Saturday, June 25, 2011

to be or not to be

Today I started reading Bateson's Steps to an ecology of mind and the first paragraph hit me so hard that I'm sure my heart skipped a beat or two and I froze in front of the computer unable to continue reading. So I decided to write about my reaction instead. 
"Some men seem able to go on working steadily with little success and no reassurance from outside. I am not one of these. I have needed to know that somebody else believed that my work had promise and direction, and I have often been surprised that others had faith in me when I had very little in myself. I have, at times, even tried to shrug off the responsibility which their continued faith imposed on me by thinking, “But they don’t really know what I am doing. How can they know when I myself do not?”"
This is a time that I feel quite lost in my thinking and I keep questioning the utility and feasibility of what I want to do for my dissertation. I oscillate between thinking 'What is the point? Who cares? So what? Is it worth the trouble?' on the one hand and 'This is what I want to do and it does not matter if I fail. I just have to do this no matter what' on the other. I know very well that that reassurance and validation I need so badly right now is never going to come. If I insist on protecting and nourishing this seed of an idea, I will have to stand alone. And I'm pretty sure that it is going to cost me dearly.
Ah, that well trodden road looks so tempting...beautiful...elegant...easy.
Then I turn the other way with great effort to look at the other no path is an overstatement, I mean that chaos and darkness and then a soft enchanting melody calls my name from the depths of that jungle. It embraces me with promises of self-fulfillment, challenge, adventure, and intellectual stimulation. Ah, how can I resist that excitement of being a seeker in an uncharted territory.

Darn! If only it was not so lonely. All I can see is ghosts of people who are long dead or some writings, no real person to be seen. I know no one who can hear the melody I want to dance to. People are hell, that's true but their absence is hell too. The question is then 'Can I do it alone? Do I have what it takes to walk alone in the darkness? Then a soft, mild voice asks me "Has there ever been anyone?" How can a statement be so hurtful and hopeful at the same time? Let me end on a more positive note. Maybe but just maybe there are other people, I just have not met them yet. Please write a comment or email if the idea of an ecological approach to second language writing makes you excited. The most likely response is complete silence but I guess I want to believe ^_^


  1. "I am alone here in my own mind. There is no map and there is no road. It is one of a kind just as yours is."
    Anne Sexton

  2. Well, I guess it's true. It's quite cognitivist but still... Anyway, I hope I can find the courage to do this without validation. We'll see.