Who is an intellectual?
Who is an intellectual? Before answering such a difficult question, first of all, I want to mention how to describe intellectuals as they appear to us in the 19th century and beyond.
According, to Bauman, the word intellectual itself appeared for the first time in public discourse in France, in the year 1898. This term describes certain individuals who posses high class knowledge. Most ‘Intellectuals’ usually believe that it is their right and responsibility and duty to defend the most important values which they feel were threatened by the actions of the State.
Nowadays, intellectuals usually are involved in spreading alternative ideas and new symbols that they create. So, I define, intellectual as individuals:
(a) who seek to explain everything in very open ways;
(b) they are able to use their thoughts to transform society;
(c) who are part of the process of mental production.
In this instance it does not matter if we are talking about specific philosopher(s) and scientist(s) or artist(s) and journalist(s). Perhaps, one could mention such intellectuals as, Michel Faucault, Noam Chomsky, and others who have contributed and influenced “civil society”. They all can be considered mental producers. Thus, intellectuals should explain everything in simple way, I mean, that their ideas should be understandable for all citizens, even for not well educated persons. As I have discussed previously that intellectuals are capable of using their thoughts to transform societies. I have in mind that ‘true’ intellectuals should not use their influence or sometimes even force detrimentally to the majority of people by accepting their ideas through force that which was a very popular technique used in communism. Furthermore, mental production in (Marxian sense) usually refers to the ideas of the ‘ruling class’ and its army of paid scientists that appear to have access to the given available scientific knowledge that serves it interests. As Marx best friend Engel’s said:
Side by side with the great majority, exclusively bond slaves to labor, arises a class freed from directly productive labor, which looks after the general affairs of society: the direction of labor, State business, law, science, art, etc. It is, therefore, the law of division of labor that lies at the basis of the division into classes. But this does not prevent this division into classes from being carried out by means of violence and robbery, trickery and fraud. It does not prevent the ruling class, once having the upper hand, from consolidating its power at the expense of the working-class, from turning its social leadership into an intensified exploitation of the masses.
The social apparatus then becomes influencing on the social forces that feed it. The bourgeoisie are feed by the capitalists, and the workers are left to starve. Through oppression of interest and oppression of knowledge the ‘mental production’ is steered through ‘harsh’ interests. Intellectuals are a difficult class to figure out. But, Intellectuals can become part of a movement. As Bourdieu commented in his book titled the Acts of Resistance that, “social scientists, might be for part of our research to be useful in the social movement”. Now I will analyze the intellectual from a view of social phenomena’s. I have on my mind the aspect of social activisms. To explain it, I will give you an example. Two years ago or may be even more I have seen a TV broadcast which was shared to answer the question, “Who is an intellectual and what he should do in Lithuania?” and the man who participated in this broadcast told that “it is a really sad position because there were two intellectuals and now they are dead (he had in mind the persons named, R. Gavelis and V. Kavolis). So, it comes to ones mind, that to get that certain intellectual “degree” that universities generally give away after 4 or more years of study are positioned towards specifically earning it from a ‘ivy’ university. For example, if you want to become a colonel, you have to be patient.
As a result, usually defectors or persons, who left from Soviet Union understand, that intellectuals are possible reformers or as functionaries of ‘real’ liberty and ‘real’ liberal ideas and exposing the false perpetrators. It may be that they know something that the ‘general society’ does not. History teaches people to know that ‘Terror’ whether today or tomorrow act as mechanisms for ‘total-control’. By ‘total-control’ I can see what Hannah Arendt once said, that, “the whole of life was thoroughly and systematically organized with a view to the greatest possible torment.”
It may even remind us of conditions even visible now! The realities are that not so well known “elite” newspapers or journals have usually not written “how dark our society is”, “how quickly society capitulates for populism” As a example that was given by Dragovic that, “Intellectuals, when they are mentioned, are treated only as a contributing factor-in aiding and abetting the articulation of national discourse, which is used by political elites for ethnic mobilization”. So, to escape this we should be more educated and lifting ourselves from shadows of false illusions and false explanations. We (intellectuals) have to teach them how to separate emotions from politics. I have on mind that politics try to blind people from
realities. Furthermore, I think that emotions can acts as mechanisms for false control.