Friday, September 11, 2015

Assigned Reading?

When I first saw the title, I thought maybe some of us (i.e. those among us with tenure) should consider assigning this book to our students.  But having read the full review/interview, I'm thinking maybe we should just read it ourselves, and perhaps take some comfort. Flava:

Profanity is a source of comfort, clarity, and strength. . .It helps to express anger without blame, to be tough in the face of pain.
 +  +  +  +  +
It’s sort of an axiom of cognitive therapy that when you're unhappy, your thoughts are going to be negative and self-critical. You're going to wonder what you did wrong, what you could have done and should have done.
Part of it is going through a cognitive exercise and really trying to determine, “Did I do a good enough job?” Because if I did, I'm going to shut this investigation down. I know I will never be fully satisfied with how I behaved, but if I go through an investigation and try to look at it rationally, and with friends and be open about it, and I think I’ve done a good enough job, I'm going to try to take a stand on that. Much as I would have if I just went through either a legal or workplace investigation of something that didn’t go right.
You assume that your feelings are going to tell you, since you’re unhappy, that you did something wrong. But that if you can do an inventory based on your own values, you're really doing a good job. And you’re doing a good job in spite of the fact that you’re miserable. That deserves higher praise. I think that’s sort of a basic paradox—that to live with pain and still be a decent person and make a living is a much higher achievement. It’s what you do when you’re not happy that’s so telling.
So maybe we're not doing so badly after all?


  1. Thanks for this, Cassandra!

    "doing a good job in spite of the fact that you’re miserable"
    That could be CM's mission statement.

    1. Isn't that a bit Pollyanna-ish? If this is as good as we can possibly aspire to get, what stops me from putting a loaded pistol in my mouth and pulling the trigger?

      I do agree with the sentiment, "INTERCOURSE feelings!" Working in a physics department in California can be curious. From the beginning I've often been accused of being insensitive to students' feelings. I guarantee their feelings will be much worse if a bridge collapses because of their erroneous design when someone drives a car over it.

    2. They'll just blame it on the damn car.