19 March 2007

A cruel pretence

(copy of a letter)

There is a very cruel pretence that the outcast professor is not suffering from being deprived of an institutional (hotel) environment and social recognition as a leading intellectual, i.e. as a person with a salaried and prestigious Professorship.

When I was thrown out fifty years ago I accepted that there was a brick wall in front of me and that all I could do was scrape at it, trying to make a tunnel through it. Everyone promoted the cruel fiction that I was being ‘free to follow my interests’. This was the worst possible slander of someone in my terrible position, because it represented me as not needing help (and I don’t mean ‘help’ in the form of counselling) in the form of money and people and support in getting money and people.

How do you suppose it feels, after fifty years of totally unrewarding toil in bad circumstances, trying to work towards an institutional (hotel) environment and an Oxbridge Professorship, to be told by a philosopher at Somerville that if I got back onto a salaried career track that could lead to a Professorship, I would be ‘less free’! The most violent possible rejection of all that constitutes one’s individuality. The most violent insult possible to add to grievous injury. And she, and all at Somerville, have slandered and even libelled me in this terrible way.

There should be recognition of this as a criminal act with a legal penalty. A suitable penalty would be that she should be condemned to come and work in my incipient and downtrodden independent university doing whatever she can most usefully do, probably filling in with the domestic and menial tasks, from the lack of staff to do which I am always suffering grievously. Also she should forfeit all her assets to contribute towards the funding which I need to build up the capital endowment of my university, which is still too painfully squeezed for me to be able to make use of my ability to do anything, let alone to function at an adequate energy level.