Antaeus was a Lybian giant, son of Mother Earth (Gaea) and Poseidon, the god of the sea. He had a strange occupation, which consisted of forcing travelers, passing through his land, to compete with him in a wrestling match. Upon winning, he slaughtered his adversaries and used their skulls to build a temple to his father, Poseidon. He was invincible as so long as he remained in contact with his mother, Earth.
One of the travelers was Hercules, who – as part of his twelve labors – had to kill Antaeus. The Lybian giant, according to his habit, invited Hercules to wrestle with him. No matter how many times Hercules threw Antaeus off and tossed him to the ground, it did no good. If anything, the giant appeared rejuvenated from the encounter. Hercules eventually realized that Gaia, the Earth, Antaeus’ mother, was the source of his strength, so Hercules locked him in a bearhug and held the giant aloft until all his power had drained away and then he crashed Antaeus.
We can use this greek mythological tale as metaphor for describing the dangerous separation we are creating among intellectual speculations and real life, among economical theories and real economy, politicians and citizens, bankers and customers, nuns and prostitutes, doctors and patients. We cannot separate knowledge from contact with the ground, from the contact with real world. The knowledge we get by tinkering, via trial and error – id est the contact with earth – is vastly superior to that obtained through abstract reasoning in the academias by the so called intellectuals.