Extraits d’une lettre

“Do you mean you are going to take more of a stand, rather than remain silent? . . . I pride myself for being able to glimpse in a person that elusive quality of heightened awareness. . . . YOU ARE TRULY BRILLIANT, GOD DAMNIT. Please just admit it. . . . “

That is from someone who writes every year or two. I met him long ago when I had just started my depression; he asked why I had it and I said it was because I had contracted self-hatred from psychotherapy. We are both unmoored primordially for reasons having to with our translucent mothers, and for this reason we understand each other. Today I explained that the reason I am not at the top of my field ni mucho menos is that I am constantly trying to limit my intelligence and awareness so my mother can love me and I can survive.

It is constantly confusing to me that if you are not highly intelligent and high achieving you will not get tenure and will be thrown out on the street, while at the same time if you do have these characteristics, your mother will not love you and will throw you out on the street. I never knew which path to choose, which one would give me the longest run.

But this excruciating childhood dilemma is the reason I have wanted to get off the straight and narrow, away from atmospheres in which things had to be approved, to other atmospheres where they might simply be lost or won. I suffer with academic research and writing in my original field because for me it is about obedience, approval-seeking, and honorific writing about great men. It is definitely not exploration or learning or assertion or expression or the advancement of knowledge. These associations are what I have against it.

It is interesting to see these things. It is encouraging that do not feel the same way about the field I moved into, and that I would have moved into sooner if I had not followed (or tried to follow) the most conservative academic advice. But thinking about Vallejo — not thinking about him, but having to produce something about him — throws me into this really negative and desperate space, where I must write something meaningless and inferior to survive and at the same time, I may be exiled for writing anything at all.

Both options are so deadly and also so do not have to do with my actual life. Qui écrit? I have writing difficulty to prove to Reeducation and to my mother that I am more than a coldhearted scientist and that I therefore deserve to survive, and also because writing meaningless and inferior things for the sake of survival is such a dismal prospect. Who else can I be? In contradistinction to what my father sometimes said about what he was writing, I do not think that what I have to say is meaningless or inferior. I would also say that the idea that one is writing to survive is too much of a distraction.

“Do you mean you are going to take more of a stand, rather than remain silent? I pride myself for being able to glimpse in a person that elusive quality of heightened awareness. YOU ARE TRULY BRILLIANT, GOD DAMNIT. Please just admit it.”

Axé.

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Filed under Banes, Questions, What Is A Scholar?

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