The Impotent Intellectual

Today we have countless debates between intellectuals on all sides about an infinite number of topics; many of which I used to enjoy, but eventually began to despise after realizing they were nothing more than another form of entertainment. People will gather from all over the world to see their favorite intellectual fight their opponent no different than a boxing match, waiting to see whom is going to get schooled by whom to make themselves feel more secure about their own beliefs. This may be entertaining, but none of this is a revolutionary act; in fact, I argue these debates are a waste of time and are a distraction for the most part. If only intellectuals could move the people with their words, they would be generals on the battlefield, and we would have revolutions via debates rather than war. Revolutions would be bloodless, and the only casualties would be the bruised egos of men defeated on the battlefield of ideas. But we don’t live in this kind of world, and we must stop pretending we do.

The intellectual, who cannot move the people, is by default, impotent. Despite all his knowledge and extensive vocabulary, if he lacks the sex appeal needed to seduce the masses, he will lack the ability to move the masses. It is like the nice guy who knows how to start a conversation with a woman, but has no idea how to close the deal. To make up for his impotence, he gets off on semantic victories over others. He’s so certain that his position is correct, he mocks his opponents and “wins” despite being unable to prove his position. His entire self-worth is based on the worship of his followers, along with the belief that he is superior because he can contain more information in his head than the average person. He likes to hear himself talk, and considers the masses, including his own followers, a bunch of stupid sheep who are beneath him; that with just more seminars, books, and debates, his words alone will change the world. These are the men leading us today, and this is why nothing gets done.

Revolutions are never started by these types; they are started by men who turned ideas into action with their charisma, fiery passion, and iron will—things the impotent intellectual lacks severely. For what good is to know an entire library’s worth of ideas, but never put them into practice? What good is it to convince your fellow man of your position, but not be able to inspire him to act on it? The only reason why these impotent intellectuals even have large followings is because the masses want to be seduced and will latch on to anyone who offers new ideas and concepts that make them feel secure without demanding them to do anything but dream. The impotent intellectual sells his audiences dreams of change by engaging in never-ending discussions about change, without a single change occurring.

The most important function of philosophy is not finding the truth out there—that’s up to science—but rather, finding the truth within; discovering who you are and what your place is in this world. The impotent intellectual may be greatly appreciated by his followers and even other philosophers, but he is no general, nor is it his place to be one. His job is to inspire and educate revolutionaries to take his ideas and manifest them in the real world. Thus, we should admire our intellectuals, but not get caught up in some kind of idol worship which leads us to engage and get caught in never-ending debates and mental masturbation; especially the worship of those arrogant, ego-driven intellectuals who fail to know their place. We must always remember that the man of action is superior to the man of infinite ideas: the former gets things done; the latter gets nothing done. We must realize that the time of talk is over, and the time of action is here. The only way to find out whose philosophy is true, is to test it in reality.