Thinking Ourselves in Circles

So much of the intellectual/scholarly world consists of the repetitive recasting of old ideas into “new” forms. We will melt the old thing down into 10,000 words and then shape it back into the same thing it was before, only with a slight reinterpretation of a piece or a subtle change in nuance. Then we all sit around that recast idea and talk about its similarities to the old and its relevance to the shelf upon which it sits. We think ourselves in circles and call it progress.

Our craft is concept therefore we fancy ourselves intellectuals. While I do not deny a place for such a craft in the world, I question its fruitfulness to the degree that it is divorced from implementation. Ideas require words to define them. Words require substance to legitimize them. Those who can move between the three (ideas, words, substance) have a unique capacity to change the shape of the world in which we all live.