Monday, July 14, 2008

Love At Home

DH: (out of the blue) Your mother is a pseudo-intellectual.

DS: What's a pseudo-intellectual?

Me: Someone who thinks they are intelligent, but they're really not.

DS: Why is she a pseudo-intellectual?

DH: Because she and her friends like to blog about theodicies (pronounces it wrong) and other strange things.

DS: What are theodicies?

Me: A theodicy is a theory of why God allows pain and suffering in the world.

DS: Why don't they stop blogging about it and just go do something about the pain and suffering in the world?

DH *kills himself laughing*


S.Faux said...

Well, in some sense, we are all pseudo-intellectuals, having all fallen short of the glory of God, which is intelligence. We hasten to Kolob, but it is really just a striving. I seek to write the perfect blog, but have not yet obtained it. I would like to find the perfect blog, but I would rather mow the lawn than read most of what is out there. Nonetheless, I have enjoyed your thought-provoking and intelligent blog essays. Keep at it.

mormongnostic said...

I tend to see the term pseudo-intellectual denoting a type of false intellectual authority. Someone who pronounces on a topic and falsely believes they ought to receive the deference of their hearers.

There are quite a few bloggers who qualify, but you are definitely not one of them.

Zillah said...

I know a lot of pseudo-intellectuals. I'm afraid you don't qualify. You're too smart, too thoughtful, too genuine, and too caring.

lma said...

Nah. Pseudo-intellectuals are those who pretend they're smarter than they are so that they can feel superior. Run into those types on a fairly regular basis, not only on the internet but in the real world as well. These are the folks who claim to read philosophy and other "deep" subjects, but when you talk to them at length, you discover that what they might have read is a review of most of the books they claim to have read, or maybe the Cliff Notes, at most.

And then there are the anti-intellectuals, who are proud of the fact that they don't know much of anything and make fun of people who are smarter than they are. These are the ones who boast that they don't read books and have "My kid can beat up your honor student" bumper stickers on their cars.

You, dear BiV, are not a pseudo-intellectual, for all the reasons zillah points out.

But, on a more serious note, I don't think your son's question is a bad one, really. While I think there is room for as much speculation as we can muster up on such issues as how there can be an all-good and all-powerful God who allows so much suffering, I also think that more of us (and I include myself in this) need to get up off our bums and do more to alleviate suffering in the world. Because there is a lot of suffering that can be alleviated if we just work a little harder at it.

Dr. B said...

It is always good to do reflective thinking. I am sure my son's statement is a classic. Out of the mouth of babes comes some pretty profound stuff. As to the level of intellect expressed there aren't many Hugh Nibley types around any more.

J G-W said...

That's AWESOME...

Doc said...

BiV, not only do I consider you a completely genuine and hearfelt blogger, and not a pseudo-intellectual, but you also have a child who is so brilliant and insightful they solved what theologists have been wasting their time with for centuries with a question that gets at the heart of Jesus' message to us. I loved it!

Bookslinger said...

"Intellectual" and "intelligent" are not necessarily synonyms. Only one of the 10 definitions of "intellectual" at equates an intellectual with being a person of a superior intellect.

There are a lot of self-styled intellectuals in the bloggernacle. Even some of the truely intelligent ones come across to me as more sophomoric than intellectual.

"Learned," "trained," "intelligent" and "intellectual" can all be very different.

Intelligence alone doesn't really help one in the gospel. Since spiritual things are spiritually discerned and understood, relying on the intellect can lead to stumbling. The Holy Ghost, who leads us unto all truth, operates more on feelings and emotions to communicate knowledge than on reasoning.

Knowledge and intelligence aren't synonymous either.

Intelligence may be described as the speed at which one learns. More intelligence means one can learn faster, or has the capacity to learn faster.

But which benefits a person the most, the knowledge which they have at any point in time, or the speed at which they are acquiring knowledge?

Intelligence may also be described as the ability to use knowledge in a beneficial manner.

But if one doesn't have knowledge, the ability to use it is moot.

And in the eternities, the relative speed of acquiring knowledge may also be moot. What does it matter if person "A" takes 1,000 years to attain exaltation, and person "B" takes 10 million years due to their slower rate of acquiring knowledge?

I used to think I was smart because I got good grades.

But it took me an awful long time to learn that yelling at stupid people doesn't make them any smarter. Now I realize what a slow learner I am.

Idahospud said...

But you are my favorite pseudo-intellectual, and if you are pseudo-intellectual, I am a pseudo-pseudo-intellectual. you always make me think. And make me wish I were as (pseudo)intelligent as you are.

artemisandollie said...

That's a really mean thing to say. It sounds a lot like the dad in The Squid and the Whale. Of course it was understood that the dad was compensating for his own insecurity and lack of brilliance when he undercut the boy's mother. It makes me feel angry and sad that your partner doesn't acknowledge how insightful and intelligent you are; it is the reason myself and scores of others make it a point to read your blog.

I know you weren't looking for sympathy and I see the cleverness of your son's response but running you down in front of your son seems so beyond the pale.

Anonymous said...

Your son is smart kid!

And, yeah, that's not what pseudo-intellectual means. Furthermore, you come across as an actual intellectual, worth reading.

However, I'm a little surprised that you have so few comments (one) decrying the interaction. That just is not appropriate. I hope it's showing Dr. B. at his worst and not his average, but it's still pretty unacceptable. And I wonder what it says about your readership that more people don't say so.

I'm not a Mormon or ex-Mormon - I'm a new reader who thinks critical thinking about life is interesting. And, perhaps unlike most of your readers, I don't know your constraints in some important ways. Is this actually behavior you would normally put up with? Am I missing something, like your family's humor? What does Dr.B. have to say in his own defense?

I'm not ragging on you or your family or your choices, I'm honestly curious about all of the above.


Bored in Vernal said...

Hmm, Tia, I had to delete a few comments on this thread as I recall. We have a rough relationship, but we are trying.

Anonymous said...

Many people advocate "keeping private matters private" (or "hiding dirty laundry", your choice). Sometimes that's right, but you're both authors and communicators. He Said/She Said seems like a hopefully-worthwhile way to tackle the question of family disagreements when both parties are expressive people.

I was sad when you said Dr.B. is ashamed of what you write, and glad that you chose carry on anyway. I hope having a separate forum for addressing those differences turns out to be effective. Good luck.

And thank you for the response. It helps me understand the context and community. I'll be reading.