Intellectual Lazyness

I sometimes use the term “intellectual lazyness”, because I find it appropriated, yet, I’m not really comfortable with it.

First, I can’t detach myself from years and years of imprinting about how being “intellectual” (whatever that meant) was in fact being a pedantic, overconfident in it’s own knowledge, obnoxious person, able to speak at length by name dropping famous writer/philosopher/scientist, in contrast to the poor/small/honest, down to earth simple man, back from the the factory, turning on the TV with for only goal to distract himself from his hard condition.

I grew up in an environment where those two archetypes were always opposed one to another. And I didn’t grew up in a writer/scientist/teacher context. I remember when I offered books to my nephew, having heard “Don’t worry, you’ll also have real birthday gifts”. If it was addressed, being “intellectual” was always depicted as something bad, boring, not worth the effort.

It meant reading books without being pushed to, being curious of of things works, entertain the idea to understand how different people came to conclusion different from oneself. For me, it means not being satisfied with a conclusion, even if it please me: I must know why, because I’d rather reach the truth than a truth.

With this in mind, I come close to people not able to grasp another conclusion, even only for themselves, and other times, people who bluntly tell me there’s not need to “push things further”. Further ? About someone with prejudice toward a group, I less and less resist the urge to ask “so, you think that about them, and you think it’s true, because…? They’re all born that way ? It’s genetic ? Have you think about eugenics ?”. I push them toward their next step, by provocation. Because they tend to be shy about it, often just lazy.

If I’m facing someone who start by “I’m against death penalty, except…”, I know where it will go: “What if your kid was the victim ?!”. I answer “What if your kid was the culprit ?”. They tend to become mute after that, and try to change subject. I then wonder if they’re digustingly dishonest with their morals, or rather just “intellectually lazy”.

Maybe a fear of cognitive dissonance, maybe a self preservation mechanisme, not of a mind, but of a cluster of memes.

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