When I’m not a method theorist, I’m a ritualist, and when I’m not a ritualist, I listen. As my life often revolves around observing how definitions of concepts shift, I notice that I tend to act in accordance. My latest definition of irony is the following: There is no world that is more stupid than the academic world. As an academic myself, I heed attention to the magical way in which my words constitute my world. Consequently, the more I find myself uttering new definitions pertaining to my own role in the world and the amount of time and energy I invest in lost causes, I find myself engaged in all sorts of acts that counter the lack of conviction and faith in the so-called higher learning education as devised by political reforms, one more stupid than the other.

Without entering a tiresome debate, I just want to mention that the reason why I find it increasingly difficult to stay in a world that is completely devoid of any substance is because this world is increasingly informed by fear: The fear of not being adequate enough. Academics in the humanities now have to justify the condition for their existence in ways that are more bizarre than the strangest fiction. As everyone in the political world is suspicious of our worth, we have to make sure that the language of justification is aligned with some corporate discourse that makes sure to quantify even that which by definition resists quantification. Consequently, all we worry about these days is numbers, external funds, who gets what for what trendy shit, and regulations that collect points even for appearances in the media – lord have mercy – where we have the nice opportunity to talk nonsense all the time about this and that issue that is already forgotten even before the uninterested journalist poses to us, ze experts, the so-called relevant question.

As I have no interest whatsoever in participating in the perpetuation of either fear or acts stemming from fear, trying to convince unconvincingly the world of my worth as an academic, I pursue worlds that are known for their busting bullshit. Speaking of irony, I also find it, however, that the more I flirt with the so-called crazy world, the more I realize that this is the world that keeps me sane, or, at least, very content about my lot, and about speaking against superficial learning and superficial learning projects, whose aim is to cater to an image of successfulness that has very little to do with what success really is, namely the ability to function in the world as a decent human being.

For some years now I’ve been sitting in peyote ceremonies with Apache chiefs, and guardians of the ancient traditions of the Lakota Indians. Each time, while sitting some 14 hours in a perfect tipi, I find that the learning that flows out of it never ceases to amaze me. This is due to the fact that I see what devotion really is. I see what it means to be disciplined, and how important precision is. I see that the fire chief understands fire like no one else, and he creates art with his fire of the highest. I see that the peyote moon altar is aligned with the sun that hits it perfectly at sunrise, enabling the Chief to announce how we know that love comes before the image, and that true value has inherent integrity both within and without. There’s suddenly perfect clarity on what we love, how we love it, and why.

As I run to this world, and others like it, I am ever so grateful for the opportunity to keep the faith in that which allows me to formulate definitions that are aligned with my inner strength and convictions, and then say it out loud: I want this world, not the other. I want the world of substance, not the world that makes me say: ‘you disgust me’. I want the world of symmetry and balance. I want naturalness and groundedness. I want truth and beauty. I want the strength of the fragile feathers, and the strong vision of animals saying: ‘man is not the center of everything.’ I want to see the life force in people, and I also want to see their death, as they are alive. I want to listen to my own giving, so that I can receive in return the music of the soul.

Peyote Chief Hector

Fire Chief Hesi 

My very special song catcher made for me


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