Sunday, 17 April 2016

A Guide to Being a Self-Righteous, Pseudo-Informed but Non-Acting Intellectual

This is a general guide to existence as a self-righteous, pseudo-informed but non-acting intellectual.

Who will this guide be useful for?


How do you practice this lifestyle? Just follow these simple steps:

1) Resist going to parties and get together's with groups of people more than 5 persons. Moan and complain about how much your soul is tired of meeting the usual crowd of naive aid workers and making small talk. Enjoy ranting about fake small talk and how much it exhausts you. Even though you decide to finally go to the social function to indulge your partner and friends, once you get there, kidnap an audience and lecture them about the ineffectiveness of the oblivious do-gooder industry or the hot topic of the day. Then argue with your partner all the way home who kept making politically incorrect statements throughout the party.

2)  Using the few concepts, theories and quotes you remember from your undergraduate and graduate years at university along with your real-world experiences from work and interacting with persons from various nations, piece together a narrative in your head that will inspire your reactions to bullshit, news and life. You will mostly be extremely angry about how the world works and who is to blame for it. 

3) You will frequently poignantly remember pointing out contradictions to your parents and getting no satisfactory explanation. This will make you believe you always had a notion about good and bad. You secretly feel proud of yourself. 

4) You will reject organised religion, patriarchy, nationalism and all other man-made institutions in your early 20s. You will spend the rest of your life boasting about being a rebel. 

5) Have a bone to pick with religion and lay all of humanity's suffering at its patriarchal, homophobic, irrational, and divide-and-ruling feet. You will always get into trouble by asking controversial questions from practicing believers, thereby insulting religion. You will ruin many parties for years to come.

6) Practice selective reading, Facebook 'Sharing,' and reacting indignantly to history and news. Try to trace all of today's ills and injustices to colonialism, slavery, neo-colonialism, Western imperialism, capitalism and religion. You have read some Chomsky, a little Eqbal Ahmad, a sprinkling of Foucault, the "Why I am an Atheist" speech by Bhagat Singh, a bit of Mamdani and nothing by Edward Said but fling their theories around all the time. You read a lot online, now. Your Newsfeed is rich with frequent articles and videos from interesting sites. You are quite updated in terms of events and some deep issues. You frequently click on and read analysis of current events and leaps into the past. You are always drawn to critical pieces and reactions. You are constantly indignant. 

7)  Engage in online arguments, trying to prove points. Try to only make political Facebook posts.

8) Don't ever switch your Profile Picture to "Je Suis Charlie." 

9) You are responsible to educate everyone around you. You need to be seen as an informed, leftist, sensitive, political, feminist, liberated, illuminated and well-read intellectual. 

10) Shout a lot at the TV screen when the News comes on. Use sophisticated, sarcastic remarks to describe the Agenda of the international media, slaves to Western imperialism. 

11) Try to understand who is to be blamed for which crime and injustice.

12) You feel indignant and therefore, superior and self-righteous all the time.

13) Although you rejected religion for it is so patriarchal and insult to your intelligence,  you feel life must be a self-made  and self-sought project of learning, discovery, suffering and enlightenment.

14) Feel betrayed by your parents and patriarchal culture for having indoctrinated you with religious mumbo jumbo, only to realise in your 20s that life is full of suffering that cannot be explained away by dogma.

15) On every single trip back home, lure your parents into an intellectual debate and try to beat them.

16) Drink a lot of tea.

17) Make compost.

But the most obvious feature of your personality is that despite being a self-righteous, indignant , huffing and puffing intellectual, you do not do much to change anything. 

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