Dilemma of the Intellectual (Chomsky, Thoreau, Leopold)

“The intellectual has, traditionally, been caught between the conflicting demands of truth and power. He would like to see himself as the man who seeks to discern the truth, to tell the truth as he sees it, to act – collectively where he can, alone where he must – to oppose injustice and oppression, to help bring a better social order into being. If he chooses this path, he can expect to be a lonely creature, disregarded or reviled. If, on the other hand, he brings his talents to the service of power, he can achieve prestige and affluence.”

Noam Chomsky

And, with a similar notion:

‎”If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.”

Henry David Thoreau


“One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”

Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac