I'm on record, on this blog, as not being much of a systematizer or theorizer. I've never been a top-down thinker, and neither have I had much of a knack for synthesis.
I've had mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, I know myself to be a good detail person. I'm a patient accumulator of data, a subtle close-reader, a relentless reviser, and someone who's content to fuss with something she thinks might be important--though she can't say why!--until its significance gradually comes into focus. But on the other hand, I'm not a quick study. I don't speak well or persuasively off the cuff, and I have a hard time framing or even understanding the larger significance of my work. Those aren't merely superficial skills (although in some people they are); they speak to intellectual agility and intellectual depth.
So I've spent a lot of time both envying and deriding people who are systematizers. I've been impatient with theorizers for being bad on the details and suspicious of theory itself for being too totalizing.
It comes, therefore, as a bit of a shock that all I seem to want to read right now are some major systematizers. I'm happily splashing around in Freud and Weber and Nietzsche, Lacan and Derrida and Jameson.
I'm not sure what this is about. Maybe it's about filling in some gaps in my education, or taking my studies in a new direction. Maybe it's about searching for a new and better language for my own ideas. But I do think it has to do with my nearly being done with the work I began in grad school, the project that was once my dissertation and is now a very different book. I'm a much better thinker now, and a better synthesizer. Along the way, it's become clearer to me that the point--the utility--of a particular theoretical model doesn't depend on its being right in all its details, applying to every situation, or answering every question.
Also? I'm having MY MIND BLOWN. On, like, a daily basis. And maybe that's its own justification.