Some pretentious Proustian said "I live the life of the mind" the other day. It was all I could do not to bop him with my parasol and say "mind this, fuckwit".
I despise that kind of intellectual pretension. Ya sure I read Beowulf and take a stab at Joyce 's Wake once a month, and I've been known to blather on about the importance of the canon but don't think for one minute I "live the life of the mind". Nosirreeebobbypins.
A happily significant part of my life is engaged in the quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie, and the location of the best cupcake, not to mention the softest comfiest pillow and sandals that don't make me reach for the wheelchair.
There's not much intellectual rigor attached to those activities but it sure doesn't make them less interesting, important or fun than say..reading Proust.
People who get all holier than thou about what they read, and how above the fray they are are the worst sort of intellects. They're dishonest. The life of the mind is in no way disconnected from the corporeal world, and all you need to do to know this is stand in front of Jackson Pollock painting and feel the frisson of energy. You don't have to understand to feel it, but it's important to understand that not FEELING it means you don't understand it.
Life of the mind, my ass.