Grand Village

Negotiations have taken a positive turn and I may go off strike soon. If I do I will still reserve the right not to post daily until after Labor Day, since I have ended up posting a great deal while on strike.

Today I am located at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians because, as you know, I am Mayan. Sometimes I just have to get away from all these white people, so I am visiting my cousins. We have limited connectivity here on the mounds, but there is guest commentary from one Mr. S.

Mr. S. is grateful that I took him from the animal shelter, but frustrated that I am not learning the habits of his species as quickly as I might. I have not yet begun to hunt in his style, for instance, despite his showing me how. I should also spend more time in the garden and do more outdoor work. I should have more parties, so he could socialize more often with more people, and more children, so he could be carried around all day. Finally, he wants me to set up one of my tents on the lawn and sleep outdoors on all but the hottest and coldest nights.

Mr. S. has taken notes on some of my random thoughts. They are as follows.

Should YOU want to be a professor? All blogs discuss this question incessantly. The problem is that it is often a moot question by the time you are close to being one or are one. One’s friends rationalize it in increasingly hair splitting terms. It is alleged one can do nothing else, or that one is “so good at it” one should make just one more sacrifice to stay. It is all well and fine, so long as you do not give up certain very basic expectations, to wit:

1) Abusive work environments are not acceptable.
2) Work environments with nothing to offer in your field but teaching may be acceptable but may resemble community college or high school teaching jobs in your discipline more than they do professor jobs at the universities you went to. Be aware of this and look before you leap.
3) Work environments such as those described in (2) are expensive. You will need to travel more, buy more books, and make more photocopies. Be aware of this and plan.

Mysticisms. We have been talking for months now about possible healing devices for our various ills. Mayan, I believe in all kinds of magic. I had part of Reeducation removed by a proto-shaman and another part with acupuncture. I also beckon myself back to real life with a Marty Balin song. The idea of return is important and valid in my view, and all of the characters in my unfinished novel MADRID se mueren por volver [click on both of those links if you speak Spanish, you will die laughing].

My point, however, is that no amount of returning is enough, none will take root,  unless one learns a few facts, such that it is not actually a good idea to relinquish power, and that certain behaviors really are unacceptable — and that they can be identified, and they have names. These points are fundamental and they are what Reeducation was structured to silence.


9 thoughts on “Grand Village

  1. The issue is that we have, as a culture, lost the sense of the human being as a whole organism. Therefore all sorts of amputations are to be expected and are not condemned or mocked out of court as they ought to be.Certain types of right wing ideology most prevalent today exacerbate this problem by putting people into impossibly contradictory positions, such that what they need to do to survive effects the negation of their sense of selfhood.

    Anyway, the shamanism/transgression thing is not like reeducation — it’s not a cold retraining of the mind. Its temperature is hot. Really its about exploding things apart.

  2. Yes, I know, but I’m just sayin’. That is also how Reeducation sells itself. I know few people other than you and I who can see it as a cold retraining of the mind (which it is).

  3. ? Didn’t think you were trying to sell.


    The other thing about academia — you are not supposed to be intellectually engaged. I mean, officially you are, but really you are supposed to be some sort of knowledge bureaucrat (and yet not good at actual administration). This doesn’t apply to the luckiest 10% of academics, perhaps.

    These are sketches of hypotheses, not a theory yet.

  4. Yes, you are supposed to put knowledge into safe categories, like into boxes in a morgue.

    Anyway, the shamanism thing is not a power game. Actually it cannot be a power game. It’s more like jazz. Either you have a tune to play or you don’t have one, and if you do, then you alone know the tune. Nobody can give it to you, or impose it upon you. It’s certainly nothing to do with a leap of faith. And that is what I meant by “hot” — it’s powered by the inwards sensibilities. It’s not something you apply to yourself from the outside, sternly.

  5. Knowledge Bureaucrat. Perfect. Purveyors to the masses of the best that has been thought and said. Gatekeeping, to make sure that the words of dead white men resonate down the ages.

  6. Safe categories, yes, and for teaching but also for research. And yet the best professors I had were not like this at all. This is what I find so confusing.

    GREAT description of the shamanism thing. Jazz. Yes.

    Re an older post — I’m looking at that book you have, Hattie, _I Hate People_, and thinking I may need it. There’s a .pdf of the first chapter at Amazon. I do pretty well not having to deal with toxic colleagues, but these do send me into tailspins and I am concerned about the fall. The book may help me deal shamanistically with that.
    I am not joking.

    Also, I just consumed Anne Moody’s book, very good on the question of resistance GENERALLY.

    Click to access CommonReadingStudyGuide.pdf

  7. Oh, dear. I’ve ordered it — as a step toward protecting myself in the fall. I wondered, since it is motivational/self help. I’ll try to glean something from it.

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