Liar, Liar

In Reeducation you were wrong. You were guilty of evil doing, and you were also a victim of evil doing by others. Not to be victimized was to exert inappropriate amounts of control, and not to be guilty was to be “in denial.”

I went to Reeducation to learn how to deal with abusive people, although I did not know enough at the time to know how to name this problem. What I learned in fact was that it was inappropriate for me to have as much education as I had or as good a job as I had, and to be as independent and competent as I was, and as happy. It all had to be false somehow. I was a liar.

Health was accepting abuse and its results: self doubt, self hatred, immobility, rules, striving for relief that would never come, self criticism about having failed to create conditions in which such relief might be given. Health was learning to accept conditions in — well, a 16th century Carmelite prison, perhaps?

I mean, really — it was ridiculous and I am amazed at how many people told me it was not. It was “really true” and this was how the “real world” worked, they said. Those things are simply false.


68 thoughts on “Liar, Liar

  1. I’ve had similar experiences of course, and many a person whom I’ve thought had been a friend or had the possibility of becoming one has instead turned out to have been a reeducator. Now, once again, I think this has a cultural aspect. The metaphysical (and ultimately psychological) linking up of the idea of personal goodness with the possession of knowledge — particularly knowledge of what is “True” — was NOT something with which I had been brought up.

    It’s a cultural thing, then, I believe — a system of ideas more prevalent in one place than another. And, as Nietzsche points out, the metaphysical conjoinment of Truth, Knowledge and Power is in fact Platonism.

    But — back to my problem, and the structural flaw within the system that is the reason why I met so many reeducators.

    When I first came to Australia at age 16 I professed non-knowledge about just about everything. It was my way of saying, “teach me, please!” But nobody did. I believe my inability to find those who would assist me to learn the ropes of a new culture was related very much to a number of unfortunate experiences I had later. And so it went on — one “unfortunate” experience after another. But these were by no means accidental.

    I was being taught a lesson, I believe, that it is not my right not to know something. That not to know is weakness — specifically moral weakness — and that dogmatism is strength.

    So, I would try to get assistance by various means, and in the process I would naturally be inclined to admit that I didn’t know something, that I was confused about how the system functioned, that I sought enlightenment. According to the reactions this produced I now realise that this was code for saying, “I have no moral qualities, I will not be brought to order, and I am seeking self gratification (respectively).”

    So things were so very difficult. My propensity to tell the truth was countered all the time with somebody’s projection — their Platonic Truth.

    And of course I made it even worse by stating that I had intellectual interests and aspirations.

    So much worse.

    1. I mean, if you don’t have any morality, because you don’t have knowledge, then how can you claim to aspire to knowledge? You must be lying.

    2. A tautology of some kind, right? You are supposed to already know, and if there is something you do not know, you are 100% wrong and invalid on everything.


      Truth connected to knowledge, power, goodness, yes. Important point.

      I just realized something, reading your comment, about authoritarian societies. I would formerly have called it provincialism, this assumption that everyone already knows everything (if they matter) and refusal to give information to those who ask.

      But it’s not just that — it’s that authority is established through secrets, “discretion,” “confidentiality,” and so on. “We won’t orient you because we want to hold power within our in crowd, in our club; we do not want to give you the chance to become equal.”

      1. But it seems to go even deeper than that — I mean its not just cultural snobbishness, perhaps. It seems to be deeply ingrained in people’s ideas of what a good person is. They think that if you do not know something that they think you ought to know, that you are not a good person. It probably has something to do with the territorial marking mannerisms of lizard brain. But a lot of people want to make out that not knowing something must be a deeply ingrained pathology. How about the fact that one comes from another culture? This is not taken into account, even when it is the most salient aspect about a person. (Remember my first interaction with an Australian authority figure, the one who told me that may answer to her question, “where are you from?” –I’d answered “Zimbabwe” — was preposterously cheeky.

  2. Also, I think this is why my trip to the UK was so traumatising. Because I’d just been struggling with the very complex terms of my thesis (the various paradigms I was considering using), and somebody who I knew personally decided to radically attack me for my lack of knowledge — thus equivocating ‘knowledge’ with ‘goodness’, again, and reopening old wounds in my mind.

    So it got me into a mode of thinking: “I am going to a foreign place, and I won’t be able to ask my way around without inviting punishment for it.”

  3. Well, apparently they really do think that certain kinds of knowledge are goodness. If you were a good person, you would be structured by a certain cultural paradigm.

    1. I think there are certain males out there who feel, “I must be able to rely on you to nurture me, I must be able to lean on you, for then you are a person to me!” To proclaim what sounds like saying that one does not naturally know one’s role, and that one would have to learn it to be able to understand it sounds like so much petulance to them. They are like “how can you put your own education first, and thus deny me nourishment!”

      1. It’s a very selfish approach these patriarchs take — precisely what they are accusing the woman of taking. And they really do not “buy” the notion that you cannot understand what is expected of you, because they believe it should be “natural” and enough to simply submit/obey.

  4. It also amazes me, by the way, how much guilt I have internalized about being “the wrong [kind of] person.”

    (Naturally, this blocks me from fully developing more of who I actually am, which is the frustration I blog about; I also feel guilty about being that guilt ridden.)

    1. You can’t be the right sort of person if other people are constantly expecting you to be different from how you are. That is why I feel that I have relaxed inwardly a great deal since I made a lot of Zimbabwean friends on facebook.
      I also enjoy my job teaching Japanese, since it allows me to be myself.

      I remember when I used to teach Westerners, and I was always thinking, “I can’t respond naturally to them, with whatever’s in my head, because these people always become a bit paranoid when dealing with authority (as I was, a tutor) and imagine you are saying something between the lines, and I haven’t mastered this whole process of speaking between the lines, and of avoiding seeming to speak between the lines when I am not actually doing so.

      Then I used to have to practice sounding like I thought in black and white concepts and ideas, so that I could make authoritative sounding statements, when really my whole thought process is thoroughly based on conditional thinking, and grey on grey. I knew that if I spoke in the way I was thinking I would not be communicating, or I would be communicating something like self doubt, instead — although this was decidely NOT what I was thinking or feeling.

      And if one cannot be oneself? It is a very stressful proposition.

  5. Yes, this is why it is better to be a professor and teach courses above the freshman level; you can then tell them look, this is gray on gray, deal with it.

    And keep in mind that there may be a difference between what you teach and what they learn, and make a note of it but not take it personally.

    On the teaching and academia topic, I just found this blog.

    My guilt is about not being able to be who they want and who I am at once. After all this time I am only now realizing that one must simply fake the minimum requirement of what they want and be who one is — it is not only the only way to live generally, it is also the only way to get ahead, even in capitalism.

    My guilt/anger is also about not being more successful and thus, freer. If I would remember more times per day that it is because of being oppressed as a woman, not because of some magical individual failing, life would be easier.

    1. Why would it be so much easier if you realised that the oppression is arbitrary (ie. related to your gender). We tend to internalise things, to “take the blame” because it gives us an illusion of power, making us feel like we could change our circumstances by trying different tactics. To leave the blame external, where it belongs, means that we lose our illusion of power, and feel weak.

  6. In my case, the idea that I have the power to control it drains my energy and muddies my brain. (We just had ML King Day here, you realize, so the videos were everywhere. One thing I noticed this time around was that part of why he was so strong was that he knew he was oppressed, had no doubt.)

    1. Yes, it is better to take a strong position. Although there will always be people who say that by doing so you are cutting your own throat.

      1. Well, as I always say, MLK himself eventually did that when he started to really go against the government (which he does not do in the patriotic “I Have A Dream” speech).

        But of course, to say that is “cutting your own throat” is very short sighted, within the system, etc.

  7. The system needs to be changed. Personally, I have concluded that I cannot live within it peacefully, as it is. It extracts too many costs from me — costs that without any doubt I can’t afford. So, because I cannot afford these costs, by any means, I must try to fight to change the system.

    But in the short term, that might make me look silly –not playing by the rules, but seeking to change them, could make me look like I do not want the best for myself. (Because onlookers, especially patriarchs, can’t see how bad it already is.)

    MLK — his example shows that this is not all about mindgames, and posturing, that their are actual lives at stake, above all one’s own.

    The war we are in is real, and so are the consequences.

      1. Of course there is a certain nobility that is related to engaging in any battle, too — which should certainly not be underestimated.

        My main man says that chapters are delayed, and should reach me by the end of the week.

  8. Good, so you get a rest until then.

    Battles, you have to have a significant enemy, though; MLK did that. I am still trying to control lizard brain by not throwing pearls before swine! 😉

    1. Well in order to control lizard brain, you must control it within you, which means that you mustn’t seek outside sources for your sense of primeval wholeness. It must come from within, through the activities you do. Sometimes it will seem not to. When I am undergoing a time of stress or fatigue, I want more than ever for things to just harmonise. But it seems that at the level of a kind of viral intelligence, other people’s lizard brains “know” this, and try to draw you in. You may feel that you have to pay a debt in order to win their approval, and thus restore primeval unity. You think, “I will just give a token, and it will not matter to my integrity.” But it matters totally, because in relation to the universe and the forces in it, you have now lost your balance. It’s an internal state, and you will feel it as if there was more power now outside of you than there is inside of you.

      The second aspect of controlling lizard brain is to recognise an act of war. Anything that seeks to diminish your energies, even to the slightest degree, is an act of war. Not all acts of war are equally potent, but the loss of energy means the loss of your life force. So don’t get into needless arguments, where you feel that you have to prove yourself.

      After a while of practising this kind of defence, you will see that patriarchy comes up with the same strategies to attack your energy again and again. eg. “If you are right, then prove it to me!”

      also: “I will doubt your integrity unless you placate me.”

      and so on — all designed to use up your energy.

      With this battle you are in it is vital to learn that the content of what you say is not what matters to the enemy, so it is a waste of time going into it too much. Content is nearly ALWAYS a red herring. The fundamental strategy that patriarchy’s lizard brain uses is to use this red herring in such a way that you end up trying to justify yourself (when justification in a patriarchal setting is always impossible). Thus you lose your energy –the respective patriarch wins.

      1. This is what was in moderation — it just showed up. Very good points. And I’ve made these errors so many times. (And I STILL want to have “S” recognize my point of view, and it is about having an external source for wholeness.)

        Note that in Al-Anon, it is supposed to be only the partners and children of alcoholics who have this yearning for wholeness to be granted from an external source. And the antidote is supposed to be to get wholeness from God; it’s “arrogant” to get it from within yourself.

      2. Perhaps it is assumed that one simply cannot get it from within oneself –hence it is arrogant to “try”?

        I think it is very common to view the human being as very weak in mind, but I think this stems from a non-shamanistic tradition. If the three brains are necessarily out of synch because they developed at different points in evolution, then we are very weak. Maybe this is the default position for most people? But shamanism attempts to bring them back into synch.

      3. It also really amazes me how it is in this culture compared to the one I came from — the lack of a “can do” attitude when it comes to taking an ethical stance. I mean in a practical way, not an ethereal, abstracted way. People are just too “weak” to do it –or they have been told they are. And there is the concomitant idea that if you are aggressive on your own behalf or you make your own ethical judgements about a situation and act on them, then you must be wielding your sword in a cumbersome and dangerous way, and no good will come of it.

        But the fact that I come from a culture where ppl do see and act differently on their own behalves shows that this weakness is NOT part of human nature but has been inculcated as both belief and practice.

    1. I think it was just something short that I said. I will add that I think it is the patriarch’s lizard brain that expects submission so that he might obtain his sense of primeval unity. That is why to act independently, as if one’s individuality actually mattered, strikes him as “mean”. He will easily get other patriarchs to share his point of view, because they feel that a woman’s character must be inadequate if she cannot make that small concession to console the patriarch’s ego. But what these coercive patriarchs do not realise is that they are dealing with the tip of the iceberg.

      It’s not as if one can simply submit and lose one’s identity in the process as a nice gesture, and then recover again.

      Small submissions put a whole lizard brain dynamic into play, with the end result that one’s identity is lost for good.

      1. I also reflect, today, on how the whole agenda of the oppressed (myself, in this instance) is typically radically misconstrued. I’m going to speak a little esoterically for the moment –but the whole idea is that we want more, we are grasping. I am trying to see whether I can put my finger on what underlies the common patriarchal logic that if you treat a woman badly you will win her affection. I think it is based on the notion that women are creatures who gravitate towards company, and the more you “feminise” them, the more this is so. And maybe things could feasibly work in this direction, so that women’s characters could be moulded to serve men’s emotional needs.

        But the reality of what *I* want, what I require as a marker of my health, is in fact the opposite to this. As such, I am unfathomable. Far from wanting to merge with others, I want to extricate myself from the politically coerced requirement to do so. I’ve been wanting it for years, and all my energy and will is in this.

      2. “It’s not as if one can simply submit and lose one’s identity in the process as a nice gesture, and then recover again.”

        This is what they expect, but it really isn’t p0ssible.

        I think Reeducation liked to think it was possible, but also knew it wasn’t … thinking it was possible was just window dressing … really it wanted to create that submissive being.

        The main lesson of Reeducation, in my current boildown, was to learn that one was “less than,” believe it, internalize it, accept it. And one was “less than” for precisely that reason: for NOT having figured out how to submit correctly to patriarchy (in which one is also less than, but nominally honored for it).

  9. And then there’s that thing with the submission thing — you lose your libido because you learn to dissociate. It goes to show how unnatural the whole submission thing is, from the point of view of the integral identity.

      1. libido is your lifeforce, your energy. It’s the medium by which you celebrate the here and now in a positive way. those who want you to submit do not want you to have it.

  10. Wanting to extricate myself from required merging, that has been my life project since forever. It was why Reeducation was so traumatizing, since I questioned the project then.

    Trying to “feminize” women more, yes, well that is how abuse works. It’s true that patriarchs really do not imagine one would want anything else / anything other than them. This is hard for me to grock, it is so illogical of them, but it is a fact.

    I am always amazed at the idea that women go for men who behave badly. They can be trapped by these guys, it is true. But there’s also the official definition of what being treated well and poorly even is. Lots of “well” is actually poorly, etc. etc.

    1. Well I think that is part of the war, that people will get you to question yourself so that you undermine yourself. When I look back at all the situations in which I have made a successful extrication, I realise that many onlookers perceive precisely these situations as my ‘failures’. On the subjective level, I managed to extricate myself from an abusive, or potentially abusive situation. But onlookers see it as a failure to “join up”, as they imagine this is what we ought to do.

      1. I should, as an exercise, look at the ways in which my various failures could be considered successes. What odious thing did I successfully evade joining, etc.

        Re libido above, yes, that is why women’s sexuality is considered scary, etc. etc.

  11. It’s basically what Nietzsche calls “instinct”. If you didn’t do something, or if you did, it is all governed by “instinct”. Now, somebody else’s instincts might be in the totally opposite direction, so they will interpret your instincts falsely. But still, the point is that if we are basically healthy we always do our best for ourselves, within the circumstances we are in.

  12. And in Reeducation, it is believed one is not basically healthy. Also, not doing whatever the standard thing to do is, is considered evidence of ill health by definition (health is doing the standard thing).

    1. That is also where Nietzsche and psychoanalysis differ. The latter seems to take conventionalism as a kind of reality principle, all other things being equal. Nietzsche digs under all of that, to find that there is a mediocritising principle at work in this kind of thinking. Also in psychoanalysis, there does not seem to be, so far as I have been made aware, any kind of standard or principle for excellence. In other words, it seems like “deviations” are possible only in one direction, towards pathology and not in the other direction, towards creative excellence. Hence the herd’s standard of mediocrity defines the highest pinnacle of civilisation that is possible.

      By the way, I may have something there in moderation.

  13. I don’t see anything in moderation. But Nietzche vs. psychoanalysis, yes, exactamente, and N. wins for general smartness!

    1. Oh well, maybe I just lost track. I thought I wrote something earlier–maybe it already appeared.

      Anyway, I am working on my intro chapter, although cannot do much at this stage. Clipped it back but it is still long. Want to use a graphic from a journal article–is that allowed so long as I reference it, or must I ask for special permission?

  14. For a published piece you must ask for permission. For a dissertation, I think you can just reference it (check rules at your university).

    I bookmarked that chapter, want to read for my own purposes but haven’t yet.

    I am trying to vaguely remembering what it was like to work without shame, fear, and danger. I’ve had those three things about teaching and service since I became a professor, and about research since Reeducation.

    I had some other fragment of illumination earlier this morning on one of these threads, but it escapes me now.

      1. Keep on going (with breaks, of course)! 🙂

        It is all true and amazing how well I used to behave toward myself, all that interesting work, all that health food, all those afternoons by the pool, and so on, and how well I managed to destroy that (others thought it too hedonistic, it is amazing how pain oriented they are).

        And now: all these problems because of dissociating, because of pain, and all this being behind on work because of being dissociated, and being quite embarrassed about that.

  15. “It also really amazes me how it is in this culture compared to the one I came from — the lack of a ‘can do’ attitude when it comes to taking an ethical stance. I mean in a practical way, not an ethereal, abstracted way. People are just too ‘weak’ to do it –or they have been told they are. And there is the concomitant idea that if you are aggressive on your own behalf or you make your own ethical judgements about a situation and act on them, then you must be wielding your sword in a cumbersome and dangerous way, and no good will come of it.

    “But the fact that I come from a culture where ppl do see and act differently on their own behalves shows that this weakness is NOT part of human nature but has been inculcated as both belief and practice.”

    Is it Catholic or does it have to do with slavery or … ? Latin Americans tend to be REALLY bad about this, worse than Americans; this has to do with having been taught they have no rights and so on.
    Of course, academia and Reeducation tried to teach me the same thing.

    1. And then there is Lacanianism and other mind-body dualisms, that formally suggest that if you are acting in your own interests you are irrational. For what else is rationality but conforming to social normality, and Lacan’s system defines this as radically opposed to the individual’s inner subjectivity. (Objective necessity and subjective desire are radically opposed.)

      Is there something Catholic in that?


      For the individual and his desires are defined as radically sinful in relation to society as a whole.

      He is only pure to the degree that he does that which he wishes not to do, and ascends an “inverted ladder” towards his redemption.

      (In shamanistic terms, this is a recipe for dissociating from the body.)

      1. and anyway, I have found that the recipe for staying IN the body is to have a lot of Zimbabwean friends. I will recommend some for you.

      2. Yes — dissociating from the body, it is amazing how common that turns out to be. I think of myself as struggling against dissociation but actually I think I am insufficiently dissociated (for society’s purposes). I think I should dissociate more, but want to dissociate less.

        This is an interesting perception for me.

      3. You are insufficiently dissociated for industrial society’s purposes. Therefore, they will make out that you are pathological, when you are not. What they will mean is that you are not sufficiently USEFUL in the sense of being easily moulded into whatever others require from you. But why is being a useful instrument for others purposes, whatever they happen to be, considered to be the definition of health? Obviously, it isn’t healthy, and certainly not the way to define health.

        When I speak with Zimbabweans –above all black Zimbabweans — I realise that they have the same point of reference that I do with regard to all of this. They do not regard being useful as the definition of being healthy. They believe that their relationships and inner well being define that. It seems very simple and straightforward, but it is completely different from how contemporary Westerners define things. Not to dissociate from your own needs and desires is considered normal in Zimbabwean society, whereas the opposite is considered normal in Western society.

      4. “But why is being a useful instrument for others purposes, whatever they happen to be, considered to be the definition of health?”

        Well, health means conditions that keep you alive, right? If there’s an implied death threat for non-useful behavior, then usefulness would equal health.

      5. Well that is true, Kathmandu. But supposing it is I who gets to police your usefulness according to my own values which happen to differ vastly from your own? You are healthy to the degree that you are useful to me. I will pay your wages. But I don’t like the look of your face, and will you please put a bag over it?

        There is the other aspect, too, that any virtue taken to its extreme becomes the opposite –as our friend Nietzsche intoned. So, usefulness is not a linear proposition, in terms of health. One can become very “useful” and yet lose one’s subjectivity in the process, for instance.

  16. “Perhaps it is assumed that one simply cannot get it from within oneself –hence it is arrogant to ‘try’?

    “I think it is very common to view the human being as very weak in mind, but I think this stems from a non-shamanistic tradition. If the three brains are necessarily out of synch because they developed at different points in evolution, then we are very weak. Maybe this is the default position for most people? But shamanism attempts to bring them back into synch.”

    Maybe that is the default position. It certainly is the Christian position to go on about how one is weak.

    1. It doesn’t pertain to Rhodesian style Christianity, which was frontierlike and definitely “can do”. It doesn’t pertain to present Zimbabwean style Christianity, either, which is practically oriented.

      I do think it’s Christian, but I think it has to do with the way that Christianity has become merged with the quest for survival that is wage slavery. To accept one’s weakness means the boss doesn’t come after your ass and put it on his dinner plate. Must be bliss!

      1. Or one can dissociate by becoming a subject position rather than a subject. And since subject positions cannot act, one tells oneself that this is about as ethical as it gets. One is complying absolutely with what is expected of one, in a formal sense, and doing nothing more or less. This position is called disappearing up one’s ass in terms of formalism.

        My main man is b0und up for the time being and cannot get chapters back to me, but that feels okay, as I have time to reflect, and even if I don’t I am taking time this weekend anyway.

        I was really worried yesterday as I seemed to have lost sensation in my hand (especially my right), and I was all over the internet looking up things like ‘nerve damage’ and diabetes, and wondering how I’d been attacked. But more sensation has returned today, which means that I can type again. And I have learned my lesson, at least I think I have, not to hit things with my bare fists. I was practising things I thought I could teach Zimbabwean women, but this isn’t it.

      2. Christianity plus wage slavery, sure, but also Catholic plus plain slavery, I think (Louisiana, Brazil). Fundamentalists also seem to have that submissive Catholic mentality, although more progressive Protestants take seriously the importance of Works and not just Faith. I’m not sure about these categorizations of Christians — just going by experience / feel, I should study the matter.

        Dissociate by becoming a subject position rather than a subject, yes, but however one does it one should be in control of it, is what I say.

        He’ll get the chapters back eventually. It’s good about your hand. That _is_ what they have boxing gloves for, you know! 😉

  17. Don’t know either. I know that I have always been surprised that people do not stand up for themselves adequately in Perthian society, or they fail to stand up for friends, and believe the passive position is the most moral one. I really believe they feel they will unleash something horrible if they do start to think and act in ways that reflect that there is, or ought to be a consistency between recognising personal injury (for instance, in the body) and acting defensively on your own behalf.

    There is no training given for this, however – no training to think in terms of ethics, at least not at levels of education below the tertiary level. It appears to be what is missing in mental training. It seems people ARE taught to think of their political interests, especially vis-a-vis identity politics. They can sometimes act on that basis, and sometimes quite effectively. But it is often dissociated from awareness of a particular injury and the capacity to respond defensively on that basis. The responses, such as they are, therefore tend to be more chaotic and random — which is to say, dissociated.

  18. People are *convinced* that the most passive position is the most moral, and that the Devil will instantly take them if they are assertive (as opposed to passive agressive).

    Random/chaotic as dissociated, yes … and I guess it is true, I am not dissociated enough. This all is very interesting.


    I am in a Baton Rouge coffeehouse getting onto a sugar and caffeine high before going over the river and home. MY GOD LSP-Angola is depressing, and Dixieland is as bad as they do say it is, and so on.

    AND my death row prisoner is a patriarch, it is really funny. Michael LeGrand was being visited as well and his family was spending a lot of money on this visit, having lots of pictures taken, and so on. There is something odd about him, I cannot describe it in only a few words, and it is interesting that a white boy whose family has that much cash got the death penalty … I will have to find out about this. There was an execution on the 7th, the first in a long time.

    1. Had a dream last night –and you can blame it on a discusson of Zorba the Greek and misogyny, as well as some discussion that Mike and I had about Martin Luther, and my forthcoming African trip, and well, the horrors of clerical work.

      In the dream, I was in a conference centre, but back in my old job, with everybody older, and more mellow, but not necessarily wiser (the stasis of clerical type positions and mentalities). There I kissed a Ned Flanders character on the lips, a sign of my resignation to the mundane.

      I looked down from the conference hall, and there was a sea of boab (baobab) trees. One of them began uprooting — it was crackling and sputtering, and dust and atoms were flying up around it. It uprooted totally, and turned itself upside down, and then continued towards the wooden doors of the university hall. (Ok, that part sounds a little phallic, but only retrospectively. It was not the sense of it in the dream, but rather the horror that a tree could animate itself). Now I think it went to this door to nail its 95 thesis. It was the UWA administration door.

  19. That is interesting and wild. I am not remembering dreams well enough yet. But I am having some transformative ones I’d like to bring further toward consciousness.

    1. I think my dream was my own internal recurrence. I was reflecting the other day, how in Zarathustra, Nietzsche links his own traumatic event of his childhood — his father hitting his head and dying shortly afterwards — with the eternal recurrence. The link is indicated by the howling of a dog, which happened at the time of the accident.

      I realised that my own uprooting is at the centre of my trauma, and thus is the basis for my own “eternal recurrence” around which my world spins. At the deepest levels of the psyche, I interpret every possible thing that happens to me through this lens of uprooting (and it is an active lens, too, for when a situation becomes too abusive, I look for ways to uproot.)

      Last night’s dream was about a church, and fascism, and patriarchy and censorship. I had combined scenes from the movie 1900 (about fascism) and scenes from the Mormon drama that Mike likes to watch (big love). Anyway the dream had a scenario of a conservative woman who attended a church to give a presentation, but she was stopped some short way into her speech, and sent to another room to be reprimanded. The priest guy who was reprimanding her was a fascist. He said a cat bit his leg (playfully) and he kicked its head in. Everybody was discussing what the woman had done wrong, and I wanted to talk to her and tell her she had done nothing at all wrong. She said, “I only gave a speech from a Mom’s perspective.” And then I began running away from this building, but this girl began running after me. She had heavy acne scarring on her face, and was guarding the church against anyone leaving it without her knowledge. She said she wanted to be a tennis star and a ballerina when she grew up. Her running was as fast as a greyhound. She let me depart when we reached the church’s boundaries.

  20. My eternal recurrence dream seems to be about getting a group through a war or disaster zone — being the parent figure, putting my life aside so as to lead everyone to safety; enjoying the thrill of the adventure and also the knowledge that I can do it.

    I had it for a long time and in several versions, populated with characters from my life in whatever lustra it was.

    Then I had these other meditative dreams, much more peaceful.

    Recently I have had dreams in which I am speaking with a superego figure, with a meditative scene in the background; she is being very nice.

    I am fascinated to have been able to achieve this dream — I must concentrate on it.

    1. Yours is a dream that portends well. You are forming a better relationship with the different parts of yourself.

      As for me, it is a different kind of journey. I do not like this part of writing the thesis as it reminds me too much of doing clerical work. I will do it, but I (oddly enough) have moments of sheer trauma. It’s linked to the idea I have that I cannot focus on details. I know that I can — at least that I was reasonably good at it (although it was never my special skill) before I had the clerical job. But the traumatised part of my mind tells me, “they will get you for this, most certainly. There are too many ways to be caught out.”

      And also, I hear my father’s voice: “You cannot communicate.”

      Anyway, difficult times.

      1. anyway, I think I will just train at the gym today.

        I made this timeline last night, on Marechera’s life:

        Born 4 June 1952, Vengere Township, Rusape.
        1966-71, Secondary School at St Augustine’s Mission, Penhalonga
        1972-July 1973, Honours Course (English), University Of Rhodesia
        1970-71, Form 5 & 6 – Marechera’s shamanic initiation? ( Hallucinations, p 53, 68 Handbook)
        Oct 1974-Mar 1976, English undergraduate studies, New College, Oxford
        Mar 1976- Sept 1977, Oxford (no fixed employment, or accommodation)
        Oct 1977- Jan 1978, Wales
        1978, The House of Hunger published
        1978, The Black Insider written
        1979, Accessing a variety of psychoactive drugs at Tolmers squat in London ( p 30 handbook)
        1979, The House of Hunger awarded the joint Guardian fiction prize
        1980, Wrote ‘Portrait of a Black Artist in London’
        Feb 1978-Jan 1982, London (with periods at Sheffield University and in Western Berlin in 1979)
        1980, Black Sunlight published
        Feb 1982 -Aug 1987 Harare, wrote most of Cemetery of Mind, and works produced, later published as Scrapiron Blues
        1982-1983—Homeless on the Harare Streets (p 281 Handbook)
        1982— (within a year of his arrival) wrote Mindblast p 301.
        1984 Mindblast Published
        Aug 1987, died Harare
        1990, The Black Insider published
        1992, Cemetery of Mind published
        1994, Scrapiron Blues published

      2. That’s exactly the trauma I have about academic writing, or rather, acquired through via Reeducation when I was about 35. (Remember Reeducation wasn’t just that therapist, it was also dealing with certain academics.)

  21. Yes– well I just have to reconcile myself to the fact that they WILL in fact “get me” or catch me out on all sorts of points. After all there is nothing to the enjoyment of power if one cannot be a policeman. So that is surely bound to happen — and it is why I had my dream of uprooting, because I am disengaging from my interest in what happens to this thesis after it leaves my hands.

  22. Yes, they will. But the thing is that one can survive it. This is the trauma I have — the threat that the attack will be so bad I won’t survive it. I did not have this problem earlier — at least not as regards anything academic.

    Actually, as I used to point out, academia was my safe space and this is why I was so upset about having THAT destroyed for me.

    It was also why I was so angry at everyone for not understanding, not supporting me in creating a DIFFERENT safe space, insisting that I stay in academia until I could disinfect it, insisting it was the only thing for the entity they saw as “me.”

    (Note how oriented I have been toward the idea one must not upset other people with what one does.)


    Marechera timeline – well he was a writer for sure, and not very compromising. I still say he and Vallejo are related.

  23. Well the thing is that one can survive anything that is not given in a mean spirited way. It is the meanness of spirit in anything that makes it hard to survive. So I think that academia will be different for me than my previous experience was. To be honest, I think that my mind is just currently confusing two things, as when I think of the kinds of criticism academics have given me in the past I have never been offended by it.

  24. Well, academia is always nice to students. Women only start getting treated as you were in your clerical job once we become professors!

    “It is the meanness of spirit in anything that makes it hard to survive.” That is spot on, very accurate and perceptive, I’ll keep it very much in mind.

  25. Also check out on my blog how lizard brain intervenes even in the nicest of circumstances — and no doubt with good intentions, too!

    Yes, I believe my dream last night was about how women are censored/discriminated against in institutions, because they are patriarchal. Last night’s dream was about how even submissive women are treated very badly. It really is a problem.


    “’But why is being a useful instrument for others purposes, whatever they happen to be, considered to be the definition of health?’

    “Well, health means conditions that keep you alive, right? If there’s an implied death threat for non-useful behavior, then usefulness would equal health.”

    Well, yes, this is my problem. Except that it’s a limited sort of health and the death threat may not be real.


    “…even submissive women are treated very badly.”
    Yes. But they are “healthy” because they accept this treatment and function with it, or when they manage to evade it.

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