Academe, Emotions, Feelings, and Posting

I've largely used this blog, when I post, as a place to mostly work, think, and reflect about technology, teaching, education, and some of the related tools. However, I'm just not able to do that anymore. A series of interesting events experiences wrangled my life, interesting in the sense of intense events, and I'm still processing them.

If you're friends with me on Facebook, then you're already familiar with this. If you're not, then this is largely new.

The long story short is that I've wearied of attempting to pretend that emotions and feelings do not exist, that they do not impact our teaching, learning, scholarship, research, etc. I refuse to pretend any longer that these things do not impact our work, that our intellect and/or reason often serve our emotions and feelings, only we cover it up with intellectual games, scams, and/or justifications. On a surface level, this should be a no brainer--this should make a great deal of sense. We make up narratives that appear to be rational so that we can conform with our culture's overall narrative that all decision making should be based on rationality and sensibility.

Well, folks, just read a bit of Marcuse or Schumacher and it becomes clear quickly that our rationality is bringing us to the brink of destruction more rapidly than we can even measure. But we don't need Marcuse or Schumacher to see and know this: just examine our lives, our alienation, our planet, and the list goes on. I'm not pessimistic about the future of the world, just like I'm not interested in wallowing in sadness or throwing eggs at the oligarchs. They do little after the first five minutes.

Over the past couple years, because of my circumstances, I've attempted to do work that was largely only of intellectual interest; there was little emotional involvement. My emotional investment was limited because I was coping--or not--with my step-son's murder and some surrounding trauma and drama. I've not completed one of those projects that was solely of intellectual interest. There are a variety of reasons why, but I've written--and will write more--about that in other places. 

My take away from all this is that rather than attempting to segregate and keep my emotional investments and feeling invested, largely, in my personal life and my intellect controlling my academic work, I need to have academic work and research that connects directly and deeply with my emotional life. How that is going to manifest, I do not know. I don't really care to worry about that at the moment.

In the meantime, though, it is comforting to know that I'll be integrating different parts of me that have each struggled for control. Why fight for one to dominate when they can harness their energy and work together? Also, why should I pretend or act as if a key part of me is not relevant.

I have little doubt that this is a no-brainer for most folks. Back when I was doing the intellectual/emotional segregation it was also a no-brainer. However, intellectually understanding something and possessing the capacity, will, or ability to actually do and embody it is another thing entirely.

Net result: my work here, and in my other research and writing, is shifting. We'll see where it goes.

Intense Dog image from Wikimedia commons