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What it's like to be an exiled intellectual

Copy of a letter to someone working here, explaining why I minded about delay in the production of the latest book; in case they took it as critical of them.

I am sorry that I sounded emotional last week after finding out about the delay in the delivery time of the book. I will try to explain so that you don't misunderstand it. I really felt like bursting into tears but it came out as a more aggressive reaction, habitual because there has never been any sympathy with my position. If there had been, someone would have given me support in getting back into an academic career in some way or another when I was thrown out forty-five years ago. As it was, I did not shed a tear, received no sympathy and a lot of antagonism, and pursued the horrific path which led to the Society for Psychical Research.

And then again, if there had been any sympathy for me, someone would have taken pity on the way I looked when I was prevented from taking the school certificate and helped me at least to minimise the harm caused by the delay, instead of maximising it.

But as it is, I have very long conditioning against any reaction that might appear to be expecting sympathy.

The fact is that I have always had the strongest possible drive to get back into a suitable academic position and that is the force that has driven the production of all my books. But I have found that nothing I do generates any sympathy or support in alleviating my position, in fact the opposition is only hardened by anything I do. Nevertheless I can't give up so I have to go on making all the effort of publishing books although they are increasingly ignored.

As one is having to go on publishing against ever-increasing discouragement, one thinks that at least the books may reach an exceptional person who will want to come and work for us or give us money or a real break of some sort. The fact that one knows this is vanishingly unlikely only increases one's sense of urgency and wish not to waste any unnecessary days in getting books out into the world.

So one is always reacting against several layers of despair, and when one finds an unexpected extra delay which could perhaps have been avoided - well, as I said, sometimes it takes one unawares and one wants to burst into tears.