Monday, April 16, 2007

Think harder and you'll come up with something

I just read this post on The Weblog, in which Adam Kotsko promises, as representative of the symbolic order (and his logic in claiming this position is amusing in itself), to grant people permission. To do whatever. Like, to take a nap, if you'd rather do that than read, or something.

So I was thinking a little about what kinds of clever things I would ask permission to do, if I were inclined to ask such things. But I couldn't really think of anything.

What would I want permission for? I mean honestly? Is the fact that I can't think of any questionable action on my part that I actually want to have endorsed evidence of a failure of imagination on my part? Or does it mean that, despite my periodic complaints, my life is acutely in line with what I want it to be? -Well, no, it doesn't quite mean that. A better way to put it would be that my life is organized such that anything I want to do is supported and endorsed by the rest of its structure, even if my attempts don't succeed. Right?

Or maybe I'm just not thinking hard enough. Because surely, two months ago, I would've asked for permission to quit fussing around with my introduction. And three weeks ago, I would have begged (in fact, I think I did beg, right here, and here too, for that matter) to stop preparing for my defense. So never mind. Things just happen to be in a nice state right at this moment, is all.

Addendum (25 minutes later): I obviously wrote all this without giving it any thought at all. Obviously the reason that I was having trouble thinking of anything to ask permission for is that I feel fully entitled to do whatever I want. For instance, I just spent the last twenty minutes, when I could have been reading, reviewing my conference paper, polishing my article, or getting ready for my trip doing nothing more than drinking a cup of tea and knitting. Clearly, what's going on is that I've simply moved beyond work-related guilt. And to a certain extent I think that this guilt-free existence is merited: seven years of grad school should earn you a couple of weeks, or possibly months, of freely engaging in other activities. Right?


Sisyphus said...

It's post-defense! Even after you finish celebrating, you celebrate (in a non-celebrating way) by doing whatever helps heal the dissertation trauma.

In six months, though, you're gonna need a link to that permission website.

squadratomagico said...

You have my permission to not worry about not needing permission for anything.

Love the new wallpaper, btw!

jb said...

Thanks! I thought it was time for a re-vamping.