With Christian Sorensen, The Responsibility of Intellectuals


Christian is a Philosopher that comes from Belgium. What identifies him the most and above all is simplicity, for everything is better with “vanilla flavour.” Perhaps, for this reason, his intellectual passion is criticism and irony, in the sense of trying to reveal what “hides behind the mask,” and give birth to the true. For him, ignorance and knowledge never “cross paths.” What he likes the most in his leisure time, is to go for a walk with his wife.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is the responsibility of intellectuals?

Christian Sorensen: “None.” That question presupposess that “intellectuals” should have a “greater responsibility degree” or a “particular type” of it in relation to “non-intellectuals,” which in turn implies to believe that “intelligence’s degree” would determine “act’s moral assessment” and therefore the fact of accepting “intellectual’s superiority,” since if “moral non-imputability” and therefore its “responsibility absence or decrease” are determined by “diminished intelligence,” then the aforementioned, is equivalent to express that this “determination,” is given by “reason’s absence,” and in consequence this last would imply to “be almost a beast” or straightly said “to be a beast.”

Jacobsen: How do public intellectuals fail and succeed at this?

Sorensen: “Public intellectuals,” fail insofar as they “self-argue” with “dead superiority,” utilizing for “discriminatory purposes,” contributions that somehow generally are “self-centered,” and by losing any kind of sight regarding “equality sense,” in relation to what should be an “expected awareness” of “fundamental rights.” As a counterpart if “intelligentsia,” provides them with a “differential factor,” which in itself is neither “better nor worse,” but that nevertheless, if it is assumed as a “social duty role” that should visualize a “synergistic achievement” towards what for me is an “enthalpic social integration,” and then if the last becomes a tangible outcome, it can “be inferred,” that “public intellectuals” as such, have been successful in “their task.”

Jacobsen: What public intellectuals and intellectuals impress you?

Sorensen: Stephen Hawking, Albert Camus, and Luc Montagnier.

Jacobsen: Why do they impress you?

Sorensen: “S. Hawking” for not having contributed with anything, “A. Camus” because he learned all morality playing soccer, and “L. Montagnier” for considering that the COVID-19 virus has genetic traces of HIV virus.

Jacobsen: How does a better life decrease god belief?

Sorensen: Because when there “is a need,” god “is resorted,” since “it feels” that it “is not possible” to be satisfied naturally, and due to the fact that “for asking,” god first has “to be believed,” due to the reason that it “is not possible” to ask something of someone, who “does not exist,” and because god “is not going” to grant something to anyone who “does not believes,” nor “venerates” and “does not makes” any merit, so when “a better life” arrives, needs “are fewer” and therefore as it is necessary “to ask for less,” and to “not deserve,” then “god’s belief” doesn’t make much sense anymore.

Jacobsen: Will Africa extricate itself from its bondage of superstition and colonial history? If so, how? If not, why not?

Sorensen: It depends because “Africa” has always found itself in a “systemic vicious circle” that I will denominate as “helplessness-misery’s positive feedback” between “misery and colonialism” on the one hand, and “superstition” on the other, where the first two  have “historically determined” the latter, at the same time that while the formers “further intensify,” then the last one on its part, gets “even stronger.” Therefore it would be possible “to get out” of “this circularity,” as long as this Continent manages to go from “being a closed” to “being an open system,” necessarily through the intervention of what for me an “external non-iatrogenic” agent, that allows to modify “independent variables” and in consequence its “deterministic chains,” in order to finally “make permeable” the access to “dependent variables,” by in this case “replacing it,” with what I will name as a “non-entropic ecosystemic” outcome within “Africa.”

Jacobsen: What makes a virtuous person? What makes a non-virtuous person?

Sorensen: A “virtuous person,” is one who is able to maintain the “right homeostatic balance between two extremes,” while a “non-virtuous” one is the one who actually “does not have good and evil notions” sufficiently well “introjected,” and besides is unable to recognize any “dynamic dimension and balance” between “two polarities.”

Jacobsen: What are the trends active in less developed parts of the world, e.g., Africa, that public intellectuals should focus more on?

Sorensen: If I could summarize it in one sentence, I would say that it is the fact of recognizing, that places such as “Africa,” are “the backyard” and “the garbage dump” of the rest of the world.

Jacobsen: Will Africa decrease in its overwhelming religiosity over time if so?

Sorensen: I am sure of this, since that “overwhelming religiosity” is somehow closely linked to a “need and meaning,” that I will denominate as “over-compensatory sense,” which in turn fulfills “a function” as “defence mechanism” because if this is simply “removed,” they will remain “completely defenceless,” in other words analogously speaking, is what occurs with “phobic dynamic,” since if “phobic object” is abruptly withdrawn, that is to say if this is done with what produces an “irrational fear,” then a huge “anguish and anxiety” wave will be triggered until “surpassing” completely them.

Jacobsen: What are the virtues in behaviour and thought required for African societies? How will good governance assist in guiding and inculcating such virtues?

Sorensen: If I could summarize in one word what are “the virtues” in behaviours and thoughts that “African societies” require, I would say…”Resilience.” Before “governments” assist societies, by guiding and inculcating “these virtues” on them, it is first of all necessary, to “reach good” ones, and due to this purpose,  “democracy” values must ​​be put in advance, which in turn leads to require within these societies “quality and accessible education” as “pre-position” for everyone, that in consequence lastly “will promote” this sort of “virtues,” since if both “citizens and the political class” are pushed to, in my opinion towards what should be an “intersection central point,” then an “encounter” between them might be reached, and therefore by the fact “of sharing” a “meaningful universe,” development is going to be driven “in behalf” of “desirables virtues.”

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Christian, as usual.

Sorensen: Thanks to you.

Image Credit: Christian Sorensen.

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