Public Intellectuals – Facilitators for Growth

The writer of The International Paradigm  believes that the role of the public intellectual is to facilitate growth in others so that they can improve themselves and society.

In not only informing, but in also challenging individuals to question themselves and the greater society, public intellectuals play the role of catalyst in ameliorating personal and public plight.

That plight is that we live in a culture where entertainment is increasingly displacing real learning and thoughtful discourse. While learning requires active engagement, entertainment “serves to numb the questioning and inquiring nature of human beings“.  Public Intellectuals, he argues, must serve to reignite that curiosity in people — especially our youth.

As a homeschooling family, one of our goals is that our children retain the natural curiosity that drives them to learn and to think for themselves.  I know that we’ve been successful when I find they have delved into topics of interest with no prompting from me and when they have shaped informed opinions that are quite different from mine.

The writer of The International Paradigm turns to “the highly educated” as the public intellectuals to be the catalysts for young people’s minds, but I believe others can serve as the catalysts also. The term public intellectual seems rather intimidating. But given my experience as a homeschooling parent, when I think of myself as a facilitator, I am quite comfortable with the mission of inspiring young people’s minds.

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4 Responses to Public Intellectuals – Facilitators for Growth

  1. Hello! As a parent who educates their kids at home, how have you helped to promote and sustain curiosity in your children’s minds? It is something which I personally feel formal schooling fails to do.

  2. debbls says:

    Even my short answer is too long for a comment. A post will follow shortly.

  3. Ken Smith says:

    I will be curious to learn more about how you define facilitator and how it relates to the examples and definitions of public intellectual we have read about.

    • debbls says:

      I define facilitator as somebody who helps others to learn about and think critically through the issues. Of course, I am validated when people come to the same conclusions that I do, but when they don’t, they contribute more to the discourse. That’s probably more important than my feelings of validation.

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