Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Gender essentialism and getting things done.  §

I wanted to be more productive than I have been this weekend.

Friday started off in the way that so many of my weekends do—moreso, in fact—with a tremendous rush of ideas and a tremendous amount of enthusiasm to “get to them” and begin to execute as quickly as possible, after getting “a few basic things” like house-cleaning, laundry, and shopping done.

Oh, and (new and unusual this weekend) a certain amount of work for the day job in preparation for a big week next week.

Well now here we are late Sunday, and the house-cleaning, laundry, and shopping have at best been ambivalently started, and the suddenly pressing task is the weekend work for the day job. No new ideas will be executed upon. The ideas themselves likely won’t even been noted somewhere in a tickler file.

They will return to the clouds from whence they came, silently and forgettably, as I try to make better progress on the things that are urgent.

In part, it’s become clear to me over the last hour or so that step one is to write a blog post. For reasons unknown to me (I suppose someday I’ll go into therapy and excavate them), this is not an uncommon genre of roadblock for me. It happens often that I feel and seem blocked in my flow and unable to avoid procrastination until I realize (the realization embodied as a kind of intiution) that I will make no progress on anything until I sit down and make a post on this blog that, in fact, almost nobody reads nor has done for eighteen years.

It must be serving some cognitive purpose.

— § —

I got to reading the highbrow former-print-now-online rags as is my wont, and an article on Love in the Time of Individualism caught my eye. So much so that I ended up logging in and commenting via Disqus, which I never, ever do.

I think I’ve just had enough at some point of the feminine world and the feminization of the world. Not because I think it’s “girl stuff” or less-than somehow. I have no problem with women being women and I have no problem with feelings, with world peace, with valuing individuals, etc.

But I am tired of what I see as the denial of masculinity as a thing that results from an ostensibly materialist (but secretly ideological) reframing of discussion of nearly everything into feminine terms that are then couched in universalist languae and presumptions.

I’m older than I was a decade ago, and I’m out of academics now, and I’m a parent. And I can see a few things far more clearly:

  1. Gender essentialism is truth.
  2. Humans value and engage in transcendence—particularly men—but the dominant discourses (which I recognize more and more as inherently feminine ones) are unable to represent or to even conceive of it.
  3. Young folk aren’t actually that smart, they’re just willing to spend a lot more energy yelling a lot more than older folk.
  4. A great works curriculum in education is the best chance we have of turning this ship around. A legitimately great works curriculum, that is to say—not one in which every attempt has been made to impose a quota system on the selected authors of said works.
  5. I am both farther away and closer to transcending my current circumstances than I imagine.

Scattershot, I know.

— § —

I am coming to think that what I need most of all in my life is to adopt the “broken windows” theory of life-living. I have always been a “key inflection points” person myself—let the windows break, they’ll all be fixed afterward if you get the bonus, and the bonus is contingent on being able to properly allocate the labor and time, which can’t happen if you spend your time worrying about broken windows that you can easily have fixed afterward.

But perhaps the “key inflection points” model only works for young folks with young folks amounts of energy, stamina, and motivation.

More and more I think that I need to give up on forming plans and executing on strategies and spend my time getting all the little things clean and into tip-top shape in my life, and that perhaps then the big things will follow.

This isn’t a conclusion based on reasoning so much as a wish or a hope. Because the “key inflection points” model seems to have carried me about as far as it can in life; things have been stuck in “neutral and starting to roll backward down the hill” mode for at least five years.

I’m looking for an alternative framework—fundamental framework—that changes the nature of the game. That subjectively and phenomenologically is of a cloth with my experience of being-in-the-world. At the core of things, I need to figure out what manhood is about in my life and in today’s world. Not easy when the term itself is verboten and imagined to be discredited.

But the rest, I suspect, will follow. Better late than never.