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.