Unveil of the Cabinet of curiosities

Greetings to everybody.

I named this blog a Cabinet of curiosities because I would like to write in it those things that are not reflected in the research work. The researcher still retains the character of the explorer of yesteryear. More important is wanting to search than to find, and each success is rewarded with a new question, which will determine the next move. For example, to a possible journey between books and articles or perhaps to a short travel to listen and talk with passionate colleagues. Sometimes we have to pack our bags and go on long trips; cross countries, fly over mountains or navigate seas and oceans.

Each step in an investigation implies knowing new environments and people, cultures, languages … and, therefore, the nuances that the same inquiry acquires in a different territory. Political circumstances, religious beliefs and folklore are social pieces that move the interests of researchers who were born and learned from them. Research trips allow to experience these nuances profoundly and understand the barrier that exists between the process of homogenization of academic publication and the particular way of living the same concern.

The form of disclosure of institutional knowledge does not allow all this information to be transmitted in the texts. But they are essential. Today I will not mention the critical aspects of this whole situation, because it is complicated, and we find ourselves in the middle of a whirlwind of power struggles, editorial abuse and racism, which drags us to an intellectual death due to intoxication of grey literature (at the publication of which, unfortunately, a server of yours is also contributing). On the contrary, I will simply say that I will make use of this space to explain some things that cannot be noted in academic publications. For example, the reason why it is essential to spend time writing in our mother tongue.

In my case, Catalan and Spanish (more specifically, Castilian). It is not only because of longing or for ease in finding words, but also because writing in our language is describing a culture, appropriating a general problem and dealing with it particularly through its cultural translation in a specific society. That is why, for example, I wrote my doctoral thesis on Abductive Reasoning in Catalan, because I lived and dreamed of research in my mother tongue.

I will also dedicate  this space to write about vital activities for my intellectual life, which do not have special academic recognition. I mean seminars, discussions with friends over glasses of wine and beer mugs and reflections made with closed eyes, or in the form of smoke rings while I am smoking a pipe at sunset. All the elements that have contributed to my intellectual life, that make me grow as a person and that give me tools to maintain a tension between what I have chosen as life and how knowledge is currently transmitted.

I end up leaving this piece of Poem, with which I began my doctoral thesis:

Tenim a penes
el que tenim i prou: l’espai d’història
concreta que ens pertoca, i un minúscul
territori per viure-la. Posem-nos
dempeus altra vegada i que se senti
la veu de tots solemnement i clara.
Cridem qui som i que tothom ho escolti.
I en acabat, que cadascú es vesteixi
com bonament li plagui, i via fora!,
que tot està per fer i tot és possible.

(Martí i Pol, 1982: 19)


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