The Decline of Pre-Digital Elitism
Updated: May 13
With the increasing dominance of technology, more people are able to voice their thoughts and spread them worldwide without pre-existing methods such as books, newspapers, and journals. This allows, with enough practice in logic and communication, for literally anyone to become a non-academic intellectual, something which takes away the elitist superiority of academia in a world where everyone can become knowledgeable enough, thanks to the internet.
This minimization takes away the necessity of a large portion of academic studies, and allows those who are autodidactic enough to save themselves the financial debt many students find themselves in, for a degree they won't necessarily need to acquire to get a job with certainty and good pay. Additionally, the same knowledge found in high-education institutions can now be accessed with the click of a finger, with the only cost being the household bills you may pay nonetheless.
Of course, this is extremely beneficial financially but not professionally, as people seem to forget that degrees don't have to be the only way to express credibility. Unfortunately, if we were to be more inclusive, we could increase open-mindedness and tolerance for more unorthodox-lifestyle-choosing intellectuals.
A textbook example of such an intellectual can be that of Socrates, who acquired his wisdom by philosophizing with the people of Athens and despised reading and writing (Plato did the writing for him). If Socrates had lived today, people might either tell him to get a job or a degree and stop "wasting his potential" by passing his day talking to others and not reading philosophy books. Ironically, he is probably the most well-known philosopher of all time.
Will there ever be a future without the socio-economic exclusivity of academic studies, even if they are required by many job positions whose applications are nonetheless uncertain, due to high demand and competition (besides of jobs where degrees are actually certain, such as in the field of medicine and law)? Should we, even as professionals, see the person in front of us as more than the sum of schools they went to and degrees they acquired? I believe we can save a lot of people's time and money, just so they can look appealing in the eyes of others, and especially, of their potential employers.
Academic studies are hard, stressful, and costly, and people shouldn't be ashamed for wanting to save their money and wellbeing and choose a different, more individually-fitting, path in life. Not everyone is academic material, and not everyone has the courage to quit it after a certain time of attending.
As such, armchair intellectuals should fight against the negative stereotypes against them, like many people of esoteric social categories do, from ethnic minorities, to the financially disadvantaged, to the mentally ill. People do not need to feel bad for being too unfit to the demands of the norms. We all have to deal with other struggles anyways.