The concept of the ivory tower is a metaphor for intellectual elitism, aloofness and isolation. A beautiful clean structure looming over the surroundings, with enlightened inhabitants stroking their beards at the light scattered through a prism or stars shining in their telescopes. Yet for all their finery and reasoned debate, they forsake the real world. What use is the bubbling chemistry set to the serf tilling the fields? The classification of flowers and moths in dusty tomes? The endless debate, counterpoint and rebuke?
To those below the ivory tower looms above them, yet it's awe inspiring grandeur does nothing to aid their toil. It is neither benevolent nor a source of resentment. It is nothing more than a landmark.
A man much wiser than I once told me of revenge. He had just scattered the ashes of his best friend to the ocean and toasted to his memory. He no doubt saw his own end not too far away, affording himself a lucidity not commonly found in day to day occurrences.
The most well read man I shall ever likely meet mused upon much as the boat slowly sailed back to harbour. But, as I've no doubt implied, it his damning of revenge that stuck with me most. The basest of emotions, almost inseparable from that lizard brain that makes those quick judgements we are most likely to regret. He told me it wasn't about fairness or justice, it was just thus: I have been wronged and I shall wrong them back.