Friday, June 24, 2005

the intellect

I like to think that I am an intellectual. I enjoy knowing things and writing as if I know them better than I actually do. I take pleasure in spending long hours between the tall bookcases of the library or in front of a computer screen doing endless research just to answer a simple query which has risen to my conscious mind. But when it comes time to put all this knowledge in a usable form, when the rubber has to meet the road, panicked thoughts of bailing out cross my mind (which really is odd, as I lean towards pragmatism).

However, I like showing off my bluff, puffing myself up as a blowfish while others are around, only to deflate rather rapidly when someone asks a question which pokes beyond my skill. And perhaps it also has to do with the fact that I am a perfectionist and don't like for anyone to see weakness in me. But I am also a woman, and while I am proud of this fact, I also see it as a disadvantage, because women are often viewed (correctly or otherwise) as being weaker. If I can only convince other people that there is much more beneath the surface, then I become desirable as a friend, my insights are appreciated, and I gain a certain status.

What I would rather do and who I would rather become looks more like Dorothy L. Sayers. From her biography by Barbara Reynolds:
"Dorothy L. Sayers regarded the intellect as androgynous--neither male nor female, but human, and she took pleasure in using it, as she did in using her writing skills."

I suppose that means I would actually have to put forth the effort to use my intellect, rather than simply relish the fact that I might have what it takes to be an intellectual. But then I find myself caught up in a rat race, trying to keep up with all the latest thought trends, the books my friends are reading, and current events around the world. And just the thought of that makes me exhausted.

Is there such a thing as a lazy intellectual? Perhaps I could fit into that category...


Daniela said...

There sure is a category such as lazy intellectual. I'm in it. Although I'm more lazy than intellectual. Don't hesitate, just join the club.

ceridwen said...

Good thoughts, dear. In rare moments, I'll admit that I'm not certain I am the person I project myself as. That woman who tries to present herself as somewhat wise, and yes, as an intellectual, as well. I wish I didn't try to think of or to present myself as anything, intellectual or otherwise. Why can I not just be myself, and let others know me for who I am, foibles and all?