Why do I rebel against everything that I do? I really thought that I wanted this. I thought that it was one of the best things to have ever happened to me. Why is it that I cannot shake this feeling that I am trapped within a cage of my own design, as if it makes any sense at all to do everything in my power to ensure that this cage is secure, locked tight, with no possibility of escape? Why this resentment, persisting for weeks now, towards what I am currently doing?
The pleasure and fulfilment that I derive from this PhD fall through the cracks of my fingers like water. Is it a fundamental lack of fit, or a consequence of the perpetual restlessness that dwells deep within me? Would I be happier if I had chosen differently - chosen, that is, what I am really passionate about? Or would I have got bored of that, too?
I am really struggling with this. The only thing that's keeping me going is my stubborn refusal to admit defeat, as if it were a matter of pride that I come out of this unscathed; as if, indeed, I am at war with the PhD. I don't want to be defeated by...what, exactly? The external standards of the academy that I can't live up to? But I don't think that I can't live up to them; I just can't get the motivation back. And so there is no enemy without, just the one within.
I am trying, I am not trying hard enough, I must try harder, this has to work, there is no Plan B. There is no Plan B. I will not be defeated.
Related to that: I do not like to be told that my work lacks substance. My desire to prove a point, to prove a naysayer wrong, is more of a motivating factor than my desire for intellectual rigour and/or the pursuit of truth. It seems to me that this is yet another sign that I may not have chosen the right career path.
But then again, if I am always bored, or if I always get bored after some time, does it not follow that there is no one 'right' career path?
Does it not follow, indeed, that there is no 'right' anything? That is, there is only what makes sense, what appeals to me, in the moment, with 'moment' being synonymous with 'the present', which lasts for as long as the intrigue of the present thing has before its shine wears off. There have only been three constants of my life over the past decade: family, my closest friends, and my love for literature and writing. Everything else has come and gone, including, apparently, my intellectual curiosity.
I don't know. I rebel against everything that I do - everything that hasn't been literature or writing, everything that continues to be an extension of the law degree that I made myself take.
But this is just whiny, indulgent shit, is it not? Raffael asked today, 'Why don't you write?' That's the question that I have been asking myself for years. What the hell am I doing?
All of this is self-inflicted. There is no point in writing about it. I am not writing what I ought to be writing, and I am not writing consistently what I have to write.
I am sick of myself.
On another note: I attended a Women in Philosophy conference. I had the feeling that I was the only person in the room who couldn't understand what was 'gendered' about academic hiring committees wanting to hire someone who is 'a rock star', a 'superstar', a 'high flier'. Insofar as these descriptions are referential of the type of academic that is favoured in an already sexist academy, then I can understand that they are 'gendered' by association. But how are they 'gendered' per se? I know plenty of high fliers who are women.
I had the feeling, too, that I was the only person in the room who was stunned by the suggestion that female undergrads are somehow robbed of role models and disadvantaged if they go through the first four weeks of the first term lectured only by men. I understand the point about including women philosophers in reading lists; the canon, so to speak, in whatever philosophical field is heavily skewed in favour of men, which is a result of the deeply entrenched sexism of, well, the entire history of the human race. So it is necessary to give women philosophers their due recognition by teaching their works to undergraduates. This is perfectly sensible.
But the suggestion that it is 'sexist' for undergrads to be taught by men and not women simply makes no sense to me. What if it were a logistical issue? What if a female lecturer doesn't want to lecture a particular subject because it's outside of her research area?
It was a really strange conference. I liked the first talk about women philosophers in Cambridge in the 1920s, but the sessions in the afternoon were just bizarre. What was more bizarre was how seemingly common sensical some things were. I was confounded.
I need to sleep.