C’est si simple

At Thanksgiving Maman, meaning Grandmother, made comments in French about the sillier of the grandchildren, who voted for McCain. Grandmother is a nice white lady from the bad old days. She is convinced those days would have returned had we not voted for Barack.


It was in the late eighties that I became a professor and in the nineties that I lost my way in life generally due to the nature of academia and Reeducation. These problems arrived simultaneously and it is difficult to disengage them from one another, in part due to their similarities.

The academic aspect of these things, I understand. I lost my way because I committed to a large project I could not actually support. These were the reasons I did so:

1. Men and Academia: this is your only chance, do not waste it.
2. Academia: assume others know better than you do. Write what they want and sign your name. You are paid for this.
3. Women: it cannot be that you disagree with this, it must be that you fear you cannot do it.

Given these objections I attempted to apply Boicean methods to the project. That failed since what had really happened was that I had considered everything except my own professional opinion, which was objectively  acceptable: that is a lovely project, but it is not what is in my research program now.

I undetstand these things. It was in fact wise to say NO to that project, but pressures from corporate and popular culture made it too complicated to do so.

Reeducation is still harder to understand but everything I have discerned about this experience boils down to the idea that it was NOT ACCEPTABLE to be an intellectual, or to meditate, or to have authority in one’s own life. This was eerily similar – the same, in fact – as what I was being told elsewhere, including in academia, and that is how the two things are interrelated.

But it IS acceptable to be an intellectual, and to meditate, and to have authority in one’s own life. I have written an entire weblog, or codex, explaining why in great detail. Yet I must remind myself of these things every day. It IS acceptable to be an intellectual, and to meditate, and to have authority in one’s own life.

Why did I not manage to say no to that project in the first place? Because it was at the time not acceptable to be an intellectual, or to meditate, or to have authority in one’s own life. But it IS acceptable to be an intellectual, and to meditate, and to have authority in one’s own life.


6 thoughts on “C’est si simple

  1. The other thing one is NOT supposed to admit is that it is an entirely different thing to be stuck teaching lower level foreign language courses in a school with no library and a town with no bookstore or art movie house, and to be at a university with resources for university level work. I know I should not see this distinction and I have tried to extinguish the view in myself. I am ashamed that I do still see the difference, and long for a different atmosphere, more resources.

  2. And of course it all has to do with trying to take personal responsibility for things that are not of one’s making.

    “You should like this.”
    “You should be able to handle this.”
    “You should be willing to make these sacrifices.”

    But mostly:
    “What is happening is not real / is not how things really are.”

    And ultimately *all* of my issues with everything have to do with trying to tolerate what should not be tolerated, or thinking that if I learn to fit in better it will all be fine, or that if everything were not fine, or I did not perceive it to be fine, this was some problem of mine I would have to work on.

    This is of course what I originally sought Reeducation for, and we know it is alcoholic family syndrome but look at how many things also resemble that.

  3. I had to laugh concerning the issues…..Many of us have been or are yet there!

    The thought has entered my bloodstream that when we are headed in a direction to a certain destination and find that we are on the wrong road, we quickly turn around or at least, cross over. So, why is it so difficult to make the choice to turn around, cross over, or change with our lives?
    I know that this is divinely inspired for my life….so, I’m making changes.

  4. Why difficult: because of not defining the issue. What I *really* need to stop is self abuse. But this is hard to see if one is constantly told one needs to engage in more of that, and that in fact the problem is something else … that one is an intellectual, for instance.

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