Thread: What does it mean to be a great thinker today?

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  1. #1
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    Default What does it mean to be a great thinker today?

    What does it mean to be a great thinker today? Do you think you are a great thinker? Who do you think are the great thinkers of today?

    "It is easy to make fun of Boko Haram" -Slavoj Žižek

  2. #2
    Join Date Feb 2016
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    I don't think there are that many "great thinkers" around these days, primarily because very few people have come up with genuinely "original" ideas. The intellectual and ideological stagnation as ideas simply circulate as commodities round the "marketplace of ideas" isn't conducive to creative thought or deep insight. the market favours "quantity" over "quality" as really "deep" thought is the product of a lot of work and man hours and that kind of long-term investment isn't favoured at all. There just isn't the money in it. What sells is what gets the most views, clicks and the most eye balls looking at screens for the longest. we've reached the point where the market sells ideas as commodities based purely on what people will buy and you can publish "fake news" and people will believe it in large numbers. Its extremely corrosive to intellectual discourse and a crisis in capitalism at the intellectual-ideological level. It's lost its ability to advance and it now just cannibalising itself as it relies on the achievements of past generations.
  3. #3
    Join Date Apr 2008
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    Well, in the "technological age", or whatever you want to call it, we have volumes upon volumes of information instantly accessible. There's sometimes a tendency to just gather piles of information and toss them at opponents. Retention of details is perhaps less of a concern than it once was, and as Laika touched on, the concern now is how we approach the *quality* of information.

    To be a "great thinker" today seems to mean to be able to think critically and dig through the muck for substance. It means understanding the *unspoken* assumptions behind presentations of seemingly endless libraries of information or ideas.

    There are reactionaries who came across in mainstream perception as "great thinkers" because they spoke eloquently, with ready-made anecdotes and selective research to support their ideological positions. They approach everything with an appealing simplicity or superficiality. "Great thinkers" reject this form of propagandizing.

    I think the type of "great thinker" missing from the left these days is the type which understands praxis. We can theorize and quibble endlessly, but we're unable to translate this into a revolutionary movement which presents a credible challenge to capitalism. There are tendencies either to compromise excessively to the point of entryism, or to disassociate ourselves from material reality and form positions which, while appealing, have no basis in practically achievable outcomes.

    Our inability to advance politically is not for lack of a critical understanding of capital...but a lack of ability to form a mass movement on the basis of this understanding which, one way or another, can lead us toward socialism/communism.

    I suppose, in short, the "great thinker" is the organic intellectual, while the dominant clashing forces today, as reflections of capital, are elitism and anti-intellectualism.
    "I'm a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will." - Antonio Gramsci

    "If he did advocate revolutionary change, such advocacy could not, of course, receive constitutional protection, since it would be by definition anti-constitutional."
    - J.A. MacGuigan in Roach v. Canada, 1994
  4. #4
    Join Date Jan 2005
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    maybe the era of thinkers is over and we have a different task now
    "whatever they might make would never be the same as that world of dark streets and bright dreams"

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