05 March 2009

On being "influential"

I would like to comment on the word ‘influential’ in one of my testimonials, in the phrase ‘influential published work on abnormal perceptual states’. This implies that the ‘research work’ which has been done, and the books and other material which have been written, in areas nominally related to those in which I attempted to start working myself, is in some way meaningful as a consequence of it. It is true that much of it may be regarded as resulting from my initial work in the sense that it is highly unlikely that it would have been done if my work had not been published, but it was no substitute for what my colleagues and I would have done, and would still start to do as soon as not prevented from doing so by lack of financial support.

It has always been a line of academics to taunt and insult me, statusless and unsalaried as I was (and still am), by describing me as ‘free to follow my interests’.

The system of social interpretation to be followed in the oppressive society is universally known and applied. Whenever we meet or interact with potential supporters and associates, which is usually a very brief encounter and generally abortive, they may ask what we have ‘done’ or ‘are doing’, and when they can identify an area of work by name they start to tell us about rubbish that is being ‘done’ in that nominal area. We ask them to stop telling us about this, or sending us provocative and irritating reports, as we are not even in a position to publish our criticisms of it, which we would do if we were adequately rewarded with salary and status for doing so, although being able to criticise other people’s work would still be no substitute for being able to get on with what we would do ourselves if not kept rigorously deprived of opportunity.

Or else they just start to put on a phoney show of ‘fascination’ as if that was meant to ingratiate themselves with us, when they are doing nothing to contribute either money or work to our constricted position, nor to publicise our need for such things among their contacts.