Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Owing to Inspiration

The point of the title, since I’m nothing if not all about titles, is that I was partly correct in my fears last week, as related in the post below. Yes, the post from a week, and one day, ago. Though the inspiration may be weak, and convoluted and perhaps not even coherent...yes, as in the post below, written a week and one day ago...I’ve wanted to avoid, posting out of pressure to post. (I think that is the third time, at least, that I’ve said something of that sort, so the excuse may be worn thin this time...after all...”fool me one...”). Inspiration has run dry. Running on diesel fumes...hehe. (Oh, I think only I get that joke, but I tell you it’s a great pun relating to my new post/position. Great great pun. Funny. Heh, jokes...). Be forewarned: What follows is another uninspired and, consequently, uninspiring post.

So the fear was that the new position would be filling my time, keep me busy, and become uneventful. It has somewhat happened, besides one larger, and over-riding project in it. The project, more or less, is to come up with a plan to get rid of my job. Brilliant, no? If the job itself was inspiring, the task would be a lot more difficult. So that is where part of the inspiration is going to have to come from, in making this role look sexy. But nothing is sexy here, on the ground. (Somehow I feel odd using that adjective, sexy, while in the land where the Taliban is launching the spring offensive...more on that later.)

Inspiration seems to be often lacking. And that is probably and often true for most jobs or efforts or things that is billed or commonly perceived as sexy. We all know where the devil is. And the devil, well, he gets two titles, the lord boredom and the lord of tedium. But the naïve, rescue the world from itself folks (of which I’m surely one of) over here all come for or with some inspiration of some sort. Perhaps desperation too, but often enough, the two are intrinsically linked.

The common result, it seems, is malaise or melancholy. And maybe that is a good thing in the IntDev world, as it is normalizing to a large extent. Yet with the generally difficult working conditions (especially or maybe particular to post-conflict hot zones) the sentiments seem to compound on themselves. Tragically to the point of disdain. So I think that was, or is, some of my current issue. And part of the reason for the sentiment that a kind commentor on the last post warned me against.

These sentiments are likely quite common, well known (I believe they even have head-docs over here for the expats for this exact reason, i.e. burnout), and well documented and discussed. Even at the macro level, the debate about the IntDev world and the various issues faced inside and by it is in many ways an extension of this issue. Should this field be about an inspired Millennium Development Goals eradicating poverty and poor starving children with distended bellies the world over? Or should this field be about a pragmatic market driven marginal return economical efficiency? And just as it’s difficult, if not nearly impossible, to find a balance between inspiration and normalcy (is there a better term?) at the individual level here, I fear the same may be true at the macro level. Part of the complicating issue, I believe, is the structures. In the structuralism sense. In the institutional sense.

Now a friend just railed and mocked me for a books that I recently picked up to read(Negri’s “Empire” and “Multitude”). He commenting on the book’s calling for a neo-marxist “revolution” by the masses and general neo-marxist label, or title I say, applied to the authors. The perfect and priceless quip by him: “Save me, Neo!” But the books may have some relevancy, as in general, I think this field is wrought by structural issues, and coming to a structural crisis.

But that observation is obvious, and trite, and common over the past several years. I’m just finding it all that much more true and pressing as it’s becoming personal, and not just theoretical. Partly, my just under 6 months here have brought me to that point, at this point (and here’s to hoping the state is temporary), but that point came across glaringly when I was in a meeting with a colleague that has been here for about 18 months. He was almost at the point of apathy, almost, but not quite as he’s a better man than that.

So I’ve made my offerings to the altar of inspiration. Paid up, and owing nothing, I hope. And the bounties have been received, but almost all outside of the job. New inspiration has struck in some recent music acquisitions (found some more, and free The National videos on line, and got the new Ghostface album, and finally got the J-Dilla album, and hopefully the new Lips album will be good (I’m already in love with “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song”) and I’m resoundingly sure the new BTS album will be brilliant (in the british sense) and some good books (despite well said quips) and I get out of town in a few days to see the Fam who will be in Pakistan for some weddings.

Oh yeah, and the weather has been really great, too. I put a chair on the patio right outside my room to breath in diesel fumes during drags from the cigarette...it’s spectacular. Sometimes I even inspire myself.


Vasco Pyjama said...

Or should this field be about a pragmatic market driven marginal return economical efficiency?

Heh. You beat me to it. I was about to post on this. Might still do.

Q. A. Shah said...

Beat you to it? This was a competition?

Either way, I came across an interview w/ Easterly on Salon.com. Link is on the main page...which, if you're reading this, you've probably already seen.

Vasco Pyjama said...

Nah. Just an issue of timing. Not a competition. And if it was, I would be most happy to concede.

The problem is that I don't know what to post. They are all a bunch of tossers. Wasn't impressed with interview with Easterly.

NegativeMode said...

Don't inspire yourself too often ... you'll go blind and get hair on your palms.