Thursday, October 15, 2015

We're all fucked

The new Island magazine is out, brimming with cool stuff. Amongst other things: Geordie Williamson's interview with Neil Gaiman, Ruth Quibell on the 'failed intellectual', Frank Moorhouse on reading, a cracker of a poem by Berndt Sellheim.

It also contains my latest column, 'We're all fucked', on the relationship between humanities intellectuals and everyone else. A sample:
Intellectuals are partners, or they risk becoming monsters or fools: lords pronouncing fiats, or babblers of vain monologues. To say ‘intellectual’ is to speak as much about relationships as about identities. These associations can be baffling, exasperating and often dull—but they are no less valuable for this. Scholars must be trained to write for those outside their fields, who in turn must be educated enough to read, reflect and respond—and to see this as good, necessary and sometimes even fun. This requires ambitious schooling at all levels, a brave publishing industry, the leisure to seek challenging literature, and the existential robustness to do so when we are harried by the state of things. ‘We are afraid that when we are alone and quiet something will be whispered into our ear,’ wrote Nietzsche in “Schopenhauer as Educator”, ‘and so we hate quietness and deafen ourselves with sociability.’ Encouraging an intellectually adventurous society requires something like an intellectually adventurous society. 
So we’re probably fucked.
Go buy a copy. In fact, just subscribe.

(Illustration: 'The Orator', Fedinand Hodler, c.1912)

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