Carl Djerassi died today. Look at his life and look at this — artist residencies we must be selected for.
I think it is interesting how he allowed himself to do so many things in life. I identify.
We were not supposed to do so many things because we were not considered talented enough and also because it was not genteel to put so much effort into life.
In my first education trying so hard was something to be ashamed of, as if you thought you were worth something, and also as if you needed the money — and as if you needed to try, were not a natural.
In Reeducation one was to be leaving off trying for things. But I am ambitious. I can so clearly see all that could be done. I think my student can get one of these residencies.
I woke up this morning very clearly aware of the reason I do not like to wake up: waking up means waking up to the university slapping me in the face and then putting me in a barrel of water and covering it, so that I will drown. I will then have to spend the rest of the day trying to get out of the barrel, which I will achieve sometime after dark. While I am in the barrel, the university will tell me how I must learn to sacrifice more. If I learn to sacrifice more, I will not be slapped around so much or put in barrels of water to drown.
Consider the opposite: is the answer that I must learn to sacrifice less?
I am so tired of this behavior and attitude of theirs, though, and I am so tired of hearing professors with good circumstances, well employed spouses, and so on, talk about how all problems are problems of “time management” or of “not knowing how to write” or of “not being serious.” And about how people in my class who left little teaching colleges saying they had not done the Ph.D. for this, were called arrogant, or considered traitors to the “profession.” It is the excoriating professors who are arrogant.
Remember that this week’s themes are conceding to power, rather, not conceding to it.
About practical life, I have said before that I am spread too thin and there is no way I have found so far to cut that down, in the circumstances I have. I do not fit in. I should be an enthusiast of second language teaching with one research interest.
But perhaps there is yet a way to time-manage the situation into submission.
Kristeva has that famous title Desire in Language but what about joy in language? Arguedas referred to himself as a “demonio feliz” speaking in Quechua and Castilian. Vallejo is a similarly happy demon, surfing seas of metaphor, watching the dance of words. Logopoeia.
This is fun to say but one cannot say it without looking into some things — reviewing Arguedas’ contexts, reviewing the possible value of reading Kristeva with Vallejo. (There are so many things I would like to study.)
Psychanalitique: there were two perceptions yesterday. One, on acquiescing to power, acquiescing to irrational power. Two and related, on the double identity. I have already talked about this and I can expand.
The third, and only apparently paradoxical point has to do with that comment upon myself as free spirit and challenging for that reason.
The days are bright. I do not remember winter light being so bright here and pale, or there being as much sun. It is colder now for longer, as well. I woke up this morning thinking that I would like to understand Adorno, now because he and Horkheimer (1972) say that “homeland is the state of having already escaped” and because this has to do with Odysseus and myth and demythologization.
I woke up this morning thinking of my old intuition that Vallejo is strange because he is partly non western, and his double location, in western civilization and outside of it, is not hybridity or mestizaje. Everyone else wants to think identity and so has to think it through Blackness or some form of Otherness to the West, but since Vallejo is not thinking identity and is not thinking from one place, his alleged mixtures work in a differerent way.
I woke up thinking about psychoanalysis, how it is fundamentally about relationships between people and those have to do with interactions. My Reeducative analyst thought I was too intellectual and therefore not a “feeling” enough person (he was basing his theories on several kinds of bad science) but interestingly, all the material he had to present was cerebral.
Do you fit this scale or that? Think about it, think about how to fit into one of these paradigms. The conundrums presented did require a great deal of thought (although at the same time they could not stand up to serious analysis). All the thought, all the effort to understand, drew attention away from the realer issue of the nature of the interaction.
Analysis like all other forms of investigation and learning is primarily kinesthetic and that is not a comment about their “style” but about their nature.
It is easily possible to live yet better. To do so, one must remember not to torture oneself (I am so trained to that that I do it automatically unless I remind myself that I can be kinder, as I have in fact ben in some eras). One must also remember that one has rights and that one’s perceptions may be right. This things are very strengthening.
The weeks in which I get depressed and frustrated are those in which I do not have time for research and writing. It is the deprivation but it is also the shame at not being able to rise above circumstances. Shame is weakening and must be combatted.
I think I am spread too thin. I say I do not work hard enough but in reality it is only that I am spread too thin. I am not sure what to do about it in the current circumstance: the things asked of me are primarily out of field and out of range of interest, and my interests and commitments are already broad. Part of the shame I feel has to do with not having been able to transform myself into someone else; the anger I feel has to do with having been asked to do that.
There was something I heard from an unexpected quarter about nation and state as separate things, or things working separately, and that I would like to reencounter. I saw a film of an anti-MOOC symposium in which a literature professor talked about the large, live lecture as a way to model close reading and to do such reading collectively. A theatre professor talked about the large lecture as theatre and the benefits of this. A psychoanalyst talked about presence, the live presence of the professor, as important, and about the pedagogical exchange as an event over which neither teacher nor student has full control.
There was a dream I had, where my mother was sleeping on the floor in my room, as all the dead women before her in our line have long done from time to time. There is the fact I was also married in that dream, to someone I would not have thought of for this and who is also long dead and many states away. I was surprised but not displeased, I remember, thinking “Well, if we did this there must have been a good reason.” I was not surprised or disturbed that my mother was sleeping on the floor.
For psychoanalysis, there is my perception that I lack self-respect much more than most people. And that I live in this state of submerged terror all the time, some people in power will come to harm me, or some further block will be put in the way of career development (which means autonomy, liberation, freedom) and that I will be too crushed to fight back.
For academia, I have realized that we were exceptionally organized and focused as undergraduates and later, graduate students. I think the reason academic advice is as it is is that it is directed to a large group of people who really did go through school without getting all the skills and focus we did, even though they became more “professionalized” than we did in certain ways. It also came to me that the presupposition in the “take a job, any job” dictum is that the candidate is a man and he will be bringing an only partly employed wife to the said job, and that she will humanize the place for him.
Mostly though, I would like to call attention to academia as an unsafe space. Not college or graduate school, in my memory, but professordom. You have to live in dangerous parts of the country, and in dangerous neighborhoods — that first of all. More serious is to work with people who have destruction uppermost in their minds and first in their hearts. Every day the question is what the legislature will do to destroy your institution, what your university will do to impede the development of your career, and how they will work to convince you it is all your fault. The feeling of precarity and instability always.