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i loved your comment, mv, because it reminded me how male this insistence on the word 'intellect' is, like the mind is some kind of rocket probe to go higher and higher into the vast firmament of the unknown.
while i do want to help celebrate the intellect, i am very aware that the very term falls into a (very male) trap of separation.
and i'm aware that intellect is historically value-neutral, without respect and wonder, humility and proportion, it can lead us into hell and drop us off there with no ride home.
intellect for me can be found in an illiterate bedouin shepherd, it's not a product of academia, though western education can burnish it, notwithstanding the cultural conditioning.
maybe we have to discover the intellect in order to transcend it (another male obsession, btw), or better celebrate it equally with energies from the other pole, a sensuous use of the brain for pure art-delight, seeing its use also in say figure skating, distinguished from its ivy league, ivory tower
connotations. the term has become so loaded, it can be compliment or epithet depending on pov.
i think we need it to comprehend abstract notions, a castalia in which to ponder issues of weight and great nuance that can be lofty enough to leave the gritty everyday world far behind, and therein lies the trap.
intellectual freedom, the bugaboo of tyrants through history is what i think we crave, yet, it's an not unironic truth that ultimately the intellect must get in line with all the other faculties we master and possess, or it will warp and become bent.
...as will a character whose will to intellectualise has been devalued, perhaps by an anti-intellectual parent or peer pressure.
once grown there can be a huge resentment at people who have developed their brains while still flexible enough to do so, a stoking rage that they missed a bus, and now it would be unimaginably hard to correct, like taking up violin at 90!
this bloodlust is what i see blazing in the teabagger movement, fr'example. they look at a leader like obama, and the realisation that the very (self-)education that they eschewed when they could have made something of it is personified in a black(ish) man, who three generations ago they could have called 'boy' and sent to the back of the bus...
you're so right though, it's much more about wholebrain-thinking and balance than mere garlanding the intellect, which without moral grounding can be devastatingly destructive, though it's hard to not see equal capacity for destructivity in power-without-intellect, such as was hallmark of hitler, pol pot, stalin and mao.
when you want unthinking followers, slaying intellectuals who may invite freedom of thought in the lumpenproletariat is a .....-no-brainer', lol.
'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
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