"In many disciplines, for the majority of graduates, the Ph.D. indicates the logical conclusion of an academic career." Marc Bousquet

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Synechdoche: A Saturday Afternoon in the Park

That's me in the park yesterday. In years past, I would've had a book with me, or two or three, even if I didn't feel like reading. My feet and legs did their thing, walked me along, exercised themselves. My head was somewhere else. And then I'd find a bench or a stump or a rock or a patch of grass and pretend I cared more about the world of words.

Yesterday, I noticed the spiderwebs lacing through the greenery. Gossamer everywhere. I'm sure they've always been there, but I never noticed before. And I looked up, too:

I haven't figured out yet how to reconcile the parts -- body/mind, feeling/thinking, interior/exterior, life/work, eyes-that-read/ears-that-listen/hands-that-write (or is it type?), scholar/secretary/seeker, desirer/consumer/digester, perfectionist/lunatic/lazy fool.

Every day, some other part stands in for the whole.

Academe never seemed like the best place to reconcile them. Academe privileges a certain kind of sense making, but it isn't the only kind or necessarily the best way of making sense of lives that extend beyond the mind -- or beyond the rational capacities of the mind.

But, being a secretary, there isn't really any sense making at all, not as a thing one does day-to-day -- there's order and routine, but those aren't the same. It's hard to imagine anyone living all through a life without ever trying to make sense of things, but I fear that's the part I'm playing for the time being.

Parts -- maybe the whole is always only ever in the parts while we live. As we go through our lives, we assimilate the parts, exchanging one self for another, one truth for another, along a contimuum that engages and disengages -- experiencing and expressing always through synechdoche.

We are whole when we die.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, when I was a good academic was when I was totally capable of spacing out. I'd spend hours at the beach / pool / woods doing nothing. People called me decadent, sinful even, didn't understand how I got so much done otherwise, but I felt whole and it's nice to rest your mind.