05 January 2007

Fathers and agents of the collective

(copy of a letter)

Well, I am as always grateful for the chance to see you, and as usual I am reminded of things I need to emphasise when writing for publication. The way your mind works continues to amaze me, although I know it is just like everybody else’s.

Everyone always focuses attention on conflicts with parents, while exonerating or making light of the hostility of agents of the collective. I have (and had at the time) no doubt that my parents’ remarkable treatment of me after the disastrous degree exam was really an expression of the hostility of the educational system - the latter seeing the situation as giving free rein to its wish to tear and rend me, only (as previously) they remained invisible and distant, using my parents as their channel of communication.

I blame the Essex education authority, Somerville and the educational system in general for destroying, not only my career prospects, but my relationship with my parents and the lives of my parents. It was, I thought, like pouring corrosive acid down a metal pipe. It reaches its target at the other end all right, but the pipe is itself damaged in the process. It should be possible to sue for very large financial damages, and the fact that it is not is a clear indication of the oppressiveness of modern society.

When my father ran from door to door blocking my exit I have no doubt he was implementing the ideas of the Essex Authority on how I should be treated. ‘She needs to learn that she can’t have everything she wants just when she wants it,’ had been quoted to me after one of his conversations with local people. My father was rigorous in his paternalistic concealments, and if he quoted anything to me from the outside world it meant that he wanted it to influence me.

The agents of the educational system were totally ruthless towards me (in the sense of merciless, although 'ruthless' is usually used in commercial contexts, where it is in fact less unmanageable). My parents were more ambivalent towards me, and would have treated me okay if they had not been told not to. As it was, although they had jealousies of their own that could be played on, my parents had a marginal sympathy with me, and their normal personalities broke down under the stress of being required to 'execute' their own offspring.

Rather like Abraham having to sacrifice Isaac really, especially as the concept of God is so close to that of Society in ‘normal’ psychology.