Via The Harmonist:
The modern intellectual engages in thought without end, for all purpose would be denounced as agenda or ideology. Restless before this convergence of freedom and uselessness, his occupation takes a critical turn and becomes the mere dissecting of all the interested buzz of the world of practical action. Because it lacks a sense of where thought might find fulfillment, the intellectual realm becomes not a place above the mundane world, but a parallel zone of criticism, where the beliefs of others may enter only to be seen through. The intellectual life reduces itself to functional nihilism, warding off despair only by means of attacking the latest ideology voiced beyond its doorstep.