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Pseudo-intellectual

Updated: Apr 11, 2020

Pseudo-Intellectualism has been on an all time high since, probably the start of the information age. In some ways its sad to see some of the pseudo-intellectuals in positions of power, however apolitical you may be, politics is a matter of public interest and it effects everyone in one way or the other. Anyways, This post is not me putting out facts about pseudo-intellectualism, rather it is about me trying to understand whether i have fallen into its trap.


As far as i know (from here),

pseudo-intellectual may be used as a general term of abuse for intellectuals one dislikes or disagrees with. Nevertheless, in more careful use a rather clear distinction is drawn, a pseudo-intellectual is someone dishonestly or insincerely using the language, style, or topics of an intellectual, but who lacks the goals, morals, or ability of a “genuine” intellectual. It is someone who acts pretentiously and wishes to win an argument or impress (more like a debater from my previous post), rather than modestly trying to find the truth – a focus on surface and rhetoric over content. These often involve a superficial understanding of a subject and condescension to the audience, as well as possible self-delusion (not being consciously dishonest, but rather sincerely thinking oneself to be behaving as a genuine intellectual despite one's incompetence). Also, receiving higher grades is an out dated method of knowing if a person is an intellectual.


So i decided to analyze myself for a week and diagnose if i was one or not, based on the above definition. I decided, i wanted to introspect myself on how i communicated with my peers. Moreover, to see if i conversed about something, of which i did not know anything about.

And in one instance, i was fortunate enough that a topic dropped in, of which i had no clue about. And in another instance, my professor talked about George Bernard Shaw, of whom i did not know anything about. And in both instances (even though there where many such instances) i decided to stay silent and not jump into any of the discussion.

Because you know what they say, "eloquence is great, but silence is golden."

What i just did, is either a prime example of being a pseudo-intellectual or not, depending on the context. Me quoting stuff about being silent is in some ways what a pseudo-intellectual would do. But on the other hand me accepting that i don't know what the idea of the subject in discourse was, is what an intellectual in some ways would do.


The other course of action a pseudo-intellectual would resort to is debate, trying to make his/her point. Even though their understanding of the argument is very minimal. On the other hand, an intellectual would resort to the idea of having a dialogue and coming to a common ground of understanding of the situation. (checkout the previous post for more differences).

You see, in my opinion if a pseudo-intellectual accepts that he/she is a pseudo-intellectual, then that actually makes them an intellectual. Because it takes some level of intelligence to figure out who you actually are, rather than staying in a delusion, of who you actually aren't.


It's great to be an intellectual, its also great not to be one , but its awful to be a pseudo-intellectual.


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