25 Nov 2004
This post was made in an honest and direct format on our earlier forum. We feel the points made need exploration in the author's spirit.
[Ed in bracketed italics].
As much as I agree with many of the comments made, ...one [I] think most intellectuals fail to see is that it is their own Intellectual abilities that are resented. [We agree here, too. Can our visitors help us define this group? We see five groups in just the US: 1) Elementary schools beginning about the third grade, 2) High schools, 3) College students, pundits, social researchers, 4) The movers and shakers in power, and 5) The general populace. Not all of our pages speak to the same audience. And our audiences are not all receptive in the same way or degree. We would appreciate any comments, private or public. ] Even if you are right, it won't win over those who feel snubbed and degraded by people who act and talk in a superior tone to or at them. [This is true, even though a famous politician in our time does just that; relying on his charisma, he makes it work. He also is talking to folks who are themselves about 65-80% Authoritarian and who are unconsciously receptive to being told what to do. See
Milgram. It would help this dialogue if visitors could provide specific examples. Can we have some? Each page on our site now has a comment box for visitor convenience.]
You can't win the hearts and minds of your adversary if you are insulting their beliefs or opinions of what they think to be true and right. [This is good too, and we would like examples. In particular, if we have insulted a person's belief, we surely want to know. We clearly believe and say, faith systems are needed by most people. By the same token they can be corrupted and hijacked by Extremists or Fundamentalists. Faith is all about mythos or belief systems. On the other hand, logos is all about logic and evidence. To cite one logos field, evidence-based medicine has clearly extended the lives of most of us while traditional medical practice even long after Paracelsus was a mere shadow by comparison. This is what the Enlightenment and scientific ages were/are all about. Mythos has to do with the things we cannot know. And since there are things unknowable, we must take them on faith. Mythos is part of the lives of all of us.]
Intellectuals have the knowledge and skills to make our world a better place for all but they don't want to include or help people be more at ease or secure if you will with their understanding of the world as they understand it. [Here we take some issue, but only in degree. Intellectuals are infected with Authoritarian Personalities , just like the rest of us. Most are likely biased to a degree, a few are bigoted. Knowedge does not beget character unless its owner desires that result.]
You may want to eliminate ignorance, and when that fails, want to eliminate the ignorant to protect yourself from your fear of ignorance but if you don't have compassion for less gifted people, you will alienate them and they will fight your efforts to protect their existence. [This too is right on and is the ideal we strive for. We cannot imagine wanting to eliminate the ignorant; nor do we fear ignorance in itself. It is the results of ignorance that sometimes must be feared -- especially when ignorance comes to high office. Then too, intellectuals of one day may be shown to be wrong on the morrow. Accordingly, this web site is a snapshot in time, our time.] This is something that has to be considered when attempting to improve the lives of people. Intellectuals have to look deep into their motives. [We agree, emphatically -- to risk sounding authoritarian.] Are our good intentions good for everyone, or are they selfishly conceived to protect oneself from what we fear - as much as ignorance is a fear of the unknown, so may be the lack of compassion for those who may be considered ignorant by the academic world?
[An excellent question. Fear of the unknown is one reasom most people need a faith that gives them purpose, a hereafter, and moral directives. We think terror is with us because of a lack of opportunity and humiliating social factors. Imperialism is most humiliating to any native people. By most any account, considering its effects, imperialism has negative long-term effects on peace. Imperialism usually ends with rebellion -- either by the natives or by the the settlers, as in the US. That is the history, but historians too often focus on the grandeur of the conquerors, not on the other side of the coin, which is effectively genocide (as in Rwanda), revolution (as in Mexico), or both (as in the US where the Amerinds avoided extinction only by giving up everything)].
[Most young people we know in any culture are eager to learn if given the chance. For older folks that is not so true. This harks back to who is our audience. We hope our material shows compassion. It may be that the academic world lacks compassion to some extent, but we cannot verify that. They may be remote -- which is why we emphasize the works of intellectuals who spend, or have spent, time on the ground, like Jessica Stern, Mahmood Mamdani and Ashutosh Varshney. As for our intentions, we hope they are good and are perceived that way. We also hope we can improve as we attempt to leave the world better than we found it.]
[We invite our visitors to join us in improving renditions to reach as many people as possible. Let us know your thoughts. Publisher]
[PS: FWS is not alone in pointing out this problem. S/he was, however, so eloquent and persuasive that we wanted to share it with you.]
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Posted by RoadToPeace on Wednesday, August 03, 2005.