Intellectuals Quotes

Quotes tagged as "intellectuals" (showing 1-30 of 97)
Albert Camus
“An intellectual? Yes. And never deny it. An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself. I like this, because I am happy to be both halves, the watcher and the watched. "Can they be brought together?" This is a practical question. We must get down to it. "I despise intelligence" really means: "I cannot bear my doubts.”
Albert Camus

Arthur C. Clarke
“My favourite definition of an intellectual: 'Someone who has been educated beyond his/her intelligence.

[Sources and Acknowledgements: Chapter 19]”
Arthur C. Clarke, 3001: The Final Odyssey

Thomas Sowell
“Intellect is not wisdom.”
Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society

George Orwell
“Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.”
George Orwell

Noam Chomsky
“There are few genuine conservatives within the U.S. political system, and it is a sign of the intellectual corruption of the age that the honorable term 'conservatism' can be appropriated to disguise the advocacy of a powerful, lawless, aggressive and violent state, a welfare state for the rich dedicated to a lunatic form of Keynesian economic intervention that enhances state and private power while mortgaging the country's future.”
Noam Chomsky, The Culture of Terrorism

Louis-Ferdinand Céline
“We've no use for intellectuals in this outfit. What we need is chimpanzees. Let me give you a word of advice: never say a word to us about being intelligent. We will think for you, my friend. Don't forget it.”
Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Journey to the End of the Night

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“The man of action has the present, but the thinker controls the future.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., The Essential Holmes: Selections from the Letters, Speeches, Judicial Opinions, and Other Writings of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Roy Blount Jr.
“Even intellectuals should have learned by now that objective rationality is not the default position of the human mind, much less the bedrock of human affairs.”
Roy Blount Jr., Long Time Leaving: Dispatches from Up South

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
“The man was such an intellectual he was of almost no use.”
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Perry Anderson
“Intellectuals are judged not by their morals, but by the quality of their ideas, which are rarely reducible to simple verdicts of truth or falsity, if only because banalities are by definition accurate.”
Perry Anderson, Spectrum: From Right to Left in the World of Ideas

E.M. Forster
“One minute. You know nothing about him. He probably has his own joys and interests- wife, children, snug little home. That's where we practical fellows'- he smiled-'are more tolerant than you intellectuals. We live and let live, and assume that things are jogging on fairly well elsewhere, and that the ordinary plain man may be trusted to look after his own affairs.”
E.M. Forster, Howards End

“What never fails inside the mind of an intellectual never works outside the confines of his head. The world’s stubborn refusal to vindicate the intellectual’s theories serves as proof of humanity’s irrationality, not his own. Thus, the true believer retrenches rather than rethinks; he launches a war on the world, denying reality because it fails to conform to his theories. If intellectuals are not prepared to reconcile theory and practice, then why do they bother to venture outside the ivory tower or the coffeehouse? Why not stay in the world of abstractions and fantasy?”
Daniel J. Flynn, Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas

“من هو المثقف؟ بشكل عام هو شخص كرّس نفسه لما يسمى «حياة العقل»، أي التفكير ليس بوصفه أداة أو وسيلة لتحقيق أغراض عملية، وإنما بقصد المعرفة والفهم”
Gary Gutting

Theodore Dalrymple
“There is nothing that an intellectual less likes to change than his mind, or a politician his policy.”
Theodore Dalrymple

Frank Furedi
“Even in the most favourable periods for cultural development , Intellectuals tend to have uneasy relationship with the status quo.”
Frank Furedi

Matthew Scully
“Intellectuals are a pretty unique species all by themselves, given to advocating things out of sheer brazenness that they could not themselves stomach if they were ushered in to witness the scene.”
Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy

“What is an intellectual? In general, someone seriously devoted to what used to be called the “life of the mind”: thinking pursued not instrumentally, for the sake of practical goals, but simply for the sake of knowing and understanding.”
Gary Gutting

Leonid Borodin
“I was utterly convinced that an intellectual could never be anything but an intellectual, was simply not capable of being anything else, that his intellectuality would, sooner or later, erode his faith or erode whatever he'd masked it with . . . For example, intellectuals like to dress themselves up as peasants . . . but it never works. The intellectual's constitution is impervious to such things - it permits only one object of worship - oneself. Generally speaking, an intellectual in the contemporary version is an exceptionally resourceful and, essentially, pitiful being.”
Leonid Borodin, Partings

Christopher Hitchens
“During the Bosnian war in the late 1990s, I spent several days traveling around the country with Susan Sontag and her son, my dear friend David Rieff. On one occasion, we made a special detour to the town of Zenica, where there was reported to be a serious infiltration of outside Muslim extremists: a charge that was often used to slander the Bosnian government of the time. We found very little evidence of that, but the community itself was much riven as between Muslim, Croat, and Serb. No faction was strong enough to predominate, each was strong enough to veto the other's candidate for the chairmanship of the city council. Eventually, and in a way that was characteristically Bosnian, all three parties called on one of the town's few Jews and asked him to assume the job. We called on him, and found that he was also the resident intellectual, with a natural gift for synthesizing matters. After we left him, Susan began to chortle in the car. 'What do you think?' she asked. 'Do you think that the only dentist and the only shrink in Zenica are Jewish also?' It would be dense to have pretended not to see her joke.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Ryan Lilly
“A professional headshot in front of a bookshelf says you're an intellectual. A professional headshot peeking though a bookshelf says you're probably under a restraining order.”
Ryan Lilly

Frank Furedi
“Intellectuals are not defined according to the jobs they do, but [by] the manner in which they act, the way they see themselves, and the values that they uphold.”
Frank Furedi

Luis Fernando Verissimo
“Intellectual controversies tend to be like dog fights without the teeth, in which the barking not the biting does the damage.”
Luis Fernando Verissimo, Borges and the Eternal Orangutans

Christopher Hitchens
“Trotsky was so much an intellectual that in the final analysis, Marxism was not quite enough for him.”
Christopher Hitchens, Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays

Alfred de Vigny
“Those intellectuals are our natural enemies; the only kind who are worth anything are the musicians and the dancers: they don’t insult anybody with their performances, and they neither sing nor dance politics. So I like them; but don’t let me hear a word about the rest”
Alfred de Vigny, Stello

Benjamin Jowett
“Atheism or similar charges was not unusual among intellectuals, nor condemned by the masses. The prize-winning plays of Aristophanes were not merely atheist, but made fun of the gods and their prophets and oracles.”
Benjamin Jowett, Phaedo

Ursula K. Le Guin
“He was born to be alone, a damned cold intellectual, an egoist.”
Ursula K. Le Guin

“I cleaned the shit off my pink high-tops and drove home, stopping for an espresso at the coffeehouse across from the college. Men and women were hunched over copies of Jean Paul Sartre and writing in their journals. Most wore the thin-rimmed tortoiseshell glasses favored by intellectuals. Their clothes were faded to a precisely fashionable degree; you can buy them that way from catalogs now, new clothes processed to look old. The intellectuals looked at me in my overalls the way such people inevitably look at farmers.

I dumped a lot of sugar in my espresso and sipped it delicately at a corner table near the door. I looked at them the way farmers look at intellectuals.”
Mary Rose O'Reilley

Noam Chomsky
“Respectable opinion would never consider an assessment of the Reagan Doctrine or earlier exercises in terms of their actual human costs, and could not comprehend that such an assessment—which would yield a monstrous toll if accurately conducted on a global scale—might perhaps be a proper task in the United States. At the same level of integrity, disciplined Soviet intellectuals are horrified over real or alleged American crimes, but perceive their own only as benevolent intent gone awry, or errors of an earlier day, now overcome; the comparison is inexact and unfair, since Soviet intellectuals can plead fear as an excuse for their services to state violence.”
Noam Chomsky, The Culture of Terrorism

René Guénon
“On peut s’expliquer facilement par là un fait que nous avons eu fréquemment l’occasion de constater en ce qui concerne les gens dits « cultivés » ; on sait ce qui est entendu communément par ce mot : il ne s’agit même pas là d’une instruction tant soit peu solide, si limitée et si inférieure qu’en soit la portée, mais d’une « teinture » superficielle de toute sorte de choses, d’une éducation surtout « littéraire », en tout cas purement livresque et verbale, permettant de parler avec assurance de tout, y compris ce qu’on ignore le plus complètement, et susceptible de faire illusion à ceux qui, séduits par ces brillantes apparences, ne s’aperçoivent pas qu’elles ne recouvrent que le néant.”
René Guénon, Perspectives on Initiation

“The realization that you can't predict the future -- and mold it -- could only come as a shock to an academic.”
David Harsanyi

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