I will be candid: There exist few intellectuals but more than a few intellectual snobs.
Who are they? Books, you name it and they have read it (As for me, I did not even have the patience to go through Salman Rushdie’s “Midnight’s Children.” I thought it was “too heavy a book”, most of my high school days being spent reading Sidney Sheldon, Danielle Steel and Barbara Cartland).
Those who throw you a pitying glance as they ask “You haven’t read THAT book?” Makes you wither with shame and question yourself: “Am I still living in the Ice-Ages?” as the other supposed intellectuals in the group cluck sympathetically while rapidly enumerating various other titles or authors you haven’t had the fortune or misfortune to hear of. Sounds like the names of extra-terrestrials to me.
In fact, this has become a fashion statement for those who want to flaunt their brains (and a serious lack of humility). That does not mean there aren’t a few who read for the pure pleasure of it or to add to their storehouse of knowledge or to put it simply “for the joy of learning” but to boast that you have actually
completed reading the whole set of classics including the modern ones before you passed grade VIII or the ones touted as best-sellers just “hot off the shelf ”….there you go…intellectual snobbery at its best. And you know what the scary part of this world is? The fact that in due time you get influenced; influenced by all this….parading your qualifications, the countless number of books you claim to have read, hungering for approval as you give your rehearsed comments, trying to gain a foothold in the coveted “class” of “extraordinary” brains, seeking to impress people especially the less educated and simple ones, and being condescending towards them. The ride of the ego can turn dangerous if unchecked by the desire to be an authentic individual, more so an authentic intellectual.
Round table discussions may sound impressive, so do facts and figures, so does rattling off the names of exotic literary works but our motives come into question. A very thin line separates intellectual fulfillment from intellectual snobbery.