Elitism: a philosophical question

I don’t mean to toot my own horn, follow me here a little.

I am an unrepentant elitist. “Elitism” can mean many things; for me, it is very general: I believe that I am better than most people, though not by nature. I see myself as better for many reasons, which I can boil down do the general fact that I “examine” my life and ask the philosophical questions, and perhaps more importantly, attempt to improve myself from examination’s insights; my superior intelligence, that is, my superior memory and ability to make connections between its contents, is peripheral.

Those I consider to accompany me in the “elite” is flexible: I am open to the possibility that men can begin to ask the important questions, however much they may have failed to do so in the past. If free will is indeed reality, this is hopeful.

My foundations for this thinking are very shaky, however, and it is a mostly negative case to be made. In my almost 20 years of life, I have found that most people I come in contact with are completely unreflective as I fancy myself to be. I see evidence of this in my society’s complete materialistic (in a less philosophical sense of the word) excess, in it’s turning away from the study of mythology, religion, philosophy, and, fuck, even mathematics and science.

Anyway, I shouldn’t let this get too long (I’ve deleted a stray paragraph and a half). I wonder though, are any of you elitists? If so, what role should the non-elite have? Do any of you have good reasons not to be? Do those of you who aren’t look down on the elitists, as I think you must?

So, not to be an asshole or troll, this is what I interpretted your post as being.

You’re full of yourself and self-imposed an elitist attitude because you claim you’re good at being introspective, and are able to remember things and make vivid or vague connections between said memories.
You’re not completely sure of it, though, and few people live up to your standards of personal elitism and non-materialistic ways and you’re paying attention to the loud minority of fucking idiots in the world? Sounds good to me.

That’s just what I got from it. Came off a bit more abrasive than I thought it would, but there it is.
I personally don’t find myself to be elitist, and I don’t think anyone else would think I’m elitist.

Edit: this post will probably be editted at a later date, because I’ve not had enough sleep lately. Forgive me for that.

Big whoop, I introspect every second of my accursed natural life. It comes with being INTROVERTED. Those people who rarely do that are Extroverts. Now, while some of them may seem like complete airheads, that doesn’t apply to everyone, and thinking otherwise implies egocentricity, not elitism.

…I’m not sure that musing is even relevant, so I’mma go get a coffee now and laugh at my own post when I’m more lucid.

I love how you put ‘examine’ in inverted commas. It’s cute. No really.

So basically you think you’re better than most people because you’re able to look back on what you’ve been and done and see where you went wrong and because you have the incredibly vaguely-stated ability to ask ‘deep’ (see I can imbue words with more meaning than they actually deserve as well!) questions about your experiences?

And this makes you different from any self-reflective college student how exactly?

Actually, I would consider myself somewhat of an elitist. I have contempt for those that blunder through their life aimlessly and turning away from the finer things in life. The problem I find is that many who study philosophy and the arts do not remember to ground themselves. If you can combine your intelligence and self-reflection with practicality, then you will find a perfect balance, I believe. The best way to do this is to read as much as you can and whatever you can (even if you would find it abhorrant, boring, or “pointless,” chances are it will change you in some way), watch as many films as you can (even Hollywood films have their moments, mind you), and get a temporary job where you have to do hard and demeaning work. If you do all these things you will gain a somewhat broader perspective of life.

Also, if you ever get the chance I would suggest travel. Travel through the world, yes, but also travel throughout your own country. If you live in the north in America, visit the midwest and the south and REALLY study the people and how they interact. Don’t let your preconcieved notions about people there get to you- just watch. If you lived in another country (which you don’t) then you would visit other regions; I’ve rarely seen a country in which some region or another isn’t steriotyped wrongly.

Why anyone would WILLINGLY brand themselves as elitist is beyond me…I always considered the term something to be tacked upon someone who was just too far into their views of what everyone else should be (i.e. more as they see themselves to be, which isn’t always accurate in the first place).

Unfortunately, this thread is begging for self-rationalization as well as a pro/con argument, so I’ll bite.

Whether you read a lot, watch tons of movies, or just go to great lengths of time to make yourself THAT much more of a knowledgeable and superior person doesn’t count much if you don’t do anything with it. I’d rather be an uncultured idiot who was happy with his life, friends and family than an ‘elitist’ type who spends time telling others just what they can do to make their lives better.

Which is what we’re all kind of doing in this thread, but whatever…

It’s one thing to lord your introspective nature over the rest of the poor, unseeing world-it’s another to wake up after all that thinking realizing that real life just passed you by around 10,476 times and even bothered honking the horn at you the last few.

This is basically my case too. I do a self-examination of every one of my actions at least once or twice per day, not as an exercise but more like a natural function that my mind carries out by itself. I can pinpoint the mistakes or blunders I usually make while talking or simply doing stuff. Does this matter?

Not at all, because I have a horribly hard time correcting those mistakes. Even if I know I’m screwing up somewhere, it’s worthless if I still do the same things over and over. I consider myself even worse than those who go around without minding their own actions because at least they have the ignorance excuse, whereas I know I’m being an ass and still don’t do anything about it.

I am better at intellectual matters than most people around me, but that doesn’t mean I’m better than them, it only means I’m better than them at a certain field. In reality, I know heaps of extroverted airheads who never rationalize their actions (And this basically sums up my father’s entire family) who are wonderful people that I admire for several different reasons.

I’m elitist just cause I own so many fuckin noobs


Edit: Just ask my best friend Kor. I miss you Kor, and I still love you.

Will you marry me?

You spelled it wrong. It’s 1337.

You believe you are one of the intellectual elite, correct? Then why are you wasting your amazing skills on the internet? Why don’t you try to make a difference in your community?

Are you in school right now? If so, what are you studying? If you really trust in your own superiority, I suggest you study law or politics. That way, you can fix the problems and corruption in the government caused by all those stupid people. You should have no problem running intellectual circles around them with your super charged brain.

Remember, people are judged by their actions. All your profound thoughts are yours alone unless you share them. Instead of thinking greater things, do greater things. Set an amazing example if you are so able to.

If you really are some genius, and anything is possible, then you have more of a responsibility to use that to help people. All the potential in the world isn’t worth shit if it is squandered.

So if you really are working on another level than most people, then I seriously suggest using that to do something with that skill instead of just talking about it.

But I really just think you have an overinflated ego.

I am of the general belief that anyone, doesn’t matter who they are or if I even met them beforehand, is automatically more worthy of living than I am for the simple reason of they aren’t me. If nothing else, this helps me get along well with other people.

I examine myself all the time. Sometimes even without the physical component of this action that is so prone to unfortunate misunderstandings, and every time I’ve analysed my actions and motivations, I’ve found that I am almost always correct and everyone likes me simply for being so awesome.

Your mileage might vary.

You’re not better then me pencil neck.

Maybe some here got the word “elitist” wrong. An elitist is not somebody who believes he is better than others, he is somebody who believes that a society should be governed by an elite.
Using that definition, every modern democracy is kinda elitist. Pretty much all MPs are highly skilled academics, you just won’t find a plumber in parliament.
But to respond to the apparent question implied by the thread starter whether I feel I’m worth more than others, I have to say no. I hate arrogance and I hate feeling of superiority. I believe that every human has an intrinsic equality, regardless of origin or abilities. Hence, where people vary should be just there occupation: Those who don’t have the mental abilities to pursue an academic career shouldn’t be deemed duller than those who have; they should just pursue a profession that suits them.


But anyway, yes, I supposed that I have lately felt a bit elitist myself. Only when I’ve been in the classroom though. Don’t get me wrong, my classmates of today are lightyears more wonderful than the morons I used to have to share too much time of the day with. They’re pleasant to talk to and everything, however… sometimes, I wonder.

It’s just sad when a guy with the most atrocious English I have ever heard asks the question, in English literature class (and we’re, lesse, that would be at the Advanced level, I suppose. Since it’s an English class and we’re English C students, we speak English in all classes); [trying to emulate his accent here] “Boht I fink dat meebi, Ahm wundrin if, if yoo look in de buck, caan’t yoo discoos a buck, uhm, Ah miin, caan’t yoo discoos a buck een a femnist prespict withoot bring op de hole gender issoo?”*

It took the teacher a few seconds to get rid of the glassy look in her eyes before answering “No, I… don’t think you can” in a very forced, neutral voice. The funniest thing is that she’s based her own research on feminist literature criticism.
(If you don’t get it, feminist criticism is BASED on “de hole gender issoo”. That’s like asking “But do you HAVE to use numbers in maths?”)

And then there’s the other guy who had to be told THREE times that no, the assignment for this week was a “term paper proposal of 600-800 words”, as it said on the paper, not twenty pages. Now, the paper also said something about twenty pages, but that was to clarify that the REAL paper is to be that long.

Christ on a pogo stick. I may be forgiven if I regard myself as a bit more focused than this, I hope.

*Translation: “But I think that maybe, I’m wondering if, if you look in the book, can’t you discuss a book, uhm, I mean, can’t you discuss a book in a feminist perspective without bringing up the whole gender issue?” (Almost direct quote and yes, he talks like that ALL THE TIME)


In the context he continually uses the word, it can be inferred that he does not mean the way you do.

I am no elitist. Nor do I believe in elitism. But a big shocker there.

I tend to judge philosophies by the practical benefits they foster in my life. I’ve found that Elitism has very little to offer me. It functions solely to make me more satisfied with myself, and therefore less eager to improve myself and accomplish things. Moreover, it is an antisocial belief, in that it makes me feel that I should not make myself understood to the people around me, but that they should try to understand me because I am just that Elite.

You’ve said in another thread that you write poetry. Elitists write the poetry that nobody except the author likes to read. They claim they’re the great poets of the generation, and nobody else really cares. (See cosmoetica.com.) Greatness lies not in achieving solitary genius, but in expressing that genius in terms which the rest of the world can understand.

No, not at all, who on earth would want to be elitist when they can simply be stuck up and arrogant and come through the same?

I was an elitist for a while, but being fair, that’s cause everyone in school was saying I’m a genius.

I amn’t. I wish they’d stop doing it. I mean, I’m smart, yes, but I am NOT a genius. And everytime someone says it, I feel like punching them in the face.

I’m angry though, does that count for something?

What most people don’t know or understand is that not everyone is born equal or raised equally and thus not everyone is equal. However, that’s not the point. What matters is what you do with what you have. Someone who strives is a better person than a parasite with a good combination of alleles.