30 April 2007

Workers relieving the imprisonment

copy of a letter

Well, to express my own position, I have always found it stressful and somewhat damaging to have to work with people who have some version of the normal worldview, which means they are antagonistic to us, and especially to me, because while other people here also suffer from our very bad social position, it may be less clear to them exactly why.

It has always been very clear to me from the time I was thrown out what I need to have in life and what I was suffering in being deprived of it. When we interact with outsiders we are always having to appear to accept their implicit assertion of social interpretations, i.e. that they only help us at all within social parameters, we are to be treated as less important and less to be worked for than socially set up institutions, etc.

Well, actually, it has been and still is pretty terrible for me. People sometimes say I shouldn’t complain of the ruin inflicted on my life by the ruined ‘education’. I’m still alive, they say.
I suppose imprisonment is a fairly good parallel as a situation in which one stays physically alive but is deprived of all other functions, and there are many examples in history of the imprisoned going out of their minds with the intensity of the claustrophobia and sensory deprivation (cf. A Tale of Two Cities).

Sensory deprivation is known to cause people intense distress and an urgent need to get out of it. On account of my IQ and channel capacity I am really seriously deprived without an extraordinary quantity of intellectual processing. Without it I am forced to remain on a painfully low energy level, although that may not seem out of the way by other people’s standards.

I need to be running at least one research department producing several streams of information so there is enough to think about, and, of course, in the living conditions of a residential college (hotel environment )so that I never have to break off the continuous scanning function. If this were going on, it might not be interrupted by a good many academic activities, such as university teaching, but it is interrupted, very painfully, by interacting with physical objects in ways that require concentration, or with other people, when you have to pay attention to their intractable psychologies, such as teaching in schools or working in offices.

I have a need for uninterrupted continuity when my mind is working at all, and in fact all the channels go on working continuously. People at Somerville commented on the way I would come up with an observation on something that had cropped up some time before, all the intervening conversation having been about other things, and they would realise I had been thinking about it all the time the other conversation had been going on.

Actually it takes me a lot of psychological ingenuity and memories of a higher level to remain reasonably functional and apparently tolerant of my position. It has been a long time since we got a new person and it seems increasingly difficult to get workers, perhaps because it is now much clearer that we are not a bunch of drop-out ‘enthusiasts’ who like living like this.

Now it has been so long since we got anything like a break that I don’t know whether I could, or how well I could, tolerate anyone working here other than full-time, as if they accepted the desperate urgency of our need, even if they don’t.

My only hope in life was to get on with taking exams young before people noticed and could mess it up. I used to say to my mother, ‘You should have made sure I took as many exams as possible as young as possible’, and she would say, ‘Oh, but people would have hated you.’ ‘They hate me anyway,’ I would say, ‘and I would rather be hated for having what I want than hated for still wanting it when I have been deprived of it and need their help in getting it back.’