Editorial – Is a nucleus elitist?
- Published: Monday, 12 December 2016 18:01
Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil
There is an ongoing discussion about the Theosophical Society’s first object, concerning the word nucleus. In this context we need to read “a” nucleus. In this editorial’s title, elitist is an adjective and this would indicate that it is referring to an elite and therefore might cause confusion. To come to an appropriate understanding of a word, it is always useful to explore what a word means; sometimes it has a variety of conflicting interpretations. Languages are dynamic and the significance of a word, over time, can change. Let’s examine elite.
(This is the aristocratic version) Elite (from late 18th century French élite), is a term that originates from Latin eligere (“to choose, elect”). In political and sociological theory for a small group of powerful people that controls a disproportionate amount of wealth, privilege or political power in a society.
(This is the liberal version, according to modern sociologists and anthropologists) The elites (plural) in a society or group are capable of the highest accomplishments in their specific fields, because of their intellectual and psychological development, abilities, and their willingness to share knowledge and skills.
Elite is also used in military jargon: elite troops. Although we should object to the use of any military force, here it has a positive meaning. Elite troops are often called in to combat terrorist atrocities or to help in the event of a natural disaster. Also in science and education elite relates to the interpretation under # 2. Example: the government in the state of Queensland in Australia, developed an Elite Science Program and on its website, we read the following:
“The Queensland Government is committed to providing world-class education that nurtures excellence, fosters innovation and celebrates diversity. Advancing innovation and research in science education and practice in Queensland Government schools is crucial for cultivating students with the required scientific skills and knowledge for future economic growth.” https://eqi.com.au/study-options/study-tours/elite-science
Although elite, when used as mentioned under # 1 could leave a distorted impression, being outdated and no longer applicable, and taking in consideration that all the words we use, both in writing or in speech, cannot always into detail define an idea and contain limitations, we should not be afraid of the word as such.