I have often considered those who choose academic lives (myself included) to be in someway cowards. Academia seemed a way to avoid taking action in the “real” world. That is the realm outside of theory. The further I explore dialectics the more I realize how wrong this assumption was on my part. The realm of theory often does not visibly connect to “real” outcomes but it is far from insignificant. Real outcomes and theory cannot exist without each other.
I will not swing to the opposite side and become a theoretical essentialist, claiming that without theories events could not happen, but I will claim that I am now confident in the lack of a reality distinct from theory.
Academics may not often fight with our hands, and the pen may not be mightier than the sword in ending an individual life in a moment of passion, but the pen is a necessary condition of the decision to wield the sword.