In a time like this, with articles and responses and blog post series all over the place, I find it extremely irritating to have received three more rejections to my funding applications during the past fortnight, all of which have not helped me to concentrate on the issues I should be concentrating on. In the meantime, two new trusts have opened their doors for applications, signifying that yet more time will be thrown away in honing the said applications to perfection, in the vain hope of getting some measure of financial safety, and peace of mind, to do those things that enable this PhD to go forward, instead of everything else.
Both literary theorists and cognitive psychologists have taught me that much of our so-called conscious decisions are, in fact, nothing of the sort. Instead of being in charge, we are socialized into our particular use of language, in this particular time and place, with these particular values and notions, with this particular understanding of rationality we happen to have. Even though many things could be said to my rational-argument-responsive part of my brain - that most of the applications are not accepted due to the high numbers of them, that most of the beginning PhD students do not really stand a chance, that honing that application to perfection is a skill in its own right, requiring time to learn properly - it is still hard to evade the notion, the feeling rising from the depths of my being, that something, either in my application or (gasp!) in my person, is just not fit for receiving a funding.
It does not matter how well versed I am in cognitive studies, being able to ascribe this mechanism to a particular mental module in my brain; the feeling remains.