"...men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves. The surveyor of woman in herself is male: the surveyed female. Thus she turns herself into an object—and most particularly an object of vision: a sight." (Berger 47)
I am the dissertation. What if I am the dissertation? How would it look like? Well, it looks like me, but that's just the cover, the binding. If my dissertation represents me I must act or live. What if a dissertation is a living document? What if the document is just an exoskeleton or a garden that is also in flux? I resist research. I resist traditional research. I resist research that is not rooted in a sense of calling. I resist research which is about measuring, analyzing, presenting a situation. Will our research lead to tangible changes? What kind of changes? Will it improve the big problems or will it at least change the author? I want to change and live my dissertation. I want to represent the stories and artifacts. Where does my body end? Does my embodiment stops at the outer skin or does it reaches out? It does not function without that outer layer of life-giving elements. Becoming my dissertation, becoming my research is a potential path. What is authentic research? What is a novelty in research? In design thinking, in human-centered design, the goal is creating change or to improve a situation. Creativity is not without a product. Research without change should not count as research. Change or product is not a requirement from us. We publish. Our work becomes a letter and page bound object for a few readers. We do research mainly because it is required and it is the ultimate measure of academic value or the promise of our productivity. But what if we are required to live our research to embody it to use our daily life to enact it. I resist research because I want to carve out new places for research that counts and research that matters. Research should be a calling and treated as a vocation. And I am lucky to have the opportunity to test ideas. I am lucky to be working on a proposal that comes in a box and includes different objects. I am lucky to be working on a proposal that envisions an imaginary finished dissertation and uses artmaking and fictional stories to present my literature and my questions. I am happy to be working on a proposal that is not going to be part of my dissertation. I am lucky to have a committee which is tolerant to my misbehaving. I aim to misbehave in order to not get too comfortable. I don't want research to be habitual or easy and I don't want my research to be an obligation. I want to incarnate my message, my teaching, my ideas. If I write about compassion, but I am not compassionate at home or in a grocery store or while driving on a highway behind a slow driver stuck and being late, then my research is not valid. The researcher and the research should be identical. As Nietzsche stressed, the philosophy is inseparable from the philosopher and most of us pursuing a degree with three letters signifying that you are a doctor of philosophy. Are we faithful to this designation? These letters designate us to a kind of life that should be exemplary and centered on the love of wisdom. But we often stop at the love of information or knowledge. We settle to measure things and write in a language that is incomprehensible for most people. We learn to write badly in academia and create echo chambers where we tend to repeat what has been already said. Have I lost my identities as a gardener, artist, minister, gamer? The only way to remain authentic and maintain my individuality is to nurture my uniqueness and to tend my domains and unique interests. When I say I am a gardener it means that the gardening enters into the stream of my existence and I start acting treating things in other frontiers of my life as if it is a garden. If my research can't build on this, who am I?