H

I am now in Houston where it is beautiful and I feel almost like a whole person with full human rights. Houston is a big city and it has several good radio stations, and I feel that I am a strong flame among many others, which I really like. I will masquerade as a real person for two days, and hope to bring that feeling home with me. I am still un-depressed, but I have so much pain and grief stacked in me and so much of life is so constrained.

In psychotherapy, which was one aspect of Reeducation,  we learned self-destruction according to certain rules I have explained many times. My initial question on this was, what was the use of it? We would get gold stars for “not being in denial about ourselves,” for having (negative) feelings (happy or postive feelings were “coping mechanisms” and forms of denial), and for self-criticism, but who besides the therapist would benefit from this, and how many others, such as people who might need us to be happy and strong, would lose? I am now posing this question again, what is the use of it?

Two of the ideas that haunt me, and that I would like to shed right now, are that my college degree is not valid and my graduate degrees are too real. My college degree is not valid because I did not work my way through a state school or receive scholarship funding to an Ivy or a SLAC; those possibilities, with a more traditional college life attached, would have meant my degree was real. I went to a low-state flagship and my aunt paid for it, and I emphasized taking advanced courses and getting good grades. So I did not fund college myself, and I did not do enough of the traditional college things, and my grades were too high, so my degree is not real and I should be ashamed. On the other hand, my graduate degrees are too real, too high quality. They constitute a kind of theft because I am not someone who should have been able to get such degrees, someone else should have gotten them, and they make people who do not have them feel inadequate even though that was never my intention. I have written them down and crossed them out, so I hope this action rids me of these ideas.

Two ideas I am unable to take seriously is that if professors resigned their jobs the unemployed Ph.Ds and adjuncts would get onto the tenure track — and that it is our moral imperative to try this.

Originally I started this weblog to post beautiful things, to lift the gris-gris from the day. It was my amusement at five o’clock, to lift my spirits and change atmospheres coming home. Then I started to use it to throw light on my shadows, and this has been useful, but I do not wish to turn it into an abyss and stare at that. Friday is Oxalá’s day, and I may start invoking Legba each morning. I am tired of Protestantism and time management and discipline, and tired of Catholic martyrdom, and I want to flow through life with the support of the many gods, in all the heavens.

Axé.

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7 responses to “H

  1. ” I want to flow through life with the support of the many gods, in all the heavens.” Beautiful! May they find you in Houston, and follow you home.

    Who (besides you, just now, in this post) is arguing that professors have a moral imperative to quit their jobs so they can be filled with underemployed Ph.D’s or adjuncts? I ask because I pay attention to a lot of adjunct-agitation and I don’t actually hear anyone advocating this particular solution to any crisis in higher ed. Am I missing something–or is it that you’re resisting your own urge to internalize a problem that you didn’t make and aren’t responsible for?

    You pose a question here: “what was the use of it?” to which my only (non) answer is “wow, you must have had a really shitty therapist.” I guess you’ve blogged about that before but…wow.

    • Z

      Hi! The Schuman acolytes imagine that if tenure were abolished, they would have jobs, and/or that if we walked out, the adjunct crisis would be relieved. There is that strike at UIC but no individual action would work. I am also speaking, I guess, to all that one is supposed to sacrifice to assistant professors: in my 21st century experience, what they want and think it is their right to demand in terms of sacrifice from tenured faculty (“go quixotically up against the fulls for me, it is your role since you have tenure-privilege!”) has been breathtaking.

      Therapist, was on some kind of primitive Christian model and I was not familiar so did not recognize it. 1. You must have done something bad and be hiding it. 2. You must have deadened feelings. 3. If you deny points 1 and 2 you are “in denial” and must “get honest.” Of course none of these things were said directly, it was more masked. Also, incredibly negative counter-transference. He was from the area where I now work, so I now understand the culture he came from.

      • Wogglebug

        I wish to point out that Schuman herself said no such thing. The point she keeps making is that there are not enough tenure lines to go around.

        If all the tenured professors quit, leaving their jobs open, and the universities hired other people to fill those positions, the former professors would become part of the unemployed pool and there would be no net change.

        –Did in comments, though, and keeps advocating higher teaching loads; often seems to feel tenure track or tenured confers situations you only get in the fanciest universities in the country, although corrects that. I feel about some in this crowd as some do about Occupy: they would utterly support status quo if they had been among those who got jobs. This does not mean I am for adjunctification, or for exploitation, etc. I just mean, based on what they have to say I would not expect this crowd to show much solidarity with anything, and if they ever sign union cards I will be impressed. I like Bosquet and I was a union organizer in academia before these people were in graduate school, and the focus I see in this particular crowd is more on the question of how to get enough information to be able to strategize perfectly to get a job (e.g. how to conform more perfectly and control an irrational situation). I also note that there is a lot of “lets blow up the institution if it does not serve us” in place of deeper look. I think some of them are actually hand in glove with the educrats who are turning everyone into mere “teachers.” But these are just my intutions. –Z

      • W/r/t comments to Wogglebug: yes, I see what you mean. I’m particularly struck by the dissonance in adjunct conversations about alt-ac. when the topic suddenly turns from “how bloated admin is part of everything wrong with higher ed” to “how adjuncts can best position themselves to benefit from administrative bloat by getting alt-ac jobs” (a hypocrisy of which I, too, may be guilty).

  2. At the memorial service we went to today, the preacher said, “Grief is the price of love. There is no love without grief and suffering.” To me, this sounded like a slogan of totalitarianism. So yes, there is obviously a whole subculture around this idea that if you are not suffering all the time, you need to start right now.

  3. Z

    @Good Enough Professor, above, yes. It is really weird how this adjunct crisis and the adminstrative bloat go together … and de-researchify the university.

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