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.