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.”
…Not tear myself apart.
I do spend a great deal of time tearing myself apart and putting myself together but that is what I learned in Reeducation. In the past it was not scary to get up in the morning but it became scary when coming to consciousness meant having to start tearing oneself apart again. Now I must animate myself each day and it takes time and energy. On the days when, upon awakening, I remember to say right away that awakening does not mean self-torture, I do not need to animate myself. And according to this one should just let negative thoughts flow through one, like weather.
I think it is one thing to do that for normal crises in confidence and certain kinds of anxiety but I find the self-image Reeducation inculcated too toxic to simply live with like that — and a lot of things I have been told need active reframing. The ACT ideas would seem to have some value, although their marketing as something that will deliver the benefits of meditation without requiring actual meditation gives me pause.
(You cannot imagine how pleasant I am in real life, you know–and how truly pleasant I would be if I took my own good advice consistently.)
FLASH: It all has to do with that project long ago, that I wanted to refuse. I did not dare and tried every form of goading to get myself to do it. And since my reasons for not doing it were not accepted (although they were very reasonable), I invented more baroque reasons, which was destructive and also distorting. But I now expect every aspect of academic work to be accompanied with this goading, this corpus of harpies and furies.
At the same time I was also losing my research time to Reeducation: I lost my self in it and my time to it as well, and I committed to that project I could not do and was not doing, so that I was enmired there, and spread too thin elsewhere since really I was working on fragments of the project that actually interested me, albeit only in a superficial way since I knew I was supposed to get back to the large project I had committed to but was not doing.
So the excessive goading, and the fragmentation, and the resistance to research since there was no time to do research on the large project, one was supposed to just write it, and since research on what I was really interested in was considered procrastination … all of these things came together, at the very same time as Reeducation told me I was not a valid person and my research identity was proof of it.
That is why I have this feeling, all the time, that a building has caved in on me from all sides: because it did. Physically whole and with my intelligence intact, I thought I should move out and restart and it is so obvious why this was a good idea. But I am here, and with this legacy which is a knot of practical problems among other things, and there are no kindred spirits, and it must all be solved in some way, and it is a tall order when you write it out.
In any case my difficulty is not lack of interest, or lack of ability to sacrifice, or any of these things people say. It is the outright torture I cannot seem to dissociate from academic work: because of having been raged at for doing it, threatened with failure at it, hated for thriving in it, raged at for wanting to make my own decisions in it, and raged at again for wanting to leave it so as to separate myself from the enraged people.
But they defeated me, and I stayed. Part of the defeat was I was now speaking terribly destructively to myself and it had become so natural I could barely see it, much less stop. And part of my self-destruction now is an attempt to say NO, it was not right, and it is not right. You kept me here and you think you saved me, so you are satisfied, but really you imprisoned me, so NO I will not calm down and live well and say that this is enough and that everything is all right.
I am interested in ACT-type ideas if they mean specific, practical training in recognizing and stopping the litany of accusations against myself that I learned to recite. I also think that, despite the fact that is true, given what happened, that I should have left academia, I should stop seeing having been pushed to stay as a full-on defeat. I may want other things as well, but this is nonetheless mine.
…and I am brought back to the beginning. There is nothing for it but not to tear oneself apart. To take authority. To place oneself at the center of one’s life. To live well. (Note: to mistreat oneself and then expect high achievement of oneself is really ridiculous, I must say; I would have laughed at the idea in the past and it is amazing that I have adopted it.) Then the fourth factor, dealing with the effects of my original primary relationship; I really think this has to be dealt with in some deep way, and that merely “living better” will not address it.
The Little Frenchman fails in his attempt to understand the Other. Indeed, he never ceases misunderstanding his role in the Tupi scheme of things or the consequences of his actions. For example, he tries to transform his status as a prisoner to be consumed into that of an equal and friend by making gunpowder for Cunhambebe. The Little Frenchman’s success, however, entirely backfires; his usefulness in war against the Tupiniquin doesn’t win him freedom, rather, it ensures his demise as a warrior powerful enough to be worth eating.
These are just notes, that I have already thought about enough, so that this post is just an aide-mémoire.
The intelligence some of us have: it is having a heightened awareness and also cognition. The people with this are the kindred spirits. We need more of them here and more need to be in charge of things.
I have decided to approach everything from the point of view of reason, which was what Reeducation would not allow, but I am not becoming merely mechanical. Is this too mechanical (there are some good ideas in it)?
It seemed that there were more things to say, that is more notes to take. There were, I could be fascinating, but they are things I appear to have thought through, donc je me tais.
There are many video and streaming activities I cannot yet make work in Linux. I must learn how and the instructions I am finding, are not working. Do you have Linux? Is there a Linux users’ group in your area?
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.