Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tibetan misconceptions about intellect and intellectualism!!

Forgive me for always sounding cynical, for I am but a creature of habit nonetheless. Dribbling through differentials, cellular pathways, physiological modelling,electrical circuits of all sorts and all the fuss of technical education this semester, sometimes I cannot help, when the most abstract of ideas come looming right in front of my eyes, while once again, I am tempted to scribble off my caffeine driven insinuations on this blog.

Once again, as always, I am forced to bring forth, one of the many hypocrisies, we Tibetans so incurably suffer from. Of course, this includes me too.

Somehow, a major portion of our "Inglish" reading, writing and speaking community of brethrens, have equated intellectualism to a mere fanciful prose writing, and complicated stylistic variations in a paragraph, with some quotations of a then writer or a historian, a few bombastic words here and there, some current affair observations, and here you go, "Intellect" packaged and ready to serve. While such packages make good for a pop-reading, but intellectualism, is a far cry than that.

Saying a simple sentence, with a thousand embellishments, does not make for either an average intellect nor does it bears any features of genuine intellectualism. Some have even followed the shortcut to being mistakenly recognised as an intellectual, by criticizing His Holiness for his supposed policy failures, while not at all presenting an alternative. Many youths, fall victim to this scenario, and somehow think, that if someone opposes His Holiness, his intellectual worth is any better.

So who are the true contemporary intellectuals of the Tibetan diaspora? And what does entail being an intellectual or having any intellect at all.

His Holiness for one, is a true intellectual and the intellect of the highest order, Tibetans will ever see,at least for now.

More than merely the knowledge and the articulation, we so mistakenly associate with intellect, he lives the life of an intellectual, true to its core. I would even go to the extent of reminding our generation of the many higher lamas we have, who live what they preach. That is intellectualism at its finest.

Many of us fail to realise, what monastic institutions have gifted us for centuries. Fueled with misinformation and agenda of their own, some individuals have even resorted to referring to our monastic institutions as abhorrent and dispensable. This is completely wrong.

The whole intellectual worth of our monastic traditions, far outweighs, the cumulative intellect of our contemporary pseudo-intellectuals.

Now, I do not have any pretenses or misconceptions about the worth of my own intellect. I am after all, just a naive youth, who sometimes likes to banter, for the entertainment of his blog visitors.



  1. Thank you! I enjoyed it very much.

    A very good analysis.

  2. Excellent - you should become a journalist. Be an editorial writer.

  3. Though I agree intellect does not simply constitute using fancy words and a witty quote here and there, I disagree that in our Tibetan community today we lack any intellectuals comparable to our monastic community. I believe we have many Tibetan intellectuals who must be credited for their significant contributions, including but not limited to, the late Dawa Norbu, Wangchuk D. Shakabpa, Jamyang Norbu, Lhasang Tsering, Lobsang Rabgey, Lobsang Sangay,Woeser, Shogdung, the late Dhondup Gyal and many more I'm missing. Also, I don't think if a Tibetan youth opposes His Holiness' Middle Way Approach or any other policy, they are necessarily in the misperception that their intellectual worth is more than one who proposes His Holiness' view. It might just seem that way to some in the heat of an argument, but I doubt it is.
    Keep the discussion going Rinchen. I enjoy reading your point of view.

  4. Very good points! Here is wikipedia definition:

    ‘Intellectual’ can denote three types of persons:

    1. A person involved in, and with, abstract, erudite ideas and theories.

    2. A person whose profession (science, medicine, literature) solely involves the production and dissemination of ideas.

    3. A person of notable cultural and artistic expertise whose knowledge grants him or her intellectual authority in public discourse.

    I think we can add many more to zangmas list, Gendun Choepel, Tashi Tsering, Chung Tsering?