August 17, 2020:

It feels like being parachuted into a foreign city without a map.

The language is unfamiliar, but little-by-little you pick out proper names you take to be places, streets, neighborhoods, so that you tentatively construct a mental map of their relationships. Encounter Levi-Strauss, you'll hear of Durkheim, Dumézil, Jakobson, and of course Saussure. Braudel will point you to Febvre, Bloch, Duby, Ladurie, Ariès. Marx gets you Luxemburg, Lukács, Kautsky, Gramsci, Benjamin, Ricardo, Smith, the Physiocrats, Stirner, Bauer, Lassalle, and heaven knows who all else. Every new landmark opens new branches, like an infinitely-expanding tree, or a graph with multidimensional edges connecting whole forests of vertices. Plus the entire structure is in four dimensions, not three, as new works appear, adding unexpected and sometimes unique connections. A city which like a universe never stops expanding.

This is where I feel the long hiatus in my education as a lack, an absence, a blank I must now work to fill. It's an iterative process, and because I read slowly and must frequently re-read it's both painful and time-consuming. It's a face of my reality which inevitably opens social distance between my friends and myself.