I almost never feel autonomous, but I sometimes feel peaceful. Sometimes I can see what autonomy and peace would be like together; they look good.
As a younger person I knew neither was meant for me, but I admired them and I was surprised one day long ago when it seemed I had them on firm loan. If you surrounded yourself with people who liked themselves and allowed themselves to enjoy life, you would find that they lent you autonomy and peace, I learned.
Later as professors, and then in Reeducation, we had to renounce both. We were now flawed clients seeking favor and without right to autonomy or peace–or reason or joy, of course. I used to have to leave the country to come into contact with these things, but I wonder whether I can conjure them, create them, here, now.
I also wonder whether, when my friend said I clearly did not like academia and I said I just did not like my job, I actually meant I did not mind academia. Perhaps it was that I did not yet know what it was to like something.