Living in the Age of (Fraudulent) Intellectualism
This was an actual question posted on 'Yahoo Answers'
"True or False: According to Frederic Jameson, postmodern intellectuals are?
far more successful at discovering truths about society and social life than were intellectuals of earlier modern times because the new postmodern intellectuals have more advanced research tools to work with."
If false, why?
(an answer came, was voted upon, and decided upon. Deemed most approriate as an answer, I present...)
but society / social life have grown more complex hence more things to discover.
go to a primitive society - what is there to discover? nothing much - eat sleep, look for food, kill animal eat and sleep.
our modern society is too complex hence a bounty for intellectuals"
I had to create an account just so that I could make a rebuttal, I waved my BS flag and gave my answer...
"technology wont help if the individual doesnt use it for the right reason (ie, internet animal porn)
We have, in the modern age, many 'false intellectuals' and people who believe in anything they see on youtube, without ability or will to research
and btw, we learn a great deal from 'PRIMITIVES'"
I wasn't as eloquent as I wanted to be because there was a word and character limit, but I stand by my answer.
Firstly, what good does a book do someone who is illiterate? What good is a million books or the Library of Alexandria to someone who can't read? I agree, it's not fair to call someone who's intellectually dead illiterate, and the internet is not quite the Library of Alexandria(but it's close).
The problem is that an intellectual is not spontaneously created despite how much data is thrown at it. You wouldn't believe how many google a picture of the world's tallest woman and then point at a photo-shopped picture of a tall blonde woman. When I tell them that the picture is a fake, and tell them that the site that provides the image EXPLAINS that, they still doubt me. That is ignorance.
If it's on TV and the internet, or a muckrakers' newspaper column, then it must be true, right?
If my daddy or priest or best friend for the summer said it, it must be gospel. It's not so bad when we make mistakes, humans do that, but being disingenuous and passing off falsehood for enlightenment is worse than bad, it should be a sin. As Joseph Cambell said, the best things are the things that can't be explained, because they are transcendental and go beyond reason. The second best are the things that are misinterpreted, because even they shoot close to the truth. The third best thing is the stuff we talk about!
What I have experienced recently is a surge of anti-intellectual 'false intellectualism'.
Not to be confused with the Karl Marx conception, which he saw as the acquisition of belongings being associated with improvement (but I see a great deal of that as well).
You would not believe how many times someone will watch an internet documentary and then, after freaking out, because their brain is starting to work, try to educate me. They will paraphrase, invariably distorting elements (unless you have pentium chip memory, every time you tell a story it changes), and paying close attention to all the denotations while missing all of the important connotations.
I'll give my new perfect example of how the internet can RUIN your mind while pretending to teach you. Its the free internet film called Zeitgeist. After watching the film I wanted to review the reactions to see how people felt, many became angry, for different reasons. Essentially the first part claims that the divinity of Christ was fabricated, that the Federal governemnt has ruined our economy, and that the 9/11 terrorist attack has a government cover-up tie. The first was anti-theist propaganda, the second is anti-government propagand, and the third is just paranoid conspiracy theorism! I admired their delivery and candor, but if half of the film wasn't made up then surely all of it helps create misconceptions by skewing the facts.
Example, Jesus was born on December 25th, (three wise men followed a star). He was crucified, died, and was buried. He rose three days later, in accordance to scriptures. An explanation/rationale given in the film is that the three wise men are actually the three stars in the belt of Orion's constellation. The stars all point to Sirius, the star of the east and brightest star. Also, that they all point to the sun around the winter solstice time. At December 22 the sun's recession visibly seems to stop for three days and then rises again throughout the seasons. The sun is then seen to reside in the vicinity of the constellation known as the southern cross...and AND Jesus died on a cross. At that point I rolled my eyes because while some of the points were interesting and informed me of some things I didnt know they presented it in a way to suggest conspiracy and elicit outrage.
I would like to point out to all the youtube commentators that the 'SOUTHERN' Cross is not supposed to be visible from the northern hemisphere.
They also claimed that there are parallels between Jesus and a few pagan gods. There are, to be sure, but although Horus was called both a savior and the 'one on high' he was not born of a virgin. He was born of his mother and by his father posthumously, but by single parent is not the same as virgin birth. Also, Dionysus did turn water into wine and was called Lord, but did not exactly travel to teach students. From what I could tell he spent alot of time getting drunk and turning pirates into dolphins. But the staff of Zeitgeist would call those 'miracles'. This kind of fake expose is not uncommon, people have been questioning the divinty of Christ ever since the days of King Herod, and when intellectuals make stuff like this jive in such a way, as they did in the 18th century, it causes people like Napolean to say that when it comes to the question of Christ the 'jury is still out'.
I didn't realize how dangerous false intellectualism was until I found people actually suggesting that it is more prevalent today that in any era. If it is, thats only due to a boom in our world population and not a boost in our genes, and CERTAINLY not due to computers.
Even more offensive was someone trying to bash PRIMITIVE cultures and call them lazy and uninventive. It's not like doctors studying alternative medicines haven't disovered the nearly miraculous properties of herbs in the deepest jungles with the help of 'witch dodctors'. After all, what do they know, right?
As the great Budhha himself once said...
"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense"
Then again, as Shakespeare once pointed out
"Even the devil can cite scripture for a purpose"
Knowledge itself, is not wisdom either, information is just information. Knowledge itself (which is intellectual for me) is a gift as much as a tool, and gifts can be misused and lost. But don't take my word for it. According to classical antiquity, the wisest man who lived was King Solomon. Let's see what he had to say
“A fool is wise in his eyes.”
He also said that 'there is nothing new under the sun', meaning that he had already 'been there and done that' 700 years before Christ. He really was wise, there were saps back then and there still are today.
and that is the end of my rant
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