Category Archives: Da Whiteman

Revista Iberoamericana, o, hoy estoy mucho mejor

Dame Eleanor Hull has returned, and it is great.

Meanwhile, here is an interesting table of contents which shows what the world was like when I undertook my first serious research project. Had I read this issue of this journal more closely then, I would be yet more intelligent now, but I was reading older things. I was not to do read anything too recent because it would be too difficult for me and being new, could be wrong in unknown ways. It could thus lead me in a bad direction, it was said.

Life, it seemed, was a series of lessons in how to limit oneself. Nowadays this is chic: learning to accept limits, realizing you have limits, becoming disabled. Earlier on, though, it had been known that those lessons in how to limit oneself were a[n antifeminist] tool of oppression. Think of Joanna Russ.

My mother was raised with expectations which she felt were oppressive, and raised me with anti-expectations. Amateurism or doing just enough to get by were the goals; I was deeply disappointing or at least incomprehensible because I was serious, or at least took an interest in things and wanted to get them done. These things are a large part of why I cannot abide the “good-enough” or the “bad first draft” cant. Other people may be perfectionists and need to tone it down, but what I always wanted in life was to work above the bare minimum, live above bare subsistence, aspire.

It is still not clear to me what is so wrong with this. When will we be allowed to do our best work?

Dulcis et decorum est per superficialitatem mori, I suppose the moral would be. You must work quickly and not challenge anything, and you are acceptable then; this exactly what I do not like.

I have also had an illumination about sleeping (you know I do not sleep, because I was taught I must feel pain and sleep deprivation is the way I achieve this). I think I am rebelling against conventionality, taking time for myself and so on, because only late at night am I completely sure I will not have to deal with people and thus will not have to be trampled upon or pulled one way and the next. But I am also participating in a  strategy of impairment, so that I will not want more than the minimum out of life; and most fundamentally it is submission to Reeducation which wanted me to find a way to feel more pain.

Perhaps if I remember that, it will be easier to renounce this practice which really feels like anorexia or an addiction.



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La méditation de cette semaine

This is my meditation for the week and I will remain true to it even though it appears that my dear, rat-tat-tat little computer is not very badly harmed. (Only two keys are still stuck, and it flickered upon rebooting but then came up just fine.)

My meditation will be about self-sabotage. I have spilled drops of tea on four keys of the good laptop, impeding their functionality. I hope this is means they need to dry deeply, or something simple — not that this is the end of the motherboard. It did not short out, and I got what data that was not backed up, off, and it is downloading updates now. Getting the data off meant having to organize some files, and this was a good thing, but regardez l’heure qu’il est, mon Dieu.

I have decided it is not an accident but a wake-up call. My ceramics teacher — two of them, actually — say I am destructive toward my work (the less perceptives ones say I am Zen, I am accepting of the fact that not every piece comes out right, but these older ladies are right). “You are not a beginner any more, Z, you must begin to take what you are doing seriously.” And this is not the first time I have done something to this, my good laptop.

And I do not procrastinate on work per se, but I procrastinate on that. And this, precisely, is how I get bogged down. One of the files I found and organized was a downloaded .pdf on procrastination from a Spanish psychology journal. It was a sophisticated study whose thesis was that procrastination was not about poor time management but about several complex forms of self-hatred.

Remember the disease I caught from Reeducation? That friend who said why are you depressed, you have so much to be happy about. And I said I know, and I am not depressed because of not having things to be happy about, I am depressed because I have caught self-hatred.

That is the meditation, and nobody gets to say I am “being too hard on myself” by saying this computer event is more than a random error. Do you remember, I am giving myself attention and centredness this Christmas? I was not joking when I said that and I think taking care about this kind of thing matters.

That computer is flickering and I think there is something happening to the motherboard. And yet not … it is starting. Weakly. We will see, but I am no longer willing to put up with this kind of event.




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Trois jours de santé

For the next three days I will work on this project and remain rational in it, no matter who I talk to or how scary that is. I will put myself first — and putting this first IS putting myself first.

For my present purposes anyone else’s irrationality is irrationality of my own that they are mirroring, and that I can talk to. I may need to talk about some difficulties I am having, without fear.

Footnote: I think Reeducation was designed for people in crisis, who were paralyzed and had nothing to do. That is why it had so many homework assignments. I do not think I actually needed them. Also: even for criminals I am not sure the daily examination of faults is quite the answer.

In any case, rejecting these ideas in ever more definitive ways is one of the things I must do to regain enough confidence to finish longer projects. There is so much I leave halfway through, not because of “poor time management” or anything mundane like that but because something new comes to shake my foundation.

This is why I am sure those people who say in their prologues that without backing and kind support, their project would never have been finished, speak truthfully.

For the next three days I will work on this project and remain rational in it, no matter who I talk to or how scary that is. I will put myself first — and putting this first IS putting myself first.



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Une des versions originelles et plus simples (de la méditation de cette semaine)

I am easily understood if one understands the reactions of abuse victims. Otherwise everything seems complicated and circular and incomprehensible and exhausting. I fear doing anything on my own behalf because I fear the destruction that will be visited upon me if I do. Acting on my own behalf means flinging myself into an irrational space where I will be powerless to escape permanent mutilation.

I need to think about the meaning of that sentence, how to counter it — because really, acting on my own behalf means entering a rational space, even the only rational space.

What immobilized me was the combination of recriminations for being research oriented, the “boundary” violations, the internalization of these recriminations, the rage at the boundary violations which I turned against myself, and the conversion of what had always been positive spaces into scenes of torture.

That was the combination of elements. But I find that abandoning self and abandoning my research projects meant that I had nothing with which to defend against those “boundary” violations, those recriminations.

They always say you have to feel better first but I think the path to that is to take self and project back. Those things, not “discipline” and “boundaries” — which come of themselves. I mean: it is because I had abandoned myself that I let crows eat the carcass.

Condensing: those research projects are mine and are my friends and will help protect me against invasive people. No: the deeper idea is that my life is mine. It always seemed to be someone else’s.


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This, concisely, was the message of Reeducation: you must be a child.

But that is not true.



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Sur Deleuze, et sur le sujet

It is time to actually read Anti-Oedipus and the discussions of it from those days, in places like this.

Here is my Vallejo problem: my issue is psychic invasion, and I have a visceral reaction to the idea of subject shattering.

“Then that is a non-liberatory, but binding, shattering,” someone said.

What is fractured subjectivity in and for Vallejo?


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On some origins of self-hatred

The child would have reacted like this or something similar if enormous anxiety hadn’t paralyzed her. These children feel physically and morally helpless. There isn’t sufficient consolidation of their personalities in order to be able to protest, even if only in thought. The overwhelming authority of the adult makes them dumb and can rob them of their senses.

“The same anxiety, however, if it reaches a certain maximum, compels them to subordinate themselves like automata to the will of the aggressor, to divine each one of his desires and to gratify these; completely oblivious of themselves, they identify with the aggressor” (Ferenczi, 1933). Through identification, he disappears as a part of external reality and becomes intra instead of extra psychic. The child succeeds in maintaining the previous situation of tenderness to the [abuser] but hates herself. She now treats herself with the same sadism previously expressed by the [abuser].

When she attacks herself for not having fought harder she is demonstrating a lack of connection with her own helpless rage and is enacting a sadistic attack on herself. They behave as if they are largely id and superego and there is little ego. Modern psychoanalytic work with trauma supports Ferenczi and finds there is “little ego” during traumatic over stimulation (Davies & Frawley, 1994). Diamond (1994) elaborates on this adaptive response to trauma.


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