Introduction: the Intellectual in our Lives (02:53)
Richard D. Heffner welcomes writer and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel. Wiesel argues that intellectuals should always question themselves. They should never have power due to the tendency to experiment with ideas, but they should advise political leaders.
Intellectuals in Politics (05:32)
Wiesel defines intellectuals as people who see reality in concepts and ideas. U.S. presidents deal with polls, rather than ideas or ideals. Wiesel cautions against intellectuals possessing power, citing the French Revolution, but supports leaders consulting intellectuals from both sides.
Power Corrupts (02:23)
Wiesel discusses how access to political leaders changes intellectuals and disturbs the thought process. He has witnessed this, as chairman of the President's Commission on the Holocaust.
Universal Academy of Cultures (03:01)
Wiesel discusses a new organization for intellectuals to analyze current issues. They exclude politicians but hope leaders will listen to their ideas. They aim to show that the intellectual process is part of civilization.
Fighting Intellectual Elitism (02:08)
Wiesel hopes his Universal Academy of Cultures will break down barriers between academia and society, and give back to humanity.
Organized Intelligence (02:32)
Walter Lippmann's "Public Opinion" proposed organizing knowledge for human survival. Wiesel hopes to touch individuals, rather than reaching millions. He discusses bringing together Nelson Mandela and the South African prime minister in the 1990s; their dialogue contributed to ending apartheid.
Fears about the Future (03:31)
Governments will sponsor the Universal Academy of Cultures, but it will be an independent organization promoting cultural diversity. Wiesel discusses concerns about growing violence, failed democracies, and unrest around the world.
Promoting Multiculturalism (03:28)
Wiesel discusses cultures maintaining sovereignty while tolerating others. He admits that flaws exist in every ideology; intellectuals must address questions that dominate in society. He hopes his academy will establish a hierarchy of priorities and introduce morality into science.
Credits: Episode 8: The Intellectual in our Lives (00:45)
Credits: Episode 8: The Intellectual in our Lives
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