another problem. Intellectualism started as an attack on authority, arguing that the strength of a man's arguments were more important then his position or social standing. However, men crave authority, and as intellectualism became the accepted authority it is unavoidable that men begin to try and establish their authority around it. Statements that we ought to think a certain way because "all the scientists say so" is not an intellectual or scientific argument. It's an appeal to authority.

Many people have begun mouthing the positions of intellectuals that they themselves do not understand, but they repeat the same words because it signals that they belong to the "club" of intellectuals and that people ought to obey them because they have intellectual authority behind them.

Going back to the mosque example, it's a case of this appeal to authority. First the accusation of bigotry delegitimizes the opponents and undermines their authority to oppose the mosque. Then often is added the appeal to the authority of the Constitution

A much better argument could be made if the supporters of the mosque would just drop the bigotry attacks and explain why the Constitution protects mosque builders who want to flip off America. Just say: "The protection of religious liberty is so important, that the Constitution protects offensive acts that are religiously connected. Preventing the building of this mosque would set a bad precedent of allowing the government to sanction unpopular religions. Even if building this mosque is intended to offend and provoke us, still we must allow it, because the protection of our religious liberty is more important."

An argument like that would not offend people by calling them bigots, and it would present in the strongest terms possible the reason the American Constitution protects the building of this mosque.

And isn't that what intellectuals are supposed to do? Present the reasoning for a position?

And this is what leads me to conclude that the most vocal supporters of the mosque are not intellectuals either- no matter how much they try to cloak themselves in intellectual jargon.

Instead they too are making emotional appeals without adequately expressing the logical or intellectual reasoning behind those appeals. As such they are a good example of how much of the "anti-intellectual" sentiment isn't directed so much at intellectuals; as it is directed at pseudo-intellectuals who try and claim authority to boss other people around based on their use of intellectual jargon, and their support for the positions commonly held by intellectuals, rather then based on the strength of their arguments.
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Old 2010-08-30, 11:37   Link #38
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@Kaijo: That electricity would be constant and cheaper if it wasn't for "socialism..." specifically the government-spawned utility monopolies that prevent you from having any choice at all in what power company you want to use.

Don't like your power company's environmental record? Too bad, you have no other choice but PG&E.

Don't like their prices? Again, too bad.

No competition is never a good thing, and socialist-style public utility practices are the very epitome of anti-competitive rules.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricky Controversy View Post
Though if it's that your intelligence is prompting you to convince yourself to not enjoy simpler things, well, then you're just a hipster! <3
Oh god, that would be a fate worse than death!
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Old 2010-08-30, 12:49   Link #39
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Originally Posted by Sackett View Post
This is true. However I would also go a step beyond this. The main flaw I see in a lot of intellectuals is not that they don't recognize and respond to intellectual arguments that challenge their current beliefs, but rather that they only respond to intellectual arguments and dismiss non-intellectual arguments out of hand.

*snip* too long
An epic post deserves epic praise. Too bad I can't give you any more cookies. You have phrased the argument exceptionally well.

Essentially, in the example you have raised — and also in many other emotion-laden issues like homosexual marriage and abortion — we have a clash between two or more very different systems of ethics.

A society decides between right and wrong, not just based on a system of logic, but also on an inherited set of values. This is a reality that many people have trouble accepting, because "values" depend too much on subjective judgment, and are therefore seen to be incompatible with "reasonable" argument.

There is an increasing tendency in our world today, as I see it, to frame issues around "intellectual" themes alone. This is a trend that I find somewhat disquieting, because it tends to belittle the importance of our emotions in the decision-making process. We aren't intelligent automatons. We are humans and we have feelings, which are just as important as our intellect.

The "anti-intellectualism" that some people here are referring to, does to some extent refer to this unconscious bias that many of us carry today. It's not a healthy trend, because it breeds a certain kind of arrogance and snobbery and is, in some cases, a form of neo-colonialism.
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Old 2010-08-30, 12:50   Link #40
Jinto
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Originally Posted by ChainLegacy View Post
I agree with the premise that most people won't change their viewpoint over the course of a debate, but if someone does acknowledge they may not have been thinking about all aspects and begin to see why the other person thinks that way, I say more power to them. That's intellectual honesty.
Indeed, and you can develop this idea even further...

If you go into a debate without the willingness to change your point of view when given convincing arguments you basically refuse to learn something. Its good for one's own ken to look beyond one's point of view.
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