On research

It does in fact take a great deal of total time, more if you do not do it every day because then time also has to go into remembering where you left off.

That means you have to have peace of mind and some degree of physical comfort, and you cannot allow yourself to be drained or tortured at work or at home.

In Maringouin I have had those problems.

I never want to have them again.


When Reeducation started, I said to it: what you want me to do is going to take my research time and my peace of mind, and that is tantamount to professional and personal suicide.

Reeducation looked at me sadly. I felt guilty then, questioning Reeducation and making it sad, so I took the plunge.

Reeducation did not take place in Maringouin, but oddly enough my Reeducator was from here. Had I known anything about Maringouin culture then, I would have understood much better what the Reeducator was saying and why.


This succumbing to Reeducation was only possible, though, because I was at my own impasse. According to my training, research must be original but also obedient. Others might make groundbreaking discoveries, but they were few. My much more modest, and my only realistic goal should be to say acceptable things, I had been told.

In those days, too, at home, to share a view of one’s own was to risk extreme violence. One only did so when one could no longer resist. The degree of anger one felt by then, and of fear at what one was about to do, were excruciating.

I associated voicing my views with feeling those kinds of exhausting pain. It was a degree of pain that interdicted coherent and sustained work. And Reeducation said that the ability to concentrate on a project was not that, but was “obsession.”

I stopped writing for public consumption because it was important not to hurt Reeducation or the family by being my own person, and also in rebellion against doing as I was told, staying on the straight and narrow, and being good. Mostly, though, it was because of the blood rushing in my head: the feeling that I would be killed for saying what I had to say, on the one hand, and on the other, the belief that in order to say it, I would have to be in a killing mood.


But: research with writing takes time, it needs attention every day, and for this to happen one must protect oneself from all forms of torture.

In Reeducation we were to let pain in, so as to show we had feelings — which we were accused of not having because we were competent people and able to use logic. Had it not been for the requirement to show “feelings” — to feel deep pain and show it — I would have advised rejecting unnecessary pain and rebuffing its causes. This is what I propose to do now.

I keep forgetting that there is interest in my views. I have a right to them, which I also forget; the other thing, though, is that there is interest in them.


5 thoughts on “On research

  1. Do you think the thought patterns alluded to in this post indicate that I am a survivor of verbal and emotional abuse?

  2. (I keep having to remind myself that there is nothing to be afraid of any more. It was during Reeducation I became so *very* afraid.)

  3. I am not surprised! You would have to reread the whole blog, understand the codeword “Reeducation,” figure out why I am oppressed by standard academic advice, and so on. The logic of Reeducation, and the various other forms of patriarchal oppression I have this blog to try to extricate myself from, is so convoluted and odd that it is very hard to follow.

    The blog is in large part about being too oppressed to speak by the very logic of a profession where giving voice to one’s original thoughts is required. I am confused by this, so I am not surprised if you are.

    1. Z,

      Felt curious and read some of your first posts on Reeducation. Life has traveled from and through a different context for me and can’t follow too well your journey. Yet, I understand it must have been a challenging one. Let’s say that I myself am getting over the “Reeducation world”. It might not be an uncommon pathway towards human fulfillment (if such reality do exist). A new reason to celebrate

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