Pedagogy


I've been anxious all night -- I can't examine this anxiety, but I know it's the result of dissatisfaction -- questioning what I'm doing in this place and in these classes -- and wondering how it might be different.

I keep thinking of Lucy Snowe -- her craving cries -- and of Darley's picture of Justine -- She was a walking abstract of the writers and thinkers whom she had loved or admired -- but what clever woman is more?

And then I thought of Musil's Man Without Qualities -- of Agathe --

When she asked herself what her real convictions were, a feeling told her that she was destined to experience something extraordinary and of a rare order -- even then, when she knew as good as nothing of the world and did not believe the little she had been taught. And it always seemed to her like a mysterious but active response, corresponding to this impression, to let things go as they had to, without overestimating their importance [...]

The world of acted-out fantasies, the theatricality of love, left her unenchanted. These stage directions for the soul, mostly formulated by men, which all came to the conclusion that the rigors of life now and then entitled one to an hour of darkness -- with some subcategories of weakening: letting go, being taken, giving oneself, surrendering, going crazy and so on -- all struck her as smarmy exaggeration, since she had at no time felt herself other than weak in a world so superbly constructed by the strength of men.

The philosophy Agathe acquired in this way was simply that of the female person who refuses to be taken in but who automatically observes what the male person is trying to put over on her. Of course, this was no philosophy at all, only a defiantly hidden disappointment, still mingled with a restrained readiness for some unknown release that possible increased even as her outward defiance lessened.

Sand-castles, being ever-built and ever-demolished.