I had a realization about how Reeducation worked and what it killed via a comments thread on a different post. I could write a coherent post about that if I had time, and the comment is really just a pre-note, the thoughts in it are not well worked out at all. For now I am just pointing to them so I do not lose them, and hoping I understand them well enough for future reference.
The principal insight in the comment is how, through a complex knot of transference and countertransference, Reeducation cemented in my academic paralysis. This paralysis had other sources as well, coming from the real conditions of academia itself and that fact that one is not supposed to name these for what they are. Yet as I have always said, I can and could always deal with the real conditions, even if they are less than ideal, and even if the way of dealing were to leave … until Reeducation created these untenable conflicts.
I had written these notes on a scrap of paper earlier on, but that was before I had the revelation recorded in the comment I have already linked. I will not develop the following notes either at this time, just record them here so that I can take that scrap of paper from my desk and recycle it. Eventually I will meld them with that comment to come up with a new, brilliant essay on why better discipline and time management, acceptance of the fact that work is hard, and lowering of standards so as to evade perfectionism IN NO WAY address the problem of writer’s block.
The notes are:
1) Alienation from research identity because of the ideas that a) everyone knows you cannot or will not be a researcher, and keeps saying so; b) when you become one anyway, they say you should not have, it was and is hurtful to them and to others that you have oppressed everyone by becoming a researcher [so far these ideas are covered by Joanna Russ’ How to Keep Women From Writing], c) if you can write academic prose, it shows you are an unfeeling person alienated from yourself, d) the topics you write on only prove how disturbed you really are [those two ideas are from Reeducation], e) research and writing are part of academia, and academia is a place of extreme pain and betrayal, so I do not want any part of it; I am willing to give up research and writing if that is what will get me out of academia [what I learned from my experience in academia].
2) Loving the research projects but having been taught to hate the self that must exist to undertake them. Having been taught that self is to be killed and buried. Expecting to be able to undertake the research projects without the focus and insight of that self. At the same time, loving that self enough to want to rescue it from captivity in universities, and take it somewhere it can exist and without also torture (like that little mermaid in H.C. Andersen who had to walk on knives each day so that she could be with her one true love).
3) As we have said before, having had the authority one needs to run a project invalidated. The project may really need modification, and it may really be too large to finish in the allotted time. The self who is undertaking it may be right about these things. To be told no, you just do not have enough faith in your own speed, you are just planning to be lazy, you just do not believe enough in the project as originally planned, so stop fiddling and just knock it out, is poor advice and very invalidating. It is also very much uninformed. I mean: if an engineer said the plans for a skyscraper have a serious flaw and need revision before construction begins, would you not listen to hir?