29 January 2008

My work has no relation to my interests

Copy of a letter to a philosophy professor

While the standard ways of interpreting things in the modern oppressive ideology decree that a person who has been deprived of a career and has no way of earning money or drawing ‘social security’ is not to be regarded as being prevented from using their ability in a productive way, and that anything they may manage to do is supposed to correspond exactly to their most passionate interest, I should like to point out that actually I have never been able to do anything meaningful since being thrown out of Oxford University without a single usable degree fifty years ago.

This is not, realistically, surprising as I have never had even a one-person salary with which to support myself and provide myself with the institutional environment which is absolutely necessary to me.

So why should anything I have managed to squeeze out be regarded as any indication of what I would have been doing if not totally deprived of financial support? Why, without money, should one be expected to be able to do anything at all? That I have produced anything at all is a tribute to my exceptional ability and extreme determination, and should (in a non-oppressive society) be regarded as a reason why I should not continue to be kept absolutely deprived of opportunity by lack of a salary and status.

Everything I have squeezed out, including the DPhil thesis, bore no relation to what I should have liked to be doing but was an application for readmission to the ranks of the salaried and statusful. The choice of material both in psychology and philosophy was determined under duress and the work was carried out in oppressive circumstances.

There is absolutely no way in which I have ever been free to ‘follow my interests’ or derive gratification from expressing my views or ‘sharing my ideas’ in my ignored publications.
The only one of my books that could be regarded as an expression of anything I might want to say just because I thought it was the case, was The Human Evasion and I wrote that only because I was still under extreme duress (six years after being thrown out) and unable to do anything. I had had no intention of writing about my psychological ideas.

I had not intended to use my psychological ideas in any way except that of facilitating my own productivity. I thought that my understanding of centralised psychology would make it possible for me to be very happy and productive as soon as I got back to the circumstances necessary for an academically and intellectually productive life. But in fact the goal of re-entry to a university career at a suitable level of seniority or, indeed, any level, was no nearer, in fact receding; and my energy level was declining in boredom.

So I thought that I should write at least something based on my memories of centralised psychology before they became too inaccessible. I thought that The Human Evasion might get me established as a writer, whose book-sales might make up for my lack of an academic salary and enable me to do research work of some kind that might be regarded as establishing a claim to reinstatement as an academic.