Au café

At the café we discussed our lack of focus and the disturbing agitation of the atmosphere this semester.

We decided we were not actually slackers, but that we had our energy blocked, and were “checked out” because of wanting to check out not from our work but from the disturbing atmosphere.

We decided we should become more assertive, not question ourselves, and not worry about the time we spend “checked out” — but rather, create schedules of time-slots when we would be purposefully checked in — without expecting ourselves to be inspired the rest of the time.

We realized that as we became more and more accustomed to our checked-in selves, the more we would find ourselves living in that reality. We decided we would have regular leaving-town schedules, such that we would never not know when the next time we would be in a more comfortable place for us was.

In a related development, I decided one of my mantras would be that teaching is a scholarly act. There are many reasons why, at the present juncture, this is an important thing to say.

Undeveloped notes related to the fear of teaching

– that one would always have spent too much time on it, one must constantly look over one’s shoulder to avoid being told one was spending too much time  (I in fact spend too little time, do not spend time on the right aspects of it, because I am so concerned to live up to the exhortation to spend less time … for no actually good reason; the fact is that I do know what to do)

– that for me it is one of one’s scholarly activities, not just content delivery, and I am right although the poorer teachers and students say I am wrong

– that in fact, it is my job not to feel fear in this way — it blocks me from doing the job right, so it is not just my right but also my duty to ditch the fear

– the fear that one will be teaching in an incredibly wrong style for one’s place and not see it: right. I do not see it because it is not incredibly wrong

– my general double bind: the impression that my REAL job is not to achieve, but to not achieve so as not to intimidate others; the feeling that by far the most important project is not to intimidate those who see themselves as competitors, and that all other achievements are secondary at best; in other words that mild self-destruction, not Bildung, is my real, if unspoken job (and Reeducation, which was anti-achievement, fed that)

– the way in which I seem to keep reenacting scenarios in which that double bind operates: one must exist, but must not

– feeling frightened, inadequate, defeated avant la lettre, or feeling that only with those feelings was one acceptable, or that one would not be allowed to survive if one did not assume these as core feelings; one’s job was to feel these things

– the idea that one did not really deserve it, was not really qualified, was not really real, but was only tolerated and allowed to play at being real, so long as one also harbored the feelings above — without which one would be on the street

– why does Vallejo seem to feel so strongly that he is a shadow? what was his early life really like … or did he create his persona from books, like the bluesman Robert Johnson?

– note the inadequacy of mere time management as a cure for these issues (although one can certainly assign oneself large amounts of time in which one is on vacation from them).



One thought on “Au café

  1. AHA that “checking out” is some kind of dissociation and that is why I get so irritated with Academic Advice about discipline and focus. This is an important insight and I will work with it.

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