BY VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
You may have found yourself in a discourse circle where you felt downrightly isolated not basically by the social interaction, but precisely by intellectual gap. You felt completely cut off from the entire discourse not because what was discussed was unintelligible or unknowable, but because you lacked the intellectual capital to make an input on the point of discussion. Although you are physically present, but intellectually outlying. This, I would like to call “Intellectual Isolation.”
Intellectual isolation puts an individual in a blank state. It can exude feelings of inferiority complex, regret, shame, condescension, and embarrassment which emanates from the inability to flow with the caucuses of intellectuals. Mind you, in your state of blankness, not all would be sensitive to your mental state as to relegate their discourse to accommodate your intellectual standard. Some may even advance the topic just to ridicule you.
This experience may be a hard pill to swallow, but it matters most what you do with it. Some may walk away and tranquilise the whole experience with the cheap excuse that life offers unequal opportunities and tomorrow they face similar ridicule again. For how long will you suffer this undeserved derision? When life throws lemon at you, make lemonade.
There is no man or woman of intellectual prowess who was not petrified by intellectual isolation at a certain point in his/her life. But their quest to know that subject of ridicule contributed to what made them who they are today.
Our degrees of knowledge, education, or profession do not dictate our intellectual limit. Life experiences like intellectual isolation should give us the nudge and drive to add to our repertoire of knowledge. In the all time standard words of Obafemi Awolowo of blessed memory, “Know everything about something, and something about everything.”
This pristine quote of Awolowo calls for a professional knowledge in one field, and a basic knowledge in all fields. This is not an impracticable task; our smart phones have made this even more feasible.
So the next time you face intellectual isolation, recline on your chair and ask Google about that subject or topic that made a fool of you. This will sharpen your intellectual arsenal to war against intellectual isolation.
Never sit on your laurels.