My colleage handed me a few articles over the course of two weeks that expound very heartfelt 'isms'; reflecting deep into the matter that is human kind. The four writers are respected figureheads of their art - earning them the titles of intellectuals - people dedicated to expounding.
As a child i would sit and watch my father read books, utterly inspid to me at the time - devoid of colour or pictures - completely engrossed and thoughtfully pondering on the various thoughts and conclusions of many men and women who immortalised intellectualism in spheres of politics, philosophy, realism, compounded thought, motivation, science, religion and let's not forget the left way of thinking.
Dad wasn't much of leftist, he called himself a humanist - last time i checked there was a sphere by that name as well. Do i know the actual meaning or inner depth that each spehere holds, do i know the lasting implications it will have on my life? Quite honestly the reality of the impact is beyond comprehension.
I picked my way through the spines of these books, amused at first and then slightly piqued by what i saw on the jackets. Being a loner, books were my only companion, sharers of thought and givers of space to form your own. The beauty is that when you read Plato, for example, you may either agree, disagree, soak in or spit out what he has to say and then form your opinion, which could either be a mish mash of what Plato had to say and what you have to say as well and then you present your arugument or present stand to a welcoming audience of like-minded individuals who all have this new found knowledge that is coloured with their own experiences.
Mind you, everyone is dying to debut their thought - some in the hope of a mini movement, others in the hope of finally being able to expound their view and opinion (with a little or lot of help from the Masters).
Masters are those who continue into life setting trends that are either
a) hard acts to follow
b) impossible and therefore attractive
c) utopic in a herd mentality or
d) a flippant temporary occupation for many who lose their way and suddenly find an alternative route (most often than not, they tire of it half way through and only hang on to the brief but very intense courtship for mellow exchanges over drinks or a long walk in the woods).
One of the biggest questions i have never had answered straight is how intellectuals make their living. Some of the successful ones who visited our universities for good expound sessions have a house on the hills and either off-spring in an Ivy Leauge or internships with the World Bank. Ironically the biographies were passed around class when he/she was well on his way to the station or the airport.
I don't mean it as a snide rhetoric, i truly would like to know.
Being a full time, committed intellectual is not an easy task. To quote, read, write, imprint footnotes and state a point of view in a divided, fickle and highly charged politi-religio atmosphere is no mean task. We live in sea of intellectuals today - everyone wants to be 'wise'.
But there are a few who by worthy PR by their followers, contemporaries, invitations and sheer difference stand the test of endurance and continue true to their cause.
My father's books provided me with a starter kit into what i would go on to call a enlightening time in my life. Some of the people i have met, have without flinching told me how irrevocably negative i am in my approach to certain things in life, and how i get them thinking. As long as i'm achieving the latter, i really don't believe the approach is negative - it is frutiful. And therein lies the difference.
Sure, there will be times when i am made to succumb to the pressures of knowledge and my temperament (a lethal combination i assure you). But for the greater good of thought i don't mind.
Why i don't expound in good measure is because i am a hermit in comparison to my well travelled and connected influencers. I don't know whether i will be invited to a famed portal and asked to expound - but i do dream of it. I do aspire.
Arm chair theory spawned many movement, the occupant of the arm chair died, but the thought was already spun and it took flight into people who were deprived, used, abused and finally vindicated. Some of the life changing beliefs that we use as an impetus in our lives were birthed by individuals you wouldn't have recognised and were known by very few. their books grace very shelves, their spines thumbed over time by the same hands and few friends. The knowledge stewed, evolved and then was dipped into and inked into newer and adaptable situations and realities.
Knowledge isn't written in stone it is (re)volutionary. Evolves and revolves, twisting and turning and burning and never dying.
And so what i may know today will be something else tomorrow and so we never 'know' but are always learning.
These four articles my good friend handed me i would like to talk about, and i will in my next visit.