When I finished my PhD one of my supervisors made a casual remark that I should write up the findings of my thesis for a wider market, make it into a sort of ‘academic study brought down to earth’. I’m doing this in a way by throwing its findings around like confetti in my blogs and articles but maybe I will tie up all up in a book some day.
In the meantime I was keen to share my findings with the academic community. I was confident that fellow academics would find its conclusions as exciting as I did! Well, maybe they would if they ever got the chance to see them, but they never did.
Does one size really fit all?
My conclusions apparently didn’t fit the expectations of the academic publishing system, a system that seems to think that it has fundamentally got the puzzle of life figured out already. So the very way in which you have to submit your research findings is geared up to accept only what it deems acceptable within its prevailing paradigm. I probably didn’t ‘honour’ and ‘celebrate’ enough diversity or otherwise patronise people sufficiently. All I know is, if you’re trying to say anything different, there is no platform. You either give them more of the same claptrap to tickle their collective ego or you’re ostracized.
So, it’s not that I’ve had rejections per se, it’s that the funnel open to new knowledge is so pathetically narrow. You have to close yourself down to squeeze through its rigid walls. I naively went into academia thinking I’d find open-mindedness, curiosity and a passion for knowledge and understanding. What I found was terrifying conformity, slavish adherence to a single paradigm and a closed-minded arrogance that thought it knew it all.
This sounds like judgment and criticism and that’s regrettable. I do understand how wedded people are to their way of thinking, whether its members of the same family, or religion, or institution. Most people’s minds will never reach beyond the level of convention, the mentality that accepts and buys into whatever is indoctrinated into it. Then again, most people are not claiming to be ‘authorities’, they are not responsible for the kind of ‘knowledge’ that trickles down into the popular culture and comes to be accepted as fact.
The truth of the matter is…
Perhaps there is a special obligation on these academics, these so-called seekers of knowledge to question their paradigms, to examine their beliefs, to see the partiality of their thinking, to be more open to alternative perspectives, to be more humble in their approach to ‘truth’.
I never realised, after all my years of study and research, that I would be shut down and shut up if I didn’t follow the sheep. Now I get it that you have to be very easily identifiable to get a place at the table. You have to be ultra ‘liberal’ and worship at the feet of diversity, pluralism, multi-culturalism, feminism and all the other ‘isms’ that so preoccupy the academic elite. This fraternity denies that there is any abiding knowledge to be had in the world. All knowledge is seen as relative - relative to its culture, its historical time-setting etc. Rather than seeing this way of looking at things as just one perspective among many, they adhere to their philosophy of relativity as the truth. So, all knowledge is relative except theirs. This is why they can go around looking so smug and superior, even when their blindness to this inherent contradiction is lamentable.
My experience of academics is that they have become caricatures of themselves. They all believe the same things, say the same things with the same language and jump on the same bandwagons towards a very partial understanding of the world.
Actually, I’m glad they won’t publish me. I don’t want to be part of the system but part of the solution to it!