Monday, January 18, 2010

noetic


\noh-ET-ik\


adjective


: of, relating to, or based on the intellect


i arrived at work the other day and began spouting off to a coworker about writing and theory and technique, yelling to her from the coat closet while i unsheathed my winter-layered self. she was an english/lit major, so she and i can talk smacademia with ease.


i must have emerged from the closet saying something like, "...any digression really just has to support the self-implication, otherwise it just weakens what is supposed to be a narrative of self-realization. "


"totally."


"indubitably," another of our coworkers interjected, laughing.


"huh?" i laughed with him.


"i'm just trying to sound like you guys. indubitably," he repeated in a forced aristocratic accent. "you're so smart."


anytime anyone tells me i'm "smart" i roll my eyes and deny it. and this is not an act of humility—i really don't believe i'm smart. rather, i don't believe in the general idea of smart. smart translates to one of many more specific qualities:


- intellectual (um...NOETIC)

- knowledge-retaining

- motivated

- overbearingly-opinionated

- having a so-called common sense


i think if you even HINT at possessing any of these qualities, someone, somewhere, will think you're smart. i believe i am somewhat intellectual, sort-of knowledge-retaining (more concepts than facts), absolutely motivated, hardly at all overbearingly-opinionated, and full of a so-called common sense. but i still hate being called smart. smart, to me, suggests a notion of inheritance—as if some are born smart and some aren't so lucky. smart brings back memories of childhood peers who effortlessly got straight A's and were bored with schoolwork, waiting with indifference to move on to the next academic level they could conquer.


and this is the reason i don't want to be in academia. because there is no one there to say indubitably to you when you're drifting off into the NOETIC atmosphere.

2 comments:

  1. i think i need to start a daily response to your daily reponse. :)

    ReplyDelete