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Are you an Anti-Intellectualist?

 
 
Khethil
 
Reply Fri 13 Aug, 2010 03:16 pm
I'm curious how pervasive this attitude is. Our buddy Wikki, defines an anti-intellectualist as follows:

Anti-intellectualism is hostility towards and mistrust of intellect, intellectuals, and intellectual pursuits, usually expressed as the derision of education, philosophy, literature, art, and science, as impractical and contemptible...

In public discourse, anti-intellectuals usually perceive and publicly present themselves as champions of the common folk — populists against political elitism and academic elitism — proposing that the educated are a social class detached from the everyday concerns of the majority, and that they dominate political discourse and higher education.


This is somewhat funny; I suppose I've ran into quite a few of these kinds of folks, but the current book I'm reading ("The Dumbest Generation") makes a case that its quite pervasive throughout U.S. culture and suggests a correlation between that outlook and various negative effects.

Is this you? Do you see it as a majority/popular view or perhaps more compartmentalized? Do you agree with it?

Thanks
 
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Aug, 2010 05:27 pm
@Khethil,
What are the negative effects having this outlook? Thanks.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Aug, 2010 06:16 pm
@Khethil,
I read about it, but I don't really run into it much personally, mostly online. On the other hand, I don't waltz around like I used to. I probably have at least a few wild eyed neighbors. Time for more walks and potential talks, once the weather cools a bit.
0 Replies
 
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Aug, 2010 06:24 pm
@Caroline,
Caroline wrote:

What are the negative effects having this outlook? Thanks.


Well that's an interesting question. I'd guess the most immediate being that by being hostile towards intellect, you don't seek, learn or grow mentally. One like this might likely be against any education whatsoever (bringing on its own detrimental effects). Lack of growth, knowledge, narrow mindedness, general irresponsibility, bad decision making without facts, opinions and votes cast without understanding the factors involved, etc. etc.

I don't think all of this would necessarily be guaranteed; it'd depend on the person who feels this way, how they put that feeling into action and where in their priority schema it lies.
Pemerson
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Aug, 2010 06:29 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:

I'm curious how pervasive this attitude is. Our buddy Wikki, defines an anti-intellectualist as follows:

Are you hoping there are hundreds, thousands, millions? I'm not anti-intellectual, and I don't know anyone who is against education.
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  3  
Reply Fri 13 Aug, 2010 06:30 pm
@Khethil,
heres how the late great comedian Bill Hicks tackled this subject in 1990

I've noticed a certain anti-intellectualism going around this country; since about 1980, oddly enough. … I was in Nashville, Tennessee, and after the show I went to a Waffle House. I'm not proud of it, but I was hungry. And I'm sitting there eating and reading a book. I don't know anybody, I'm alone, so I'm reading a book. The waitress comes over to me like, [gum smacking] "What'chu readin' for?" I had never been asked that. Not "What am I reading?", but "What am I reading for?" Goddangit, you stumped me. Hmm, why do I read? I suppose I read for a lot of reasons, one of the main ones being so I don't end up being a ******* waffle waitress.
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Aug, 2010 06:34 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
Is this you?
I'd like to think I'm not, that I like to learn so I can make informed decisions and to be open minded.
Khethil wrote:
Do you see it as a majority/popular view or perhaps more compartmentalized?
That's interesting. When I was a teenager I did work experience on a newspaper. I had written an article that the editor proof read. He told me to dumb it down because most people read the Sun, (that's a UK gutter paper, boobs and bums). I couldn't believe it. Not sure what you mean by compartmentalized.
Khethil wrote:
Do you agree with it?
Unfortunately yes but I'm glad to see that not everybody is.
Thanks for explaining.
0 Replies
 
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Aug, 2010 07:03 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:

I don't think all of this would necessarily be guaranteed; it'd depend on the person who feels this way, how they put that feeling into action and where in their priority schema it lies.

How do you mean?
littlek
 
  2  
Reply Fri 13 Aug, 2010 08:53 pm
I am an intellectualophile.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Aug, 2010 09:00 pm
@littlek,
We had a thread long ago about this. To me if someone is interested in 'intellectual interests', they get a nod. I'm not all that keen on dividing lines between supposed intellectuals and others.
0 Replies
 
Caroline
 
  2  
Reply Fri 13 Aug, 2010 09:30 pm
@djjd62,
That reminds me of a girl who made the comment, "you've always got your head in a book", she said it as if there was something wrong with it. I was gobsmacked by her comment because I love reading but she was the type who didn't have the attention span to read a book, I was happy with that explanation, she preferred to go out drinking and getting drunk, I couldn't see the attraction. How opposite we were.
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Aug, 2010 09:47 pm
@Caroline,
That describes me for most of my life. I've never had an interest in or anything in common with either microcosm of thought. I'm not interested in what I see as mostly superficial gossipy subjects nor am I interested in what I see as subjects restricted to discussion by mostly folks only interested in hearing themselves pontificate about what they learned in college.

Does that make me an anti-intellectualist? If so, I'll proudly wear the label.

I too have been called a "book worm" all my life and deeply cherish any time I have to read a book. I'll eagerly sacrifice sleep to read if I don't have any other time to do so. As a kid, I remember being greatly disappointed when I'd finished reading almost all the books in the "children's" section of the local library and was told I could not expand my reading choices to the adult books until I was older. That rule didn't last long!
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Aug, 2010 09:58 pm
@Butrflynet,
I was brought up with books, my mum used to have a whole room full, it's funny but my friends houses weren't like this, not a book in sight.

I like intellectual conservation where you learn something I value that more then getting drunk. She'd spend her money on booze, I would books and couldn't think of anything worse then wasting all my money on booze.

I think people who are experts in a college subject have to realise that not everyone is knowledgeable in that area and has to be open to teaching people when conversing, that way we are getting somewhere instead of pontificating because neither party learns anything from that.

I had my own kind of library at home Butterfly net, sounds like you love reading like me. I've read 100's and some can say they've never read a book in their life, they don't know what they're missing!
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Aug, 2010 10:13 pm
@Caroline,
Caroline wrote:

Khethil wrote:

I don't think all of this would necessarily be guaranteed; it'd depend on the person who feels this way, how they put that feeling into action and where in their priority schema it lies.

How do you mean?

What I'm saying is that its not necessarily an all-or-nothing proposition. Someone can have (for example) a waning disgust for intellectual elitism, yet still see the value in having knowledge, a good education, etc. So while I think those previous risks are real in such a mindset, it really depends on how the person contextualizes it.

But the scenario here, like I said up top, is that in this book one of the primary reasons given for the large decline in intelligence measures in Generation Y is what appears to be a large movement towards anti-intellectualism. Not that just its not cool to read, do well in school or care about understanding your world, but that its outright contemptible.

I'm quite disconnected from 18-24 year olds nowadays, so I'm curious how prevalent this might be.

Thanks
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Aug, 2010 10:20 pm
@Khethil,
Well in the UK it's cool to have an asbo, (anti-social behaviour order), amongst some kids. What with happy slapping and the rise of knife crime amongst kids, I do wonder what the world is coming to and wonder if they'll have a harsh wake-up call when they become adults and cant get a job because they didn't get an education. They do try to tackle the problem and have outreach projects to try to help the kids but it's not enough. I wonder how kids became so lost, how did this happen, I blame the parents.
0 Replies
 
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Aug, 2010 10:27 pm
@Butrflynet,
Butrflynet wrote:
That describes me for most of my life. I've never had an interest in or anything in common with either microcosm of thought. I'm not interested in what I see as mostly superficial gossipy subjects nor am I interested in what I see as subjects restricted to discussion by mostly folks only interested in hearing themselves pontificate about what they learned in college.

And I think most people are probably somewhere in that middle range between the extremes. That's an excellent point. Whether or not any such label is truly deserved - I'd say - depends on where the preponderance of ones views lie; more one way or the other, etc.

Thanks
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  2  
Reply Fri 13 Aug, 2010 10:33 pm
@Caroline,
Quote:
I think people who are experts in a college subject have to realise that not everyone is knowledgeable in that area and has to be open to teaching people when conversing, that way we are getting somewhere instead of pontificating because neither party learns anything from that.


I think that people who are experts in a college subject also have to realize there is more than one way to learn about a subject. Many experts on a subject are self-taught and never had access to college. Both people will benefit from and enjoy each other if they agree there is much to learn by being open to the idea that you can learn from both book theory and practical life experience. They both have value in a discussion on a subject.
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Aug, 2010 10:37 pm
@Butrflynet,
Butrflynet wrote:

I think that people who are experts in a college subject also have to realize there is more than one way to learn about a subject. Many experts on a subject are self-taught and never had access to college. Both people will benefit from and enjoy each other if they agree there is much to learn by being open to the idea that you can learn from both book theory and practical life experience. They both have value in a discussion on a subject.
Very good point and sometimes you can get a person who is intellectual on a subject but has no life experience, wisdom which I think is more important.
IRFRANK
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Aug, 2010 08:13 am
"I went to a Waffle House. I'm not proud of it, but I was hungry."


snob


What's to not be proud about eating when you are hungry?
IRFRANK
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Aug, 2010 08:17 am
@Caroline,
I understand your point, but, isn't learning from others, through books, lectures, etc. what makes an intellectual. Does wisdom only get imparted by an individual's life experiences? Actual life experiences may be a stronger teacher, but only if one doesn't accept the teachings of others. Also, learning from others can be much less painful.
 

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