For those who exist in the lockstep, sleepwalking world of consumerist society the research journey seems only a fast way to another ticket, another accreditation. That reality though is an experiential mission, through moments of critical reflection, the hovering self, the form that is part of the physical body on the ground but the spiritual capacity to see oneself out of body so to speak. Without that capacity to reflect on our actions, take responsibility for our behaviours and change our course in life regularly all we become are ground level dwellers, basement jacks with a lack of connection, tiptoeing around the real issues in life and making others life hell in the moral meantime.
The beginning to research and the end to learning never seems to match what we have in reality to encounter and it is that story that grounds this research in the study of power between those key actors who contribute towards this hell on earth or for many who refuse to subscribe to the drip feed of supposed normality, that a critical refrain for examining a situation becomes possible. In my case the role of participatory action and research seems to be a natural fit for what I do and in many cases what I have failed to do.
This brings into effect what the whole point of research might be and the immersion of self into a new array of learning has that unsettling, a cathartic unfolding that we once might have attributed as a child to a new home, new school, new space and that state of unknowing. To embrace change means we have to recognise it when we are amongst it and to consciously appreciate that change as it is happening, not as separate to it and to be able to see ourselves as a small part in the picture, not the entire picture itself.
My life has been a constant battle of the egoic self in that respect.
The PhD research journey has been a massive investment of time and resources which challenged my role as a mature man with a dependent family. The investment in gaining knowledge, a capacity to better collaborate and to understand the world a little more came at great cost.
In summary, the PhD is a liminal journey of the self and all that means in that change process.