I would like to officially offer this formal apology:
To anyone I've engaged in conversation with about the future of academics, I would like to formally apologize for the tone and content of my interactions. The last thing I want to do is to let my poisoned mood infect anyone who still believes and still has faith.
The problem? I used to be a believer. I used to believe in the power of thought, the power of thinking, the power of discussion, the power of learning. And while I never thought I would be a superstar in academics, I always thought there was at least a place for me within the ranks of thinkers. Over the last six months, I am starting to fully realize the extent to which all of this was wrong...at least for me.
And there's a lot of reasons why I think I failed. I am, for the record, fully willing to admit blame for much of my academic failure. There was always more I could do; in the words of one of my favorite songs, I definitely "could've been stronger, could've been smarter"...and I know this. I still feel overwhelmed by the structural roots behind my personal failures, but I am going to try to quit bringing them up...as they are probably news to no one (particularly anyone who's read this blog).
I am, for the record, trying to work on it. I realize I've been dwelling on all this way too much, and I realize it is one of the major (although not the only) reason behind my current slide toward depression, a slide I am trying desperately to halt and to not share.
So here's what I'm going to do. I promise only to participate in academic discussion when someone specifically asks me to do so. I promise to blow by scholarly links, discussions of the job market, blanket invitations for interactions. If you post something somewhere that raises my gloom, I will do everything I can to look the other way...and I will by no means indulge in an effort to spread my gloom. As it's clear the academic world really doesn't consider me a member, I'm going to try and quit bemoaning that fact or dwelling on it in any way. I would really hate it if my own bad attitude got into someone else.
Let me make clear that I do in fact envy all of my academic believer friends...more than you can know. For those whose career has worked out or is steadily progressing, I salute you. But more importantly, for all those who still get excited by ideas and think there's a future in pursuing them, I covet your faith and your optimism and wish you the greatest success imaginable. The life of the mind is a truly noble goal...and I wish you better luck than I experienced.