Category Archives: Banes


I think much of my depression and disorientation came from giving up my research focus and rhythm. Research and writing give focus and order to the day and I had always had them. I gave up a great piece of myself — more than that, I renounced most of myself — and there was no good reason for it.

I really do not like only working when there is some sort of deadline, which is the mode I fell into when I gave up focus and rhythm.

I really like only teaching two real classes, as I am now. It makes all the difference. I feel as though I am still repeating old errors, on the one hand. On the other it seems as though that era could be ending. With it ends the era of dreaming of other things, so this juncture is both happy and sad.

Also today, there is someone I envy. Envy is not an emotion I normally have. But I am envious of one who did not self-destruct. And was willing to step on people. And is now happy and admired. If I had psychoanalysis I would look at this, because it is a point of pain.


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That academic allergy

Working in a profession which you have been shamed for having and where you have also been shamed for being competent, and which you have in addition been shamed for being willing to consider as one option among many.

This multiple shame factor is so great as to be paralyzing and the time I spend fighting it is not “procrastination”. I have a nice psychologist with cognitive behavioral and “mindfulness” training and a good Ph.D. He points out that the lost time is a source of anxiety and that it augments pain, and these things are true. Yet that is where some time has to go as long as I am shackled in the way I am. What he does not see is that that pain, no matter how bad it is, is nothing compared to what it is to walk into the space of multiple shaming unprepared and unprotected.

Decades now trying to recover from Reeducation in the recommended ways. What others think will be “too painful” is something else.

[P]eople are attacking the minutiae because addressing the global stuff is too heavy. Or it might be too painful to recognize the structures of abuse and ill health that are dominating one’s life right now.

That is interesting because what I find more painful and also time-consuming is finding ways not to address the “global stuff,” or finding ways to conform to or compromise with those (practitioners) who think it would be too painful. I am clearly in a minority, wanting to get to the heart of things and move on.

I had a conversation with a colleague tonight who thought the administration was not being demoralizing intentionally. I said yes it is; it is just trying–and apparently succeeding, in your case–to convince you that it wants to improve morale. It wants to improve your morale as an employee, not as a faculty member.



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So many people are so mechanistic, and so superficial (and such blowhards)

This article, which I got from Clarissa, misses the point once again. Of course it is good to get up and do things, including when you think you do not feel like it or find it difficult to begin. This fact has never been in question. Neither has the idea that you should work on your project every day.

I remember a discussion about mood and work I had in graduate school. It was a beautiful day and I wanted to spend some time outdoors, for the sake of the beauty but also because it would be good for work. The other graduate student said: “But it is nice indoors, as well.” WRONG … you should not repress doing what will be good for you.

I said yes, it is nice indoors, but I am tired and the outdoors will refresh me, which I need in general, but especially because I want to do 2.5 hours of work today. The other graduate student said: “But are you in a state to even think about doing work today?”

She was right if she was talking about taking a day off if you are really not in a state to do work but that was not the situation on that day. This was the first time I had ever heard of making one’s mood an excuse for not working, or having it be a block, and the concept seemed so foreign and also unnecessary.

It is of course true that the difficulty starting work, or bogging down in a project, is painful and the pain and difficulties compound, making things more and more difficult. “Just starting” can sometimes help with this although the “loop” is hard to cut once it has formed. Advice on how to do things is also good for people who do not start because they do not have instructions or know how to generate them.

This is of course not good for trauma. The usual advice, such as “write before you are ‘ready’,” does not work if not being ready means you have insufficient access to self. It is even counterproductive; in my case it means I bog down.

On starting immediately: I still do start immediately and my project is, first, to shed my public role and return to myself, and next, to start excavating the hidden self that used to do and to some extent still does a certain kind of work.




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Comment écrire

The way to write is to write 2.5 hours in the morning and do things that strengthen you the rest of the time.

But those are just practicalities. At a deeper level, you have to fill the project with yourself, as Proust might have said, and pull it onto your ground.

I find myself unable to work efficiently on Vallejo because I withdraw. I withdraw because I feel I am being crushed by the mountain of work on him that I am not interested in, but should theoretically control and address when I would much rather read him alongside other things. Outside as well are the shouting voices of various supervisors telling me to write more and faster (from an era when in fact I was writing more and faster than they, I must point out).

Now that I see the reason my mind seems to scramble is withdrawal, I may be able to improve the situation. The other thing I notice is that I do not seem to think Vallejo projects are my friends. Vallejo materials only seem friendly when I look at them as an amateur or fellow traveler. I find I must keep reminding myself that even at a professional level, they are my friends. This is somewhat odd, I find, but it is true.



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The mistreatment

It is like self-injury, or is self-injury. It has been happening since Reeducation said (or seemed to say, or communicated) I did not deserve to be enjoying life as I was, to be in as good health as I was or to have achieved the things I had.

I should stop following any Reeducated recommendations.

I should also give myself credit: I am working on something now that throws almost my whole life in my face. I could: give myself credit for this on the one hand, and on the other remember that objectively, it is just a little project.

I feel healed now.

But the mistreatment has a payoff, namely, that one gets to become ill, and to recover. (That is as though one only deserved a nice day as compensation for suffering. It also means one is convalescing instead of living well. The cycle is: self-injure, convalesce, repeat.)

That means it is a strategy for hobbling. And I would love to see what I would be like, and what my life would be like, unhobbled. But on the other hand: if I were only self-injuring moderately, I would not notice it and others would not, but I would still be undermining myself. It is almost as though I had magnified the phenomenon so as to be able to see what it is.

The destructive aspect of being ill and recovering: one does not get to do the things one could do if well.

The constructive aspect: one gets some time to think, time to see what underlies, and time off the straight and narrow (because otherwise one is doing what one should and what is correct and practical … since what one wants does not appear to available or attainable …).

The straight and narrow path I seem to be rejecting by engaging in self-harm: doing as one is told.

What I would like: not more obedience but rather, the vista of life unhobbled, life without self-harm.

My problem, still, is still about granting myself authority of any kind, and allowing myself to be at the center of my own life.

Why do I engage in self-harm? So that my mother will love me. Which I need her to do since I need her shelter.

But my mother is dead.

I must reoccupy good living. When I used to live well, treat myself well, enjoy life, be good to myself, do things during the day that advanced me, it was not because I was on the straight and narrow but because I was on the path of pleasure.

I would like to see what life is like without this. Not just a few days — I do manage that often enough — but months on end.

Yet it still feels as though Reeducation had killed the person who did so many beautiful things, the subject of those acts.

But one of my friends signs all correspondence, “Onward.”


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Notes on things I agree and disagree with

Pace Reeducation, passing emotions are not necessarily, yea most likely not “the real you” (if such a thing exists), and they are certainly not more valid than more lasting feelings or considered views. And considered views, for their part, are not merely things one has been taught to believe — they are considered views, noget helt andet.

The idea that one should identify only with passing emotions and consider “false” anything more lasting or more thought-out will, if applied seriously, eradicate the sense of self.

I am not one of those who says “work” is less important than “life,” but I do think quality of life has to come before everything.

Research is what makes academic work run. It is what makes it interesting, and it is what gives you the feeling of progress and change, but it is also what makes everything else possible.

However, the idea that you should sacrifice quality of life for the sake of a research field is pernicious and it also fails: you must maintain the person who does the research.

Repetitions: the things that keep happening to me, and that dog me, always have to do with not countering or not having countered various forms of abuse or oppression enough. With having internalized them, and then struggling with them. With remaining silent.

The question is not how one is “dysfunctioning,” or how one is victimized, but how to maintain integrity. (That, integrity, is one of the main topics in this weblog from time immemorial, as we know.)

I need daily support on these matters so this post and list will serve for that. I also think academic work has to be approached from the point of view of reason. That should be obvious but is not if you work in a heavily politicized hall of mirrors and have had the supremely  anti-intellectual Reeducative program following you.

If you allow yourself to make use of reason, and I do not mean false reason, then you can be calm. And for me calm is the most important thing: academic work became so fraught when so many extraneous things were transferred onto it. Formerly I would have said it was unwise not to remain in good shape to work, and to transfer extraneous things onto it. I would have said those things would make progress unlikely, and should not be done.



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Terra estrangeira: a minha vida vai mudar

I am going to change my life. A goal is not to fall into destructive patterns of thought as much, so I do not have to spend as much time arguing against them on this weblog.

A thought on this: the problem with much US psychotherapy is that it makes certain erroneous assumptions, to wit:

a) you are here as a last resort: something terrible has just happened, whether you recognize it or not; or
b) you are massively “dysfunctioning” and need to be forced to recognize this, like a crime suspect forced to confess; or
c) you are having a major or minor crisis and are only interested in being “stabilized;” ord) you only want to vent, not to explore or change.

For me, of course, all of these options are traumatizing because the message is: I do not believe you, and I will not actually listen to you. That naturally drives someone who does not fit the four possible categories to a greater level of pain, as it, most likely, replicates precisely the events that led them to consult this industry in the first place. The slightly better, common assumption is

e) you are so frozen and encrusted in your neuroses that you can only progress very, very slowly and delicately. This may be true for some, but as a best option it is not good enough.

What do you think?



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