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Decouple intellectualism and intelligence

Speak of the intellectual life and a lot of people will think you’re pretentious; they think you’re calling yourself intelligent.

What they don’t understand is that the intellectual is a type of person who can be found across the intelligence distribution. The defining characteristic of the intellectual is an irrepressible lust for the truth. The technical concept from the psychology literature is need for cognition. Intelligence is only weakly correlated with need for cognition (probably somewhere between .14 and .28).

It’s likely that popular conspiracy theories are authored and promoted by people with high need for cognition. If you look closely at the Flat Earth community, for instance, many of the active members devote a lot of time and energy to effortful research, even to the point of conducting relatively serious field experiments.

The number of genuine intellectuals is higher than people realize. The number of highly intelligent pseudo-intellectuals is also higher than people realize.

If you want to disrupt the Higher Education industry—whether you’re a thinker, creator, or entrepreneur—this might be one of the most important and best-kept secrets.

Decouple intellectualism and intelligence. You’ll be surprised what you find.

You don’t have writer’s block, you’re just being evil

“Boredom is the root of all evil―the despairing refusal to be oneself.” ― Soren Kierkegaard in Either/Or

If you are unable to think and express words, something is certainly wrong, but you are not “blocked.” Your brain is a ceaseless machine. It identifies and creates connections. When it gets blocked, we call that “a stroke.” If you’re not having a stroke, you are not blocked.

Without trying, you will always find yourself having observations, affects, ideas, emotions.

If you are not moved to write or speak about your observations and ideas, if you do not wish to express your affects or emotions, it is typically because you don’t want to share them. For instance, you find your ideas uninteresting or dumb. But how is that even possible? Having arisen in your mind, your ideas are the definition of what is interesting to you, and they arise at precisely your level of intelligence.

The underlying problem is that you lie to yourself about who you are.

You tell yourself you’re more profound than you are, so your actual ideas seem uninteresting.

You tell yourself you’re smarter than you are, so your actual ideas seem dumb.

Lying to yourself about who you are is no less evil than lying to a friend about something important.

An intellectual does not become unproductive because of some mysterious ailment called “writer’s block.” An unproductive intellectual is an intellectual lost in Evil. Many people think “writer’s block” is a real phenomenon and Evil is only a mystical superstition. In fact, “writer’s block” is the superstition, and Evil the real phenomenon.

To escape the sin of intellectual boredom―to think and write and speak with great motivation, no matter what―it is only necessary to affirm what you are, or as Nietzsche put it, to become who you are. When you stop lying to yourself about yourself, what were once dumb ideas and unsophisticated feelings become the most interesting questions you’e ever encountered. For it is only now that you are, in fact, encountering them.

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