I am enjoying this beautiful view on the seaside right now as I write this. There are many couples on their honeymoons walking on the beach. My mom came by earlier to “talk” with me. She gave me the “talk” again. She asked me when I would find myself someone like all the loving couples on the beach and get married.
“Wouldn’t you want to be a happy housewife like me and live a simple lifestyle with your husband and kids?”
I told my mother, for the hundredth time, that this was not what I wanted to do now. I want to be an intellectual. Great, she thought. She assumed that I meant becoming an intelligent person that can share knowledge with others, such as teaching. I told her the intellectual does not have to be the one producing knowledge. The intellectual can be the one who is in an oppressed position and is struggling against the powerful system. Students and prisoners can be seen as intellectuals. The education/prison system can act as the oppressive power. The intellectual’s job working against themselves becoming those people in the oppressive system.
To clarify what I meant by this powerful system, we can look at Deleuze and Guatarri’s Body Without Organs. There is the organism which represents the system, like the government (or the overbearing mother). The organism is made up of organs. The organs represent those who are at the bottom of the hierarchy. They are the oppressed group. The two have a reciprocal relationship. Both need each other to survive. The organism/system provides the organs with the nutrients they need in order to support it. Society instills many ideologies onto its people. In order to maintain it, people continue to become subjects of these ideologies. They are the organs that are trapped inside this body. They hate every part of it, but at the same time, still crave for it. It gives us a sense of order and belonging.
To become an intellectual, I will have to acknowledge all these but also work against them.
My mother snorted at my explanation. She thought it was all an excuse to be an antisocial anarchist, just another phase I’m going through. Well, this is not some phase. I’m serious about becoming an intellectual. I will work on becoming the BWO by putting aside everything that I have been taught. I will free myself from the ideologies. My struggle against the powerful can hopefully create a horizontal distribution of power in society where everyone is equal.
‘What do you think?” I asked my mother, “Aren’t you proud to have a daughter like me/”
She looked at me with a worried face that read, “My daughter is going to be a poor struggling social outcast trying to achieve an unreachable reality.” She finally replied after a long pause. She tells me it’s a great idea. However, she still thinks I should find a man soon. After all, I won’t be twenty one forever. So in my long conversation with her, I failed to change her mind. Sometimes, you just can’t change a traditional Asian women’s beliefs. With that, I decided to sit back and relax. After all, I am twenty one, and have plenty of time.